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guangzhou worlda Two Effective Methods to level up your teaching [ESL]

Written by Matt @Worlda


Want to make your ESL teaching even more effective than they are today? Last week, we have shared Integrated Teaching for ESL Teachers and in this post, we are going to introduce you two very effective ways on how to make your class organized and how to keep your students motivated.

  •  Point System and Grouping

Adaptability: for students from primary school to high school, adapted accordingly.

Scenario 1: Class of 20 in a spacious classroom

Point system is always related with grouping, to ensure the competiveness among students. Students can be grouped into three or four, according to the size of the actual class. In any activity during the class, they are rewarded with points of a consistent system. First of all, if a group finishes a teaching-related task, they will be rewarded with 1 or 2 points, dependent on whether they answer with hint or independently. Next, for any follow-up game or activity, groups are given points in the Activity row. Lastly, for any misbehavior, minus point will be given in the behavior sector rather than directly deducted from the previous two sectors. An illustrative table is as below:

Sections Group A Group B Group C Group D
Activity (Game)        

Note: method acquired from a Scottish teacher, Derek.

Of course, last but not least, always sum up the points and declare winners of today. No students want their 40 minutes’ efforts to end up in vain.

Note 1: Rounded-Based Point System

In practical application of this table, at times, point scale can be frustrating. Do I give 1, 2, 3, 4 points, or 5, 10, 15, 20 points. With the rounded-based point system you can literally give one group like a million or a trillion point and still make it balanced. For example,

Sections Group A Group B Group C Group D
Activity (Game) 1 million 2 billion 10 1000
3 4 1 4
20 8 2 5
4 3 1 2

the grey number in the table above is the raw point, and the blue one is the rounded one. In the sense, all points are rounded into the same scale so that no group will take obvious advantages over the other ones in one round of activity (Winner takes something but not all). This makes the temporarily losing team as competitive as the temporarily winning one. Consequently, both confidence and motivation of the students remains at an adequate level.

Scenario 2: Class of 40 with rigid seating plan

Five students around in a group will be ideal, but in real-class scenario, you could end up having like 40 students or so with a fixed, immobilized seating plan in a crowded classroom. Table below is an illustration of a good example of the point-grouping system to address the situation.

Team A (10 Ss) Team B (10 Ss) Team C (10 Ss) Team D (10 Ss)
A1: (5 Ss) B1: (5 Ss) C1: (5 Ss) D1: (5 Ss)
A2: (5 Ss) B2: (5 Ss) C2: (5 Ss) D2: (5 Ss)

Note: Ss stands for students.

40 students sitting in four columns, with 10 in each line. Vertically, the class is divided into four teams according to the seating plan in the classroom. Horizontally, the class is separated into two sections, so that we have 8 small groups now. It gives us great flexibility to organize the class and give points to each little group and four teams. For instance, if a teaching task requires competition among team with the goal of training language fluency and accuracy, four teams can compete with each other and be rewarded as teams. In another case, if the task requires discussion amongst small groups, 8 small groups can work independently. At the end of the class, instead of having one group winner, we can have winners of two levels, team winner and group winner.

Note 2: Group Name Autonomy

For new classes, or classes with students of poor language proficiency, certain level of “autocracy” of giving the groups names may come handy. But for students with adequate language proficiency, they can have their own group names. Winners can have the right to change other groups’ names with non-vulgar terms as rewards. Besides, naming groups is not the only thing you can explore with to boost the incentive of the students. Be creative and anything can be utilized to keep your students motivated.

  • Board Games

Adaptability: for students from 3rd grade to 12th grade.

Non-Target-Related games:

Games can be fun and necessary for all age group. As said by Fred Rogers, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”, I don’t think I have to emphasize too much on its importance, but I will explain what is non-target-related games. Meaning, the game is not designed to directly related to the teaching contents, but as a rewarding incentive to motivate students to be involving and attentive in the class. More specifically, students are given the opportunity to play the game when they echo to the teaching sessions. Points are given for consistency with the point-grouping mechanism above. Also it gives confidence to those students who have poor academic performance in linguistic classes. They can still contribute to their group and make a difference.

NTR Game 1: Air Battle

Almost everybody hears about battleship, but none have heard about Air Battle. It’s similar but with more fun. It also incorporates mathematics knowledge like practice of coordinate system. In a 10*10-grids, each team needs to draw three fighters without overlapping to each other. And they take turns to call a coordinate to shoot down others’ fighters. First group to eliminate all fighters of other groups wins. Only head shot indicates a fighter gets destroyed, or otherwise only injured.


For more details of the game, to be continued in a separate post.

NTR Game 2: Get Rich or Die Trying

It a perfect game to regroup members from different teams to balance their competitiveness, not necessarily to even off their strength. Besides, it helps students to build leadership, or encourages more alpha players per se. Obviously, leader or alpha member comes naturally in a group, and if the leader steps down, a second one will step up to be the next leader, voluntarily or involuntarily.


How the game is played: group students as explained above, let them take turns to draw a card from 13 cards, Ace to King, and make choices accordingly. For example, A stands for 5 points, 2 for Kidnap 1 player from other groups, 3 for Kidnap 2 players from other groups, 4 for Ground 1 player from other groups, 5 for Ground 2 players from other groups, 6 for Rescue 1 player from being grounded, 7 for Rescue 2 player from being grounded, 8 for Ground 1 player from their own group, 9 for Ground 2 players from their own group, and etc. Practically, alpha player will be grounded at the very beginning and beta player will step up to be the next alpha.

For more details of the game, to be continued in a separate post.

NTR Game 3: Typhoon

It’s a game by chance linked to the point-grouping system. It can be used in any stage or step of teaching, for quick check of students’ understanding, or for progressive reward for finishing an activity. Basically, in a 3*3 grids, candidate needs to pick a square to receive bonus or be punished. The rule is very flexible for teachers to adapt and secretive at the beginning.


Bomb (left top): damage half of the points by a group

100/200/500: reward 100/200/500 points for a group

Typhoon (left middle):wipe out all the points of a group

Dice:chance to toss a die and get points accordingly, 1 for 100, 2 for 200 and etc.

Swap (right middle):swap points with whichever other group

Steal (right bottom):steal half of the points from whichever other group

Cards:pick a number and get points accordingly, A for 100, 2 for 200 and etc.

Remark: for point inflation and balance issue, refer to the Rounded-Based Point System in Note 1 above.

For more details of the game, to be continued in a separate post.

Target-related games:

Target-related games are different from their counterparts, in the way that their adaptability is relatively limited and closely related to teaching contents and targets. Although they are not like all-around as NTR games and usually need hours for preparation, they are more effective, relevant and well-targeted. To put it in another way, for NTR games, students do the task first and get rewards as playing, whereas for TR games the task is part of the game.

TR Game 1: Jeopardy (perfect for review)

Adapted from the famous TV show “Jeopardy”, suitable for big class and different contents, Jeopardy is perfect for review class or demo class for public. You can simply search Jeopardy game free template to get the idea or watch the show to know it quicker. It is basically that candidate makes selection and answer questions accordingly. Obviously, different questions deserve higher points.

教学分享——Jeopardy Pic.jpg

However, in real-class scenario, you better hide the number or randomize the number, or otherwise students could end up all picking the most difficult ones and get stumbled.

For more details of the game, to be continued in a separate post.

TR Game 2: Flip ‘n Find (learning new vocab visually)

Very simple card game as below


You can make cards of around 8 pairs and duplicate several copies for a class. Students in a group of 4 or 5 can have one copy and take turns to flip and find match cards.

For more details of the game, to be continued in a separate post.

TR Game 3: Find friends (for engaging and involving purpose, mingling)

Each student is given a table like below:

Name Food Animal Color
Friend A
Friend B

And they are all given five minutes to find as many friends sharing same favorites as they can, in order to win. Not easy to find a friend matching all three categories, so they have to keep asking questions and practice at the same time.

For more details of the game, to be continued in a separate post. 

For more games, to be compiled in another time.

NTR Game 4: Shield & Guns

NTR Game 5: Auction

NTR Game 6: Stock Market Prototype

TR Game 4:

TR Game 5:

TR Game 6:

Combo Game 1: Triathlon

Feel free to tell us what you think about the games and activities.

Thank you for your reading

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guangzhou worlda Level Up Your Teaching Summary I [ESL]

Written by Matt @GuangzhouWorlda #ESL #Guangzhou #Roadmap #Summary


Recently, we have shared a couple of methods about how to integrate different elements into your teaching, and how to use different methods to level up your teaching. I have to admit that the posts are bit of lengthy, though probably of help. Links can be found below:

For now, we have talked about elements in teaching, teaching methodology, point system, and some activities, but the interrelation among different parts is barely touched. In this post, I’ll sum up what topics we have covered and also will try my best to structuralize a bit about our sharing. It’s for the purpose of showing you all a clear roadmap about the interrelation amongst different parts.


Though the diagram is self-explanatory, just in case some parts are not clear enough.


Core Value defers from school to school. Concepts are so merchandized as commodities displayed in department stores. We might have heard Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, IB, AP, IGCSE, S.A.T., ACT, countless different education systems and concepts holding different core values or different teaching ideologies. Here I am not comparing the pros and cons of each, but just trying to say, in order to convey the corresponding values of each system through lesson plans and lessons to the students, we have to at least figure out if we are delivering what we are supposed to. Teaching a lesson is just not as simple as being given some materials, making lesson plans, and delivering the lesson.

Curriculum and Syllabus

Under the guidance of the value, dogma, doctrine or teaching ideology above, we can step further to see if how they are realized in the curriculum, and so in the syllabus. Comparison of these two terms can be found here: Difference between syllabus and curriculum

They are like the roadmap in case we get lost in where we teach. They provide information about teaching aims, goals, objectives, contents and so on so forth. By spending some time exploring the syllabus, we are able to have a more thorough understanding about the correlation amongst different teaching modules and units.

Lesson Plans

Understanding parts above will help us make a comprehensive lesson plan, and we would be able to assess our lesson plans more adequately. For example, with a better knowledge of the syllabus, we can set more reasonable expectations towards our students. Since prior knowledge can be found (if not, a simple test will do), targets are elaborated, our lesson plans can be of better consistency and relevance. Most importantly, core values of what we are teaching can be revealed in the design of lesson plans as well. They would directly influence what activities and class organization we would use in the class.

Thus, it is very simple to prepare a lesson, as simple as stacking Jenga. Yet, it is very difficult to prepare a lesson, with some many elements and aspects to consider. But first of all, it would be of great help if we know how to unravel the myth of teaching pyramid.


Thank you for your reading

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guangzhou worlda The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

Written by Fidelio @GuangzhouWorlda

It seems that there’s less possibility of finding out more statement in the objectives section of our lesson plans except “to know”, “to learn”, “to grasp” or even “to teach” and” to introduce”. Frankly, these are somehow aimless goals that ignore the navigation and the evaluation of class, with students’ real learning being set apart. DANGEROUS!

Teaching objectives, or more exactly: learning objectives, are bound to urge learners, along with teachers, to get on the right track and head for the designated direction. They constitute the global ideology and principle of a lesson. We can reasonably hold that the whole teaching and learning system is practically guided, governed and implemented by the “objectives”, which ranks the first essential factor of our teaching design.

This passage is going to talk about the classification of teaching objectives and how to analyze and prescribe them according to the actual learning.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives

educationWhen we’re reflecting teaching objectives and the methods on evaluating learning performance, it is significant to be kept in mind that there are different levels or outcomes of learning and we need to make curtain distinction among them. Unaware of this, we are likely to focus on a single level to the detriment of others or just simply talk in the class.
For example, a teacher may teach a vast amount of factual information but never get around to teach student and realize that these skills require the prior learning of basic skills that must be integrated into these higher order skills.

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is the most renowned description of the levels of cognitive performance. The Taxonomy shows that learners must master lower objectives first before they can build on them to reach higher objectives and a teacher should focus on different levels during different steps of the whole teaching program. Here’s the Taxonomy for Knowledge-Based Goals


  1. To remember or recognize previously learned material.
  2. To grasp and get able to explain the meaning of material.
  3. To apply principles or methods to specific concrete situations.
  4. To separate a complex idea into its constituent parts and understand the organization and relationship between the parts.
  5. To create a new, integrated, meaningful construction of ideas and concepts from multiple sources or to propose an action plan or to formulate a new classification scheme
  6. To make a judgment of ideas or methods using external evidence or self-selected criteria substantiated by observations or acquired knowledge.

Knowledge represents the lowest section
in Bloom’s Taxonomy. It comes first only in the sense that it provides the basis for all other higher cognitive activities. Only after a learner is able to recall information is it possible to move on to the upper level of comprehension and give meaning to the information. The third is application, which refers to using knowledge or principles in new or real situations. The leaner at this level solves practical problems by applying information into simpler parts. The fifth, synthesis, consists of creating something that did not exist before by integrating information which were learned at92869a7b0d0962a0785f655f6206d184 earlier levels of the hierarchy. Finally comes the highest Evaluation, which is oriented towards the production of judgments based on previous outcomes of learning.

Now it’s quite apparent to see that the classification of teaching objectives stimulates teachers to help students acquire knowledge and skills at all of these various levels, laying the proper foundation for higher levels by first assuring mastery of lower objectives. Also, it provides a basis for developing measurement strategies to assess student performance at all stages of learning.

An Example of Application

This is the second lesson on Unit 10 Look at the Rainbow of Module 4 in the fifth volume of the governmental English textbook in Guangzhou, which is commonly used in the first semester of Grade 3.

Now the students have already learned some words of color in the first lesson (like red, green, yellow, blue, orange, purple and pink) and couple conversation patterns (-What’s this in English? – It’s a/an ____. as well as – What color is it in English? It’s ___. And even the dialogue learned in Grade 1 and Grade 2: – Do you like? What color do you like? etc.)

The teaching content of this lesson is the talking structure:

-What’s your favorite color/stationery / animal / toy / food?

This class is to get the students talk flexibly with the aimed patterns, associating their own knowledge scheme with real circumstances, about their school, classrooms and bedrooms, by the means of independent study and collaborative learning.

The core of the example is listed below.

Teaching Objectives

  1. To correctly read and memorize all the vocabulary and conversation patterns.
  2. To comprehend the three related extended learning resources with the help of annotation and dictionary.
  3. To make a dialogue with the newly-learned patterns, words and some old ones
  4. To describe and talk fluently about the situation created by teachers, making use of all the related learned patterns and words.
  5. To consciously describe the similar situation in daily life.
  6. To sense the value of learning English in various kinds of English communication and take the initiative to playing a role in them.

We hope our blogs will help you in teaching practice.

Thank you for your reading.

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