a way to improve your English

Archive for April, 2012


PTE G lesson ideas March 2012  

PTE G test tips March 2012

PTE G lesson ideas April 2012

PTE G test tips April 2012

Scottish National Anthem ~ Flower Of Scotland (Lyrics)

PRONUNCIATION – minimal pairs

Pronunciation – Minimal Pairs

Minimal pairs are pairs of words that have one phonological element that is different.


In the above case, the vowel sound of both words is the different phonological element.

Practicing minimal pairs can help students localize the often minute differences in pronunciation between one word and another. It also helps students practice the finer elements of common muted vowel sounds which are common to English vowel production. The following lesson provides a lesson outline with a handout minimal pairs sheet.

Aim: To improve recognition and pronunciation skills of single words

Activity:Minimal Pair practice

Level: Any level needing to improve pronunciation skills


  • Write examples of minimal pairs on the board. If students have learned the IPA, it is a good idea to employ the phonetic transcriptions of the words on the board.
  • Demonstrate the correct pronunciation of the minimal pairs written on the board.
  • Elicit students to give examples of other words which use the same changing phonemes.
    Example: bat – bet (written on board) student: “cat – kept”
    It is a good idea to accept more than one phonological difference as long as the target phoneme has been reproduced.
  • Distribute minimal pair sheet.
  • For lower levels: Reproduce the minimal pairs in chorus by first giving the example and then having students repeat together.
  • For upper levels: Have students work in pairs taking turns reproducing the minimal pairs.
  • Repeat as many times as you feel necessary.
  • Have students use the minimal pairs sheet as a model to produce another, similar, minimal pair sheet.
  • Extend activity into a game, by having students distribute their minimal pair sheets to other pairs.Added activity: If students are proficient in the IPA, have students transcribe the minimal pairs as a means of strengthening their knowledge of the IPA.

    Minimal Pairs

    lit – light read – red sing – sang
    bed – bad saw – sought boot – boat
    soot – suit but – boot why – way
    know – now wreath – wreathe leak – lick
    look – luck sock – suck vest – vast
    cod – card dug – dog thirst – first
    fair – fear pay – bay read – lead
    need – mead zoo – sue near – ne’er
    catch – cash azure – assure jet – chet
    leige – lease whistle – thistle beige – bays
    fur – fear care – chur noon – nun

    Printable version of minimal pairs sheet


monkey playing cricket
Fun games

Would you like to play cricket with a monkey? Play Coconut Cricket and see how far you can hit the coconut.

How technology can revolutionise the way we give feedback. British Council

How technology can revolutionise the way we give feedback
teachingenglishthink As technology continues to have a wider impact on teaching in general you might want to have a look at our seminar that looks at how technology can be used to give feedback. Russell Stannard outlines some changes that technology is driving in English language teaching, particularly in EAP.
Read more

Teaching English as a Second Language…interesting links

Teaching English as a Second Language

By , About.com Guide

These teaching English as a second language resources will help you understand the basics of the profession and develop your understanding of tried and trusted teaching techniques. Detailed ESL lesson plans include step-by-step instructions and classroom handouts are provided by learner level and topic area. Finally, information on getting qualified and finding an ESL teaching job will help those wishing to enter the profession.
  1. Teaching ESL Basics
  2. Getting Qualified
  3. ESL Teaching Techniques
  4. Teaching Advanced Learners
  5. Teaching Beginning Learners
  6. Teaching Intermediate Learners
  7. Teaching Grammar
  8. Teaching Vocabulary
  1. Teaching Conversation
  2. Teaching Listening Skills
  3. Teaching Writing
  4. Teaching Pronunciation
  5. Teaching Reading
  6. Finding an ESL Teaching Position
  7. Recommended Books and Classroom Materials

Teaching ESL Basics

These articles provide to the basics of teaching English as a second language to adults. They cover everything from common jargon and standard lesson plans to discussions of common issues that arise in the ESL classroom. These features are ideal for teachers who are new to the profession, or those considering a career in ESL.

English Lesson Plans for ESL EFL Classes

English Lesson Plans for ESL EFL Classes

English lesson plans for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels including reading, writing, listening, grammar, speaking, pronunciation for adult and childrens’ classes as well as Business English.

English Language Levels – Rubric to ESL Levels