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Mary Tomalin

Mary Tomalin elementary A guide for new teachers Introduction 1
Mary Tomalin elementary A guide for new teachers Introduction 1


A guide for new teachers



Jetstream Elementary A guide for new teachers

If you’re new to teaching English, then this guide is for you. But even if you’re an experienced teacher it’s often useful to refresh your teaching ideas and read through the guide, concentrating on the areas that you find helpful. If you haven’t been teaching long, then it may help to read through a section two or three times. When you prepare a lesson, read the lesson- specific teacher’s notes and write a plan of the lesson, adding helpful notes from this guide. It can be helpful to practise some of the teaching techniques before the actual lesson. If you don’t have much experience, remember that good preparation is the key to a good lesson.

Basic teaching techniques

Introducing and practising language

One of your main tasks is to introduce and practise new language, whether it’s vocabulary or grammar.

PPP method A common method for introducing vocabulary and grammar is the PPP method (Presentation, Practice and Production).

You present the form (the language) and teach the meaning, then students practise it (drilling and controlled practice), then students produce their own language in a freer context.

Test-teach-test In this method (the TTT method), you put students in a situation where they have to use the target language without being given it. For example, to find out how much students know about the past simple, you might put students in pairs to talk about what they did yesterday. This method shows both you and students what language they need. You then teach the language, then test again.

Elicit You can never be sure what a student already knows. Whenever possible, try and elicit (get) the language item you want to teach from the class. There may be one student who knows it and you can use them to teach the others. Eliciting language from students builds their confidence and allows them to practise language. But if students don’t know the language, then tell them!

Cue A cue to elicit language can be a picture (eg a photo in the book or one you’ve brought in, or a drawing on the board), mime, gesture, a question, a statement, a single word, a situation.

For example, if you want to teach the word shoe, ask students to look at a picture. Ask: What’s this? A student answers, A shoe. You’ve elicited the language.

Concept questions Use concept questions to check students understand the concept (meaning) of a language item. For example, to check adult students understand grow up, ask: Where did you grow up? To check students understand the use of the present continuous tense for I’m eating, ask:

Are you eating now? (No)

Feedback When you say Good or Well done! to a student, you are giving them feedback on their performance. Here are three simple ways of correcting students in class. You can:

• ask another student to correct the student.

• use a facial expression or gesture to show there’s a mistake.

• reformulate (say the sentence correctly):

Student: I go to the cinema tomorrow. Teacher: I’m going to the cinema tomorrow.

• repeat as a question with rising intonation:

Student: I never been there. Teacher: I never been there?

Remember that it’s very important to be encouraging. Always make students feel that they are making progress and that you are glad to have them in your class.

Teacher-talking-time You are the most important language resource in the classroom, so students need to hear your voice. But be aware that student need a lot of talking time too!

Aims It’s always important to remember the aims of a lesson. For each stage of the lesson, it’s a good idea to tell students what they are going to do, eg Now we’re going to do more practice of the past simple.

Learner autonomy Teachers are a language resource for students and a supplier of information. But it’s important to encourage students to learn on their own and rely on their own abilities. Encourage them to use other things and people as a resource – other students, their dictionaries, the internet, other English speakers they know. For more information on this, see page 05.

Ways of organising students

Individual work Many students enjoy working alone so give them opportunities to do so.

Pairwork Putting students in pairs to do activities

is a good way to ensure that they communicate

with and help each other. It also helps to promote

learner autonomy. You can use either open pairs:

when you choose individual students for an exchange in front of the whole class or closed pairs where students practise the language in pairs.

Group work Some activities, such as discussions, are very suitable for group work. It’s a good idea to appoint a group leader to monitor the activity and encourage shyer students.

Whole-class activities When you present new language you often do this as a whole-class

activity. And you may use a whole-class activity for

a discussion (often after pairwork or group work.)


Introducing a grammar item

When you teach grammar, use all the methods described in the section Introducing and practising language above. Whenever you can, teach grammar in context, using pictures, situations, conversations, texts. Here’s an example of a simple situation to teach could for giving advice. Say: My friend Mina wants to find a boyfriend. (This is the situation.) How can she do this? Give her some advice. You

The cues here are the questions, the sentence Give her some advice and the word You Students will say things like, You tell your friends, go to lots of parties, try online dating, join different groups, go clubbing. Some students may use the word could: You could tell your friends.

If they don’t use could, then say the sentences

yourself and do choral and individual repetition (see page 05). To help students more, use pictures, eg of Mina at a party, Mina with a group, etc to elicit the sentences.

Cue-response drill When students practise different sentences with the same structure using cues, they are doing a cue-response drill.

Deduce form and meaning Research shows that students learn best when they deduce the form and the meaning of a structure from examples, rather than just learn them. Here are some ways to do this. Students can:

• find examples of a structure in a text and then complete a grammar table, eg SB page 64, ex 4. This tests whether students understand the rules.

• answer concept questions about meaning, eg SB, page 73, ex 11.

• study a grammar table and complete sentences, eg SB, page 80, ex 4.

• circle the correct words in rules, eg SB page 82, ex 3 and page 89, ex 10.

Students can also:

• read or read out the grammar tables.

• ask or answer questions about the rules.

• refer to the Grammar Reference at the back of the book.

• do grammar exercises in the Student’s Book, Workbook and online.

Controlled practice

After students have repeated and practised sentences with the new language, they need activities where they can practise the language in a controlled way, perhaps using other language they know. This is especially important at lower levels and accuracy (correct language) is important. It’s also important to make the language meaningful to students where possible. Here are some examples of controlled practice activities, but this is just a selection. You’ll find many more as you go through the Student’s Book.

• sentence completion exercises, eg SB page 19, ex 8, page 24, ex 5 and page 57, ex 13

• gap-fill exercises – these can be sentences, short conversations or texts, eg SB page 65, ex 5

• questions to ask and answer, eg SB page 67, ex 9

• pictures – students make as many sentences about a picture or pictures using the target language, eg SB page 85, ex 5

• short dialogues, eg SB page 21, ex 06

• short guided conversations, eg SB page 95, ex 7

• information-gap activities, where students need to get information from each other in order to complete a task. Each student has some but not all of the information. They therefore have to share their information, eg student A and B might have a short story but with differences. Each student is given

questions to find out what these differences are. See SB pages 116–122.

• matching activities, where students match one group of questions or sentences with a second group of questions, sentences or texts, eg SB page 43, ex 8

• games, quizzes and game-like activities, eg SB page 82, ex 6. In this activity, a student thinks of a job and mimes a typical action. Other students ask yes / no questions using the present simple to find out what the job is.

• interviews – in pairs or small groups, students ask each other questions using the target language. Everybody up activities are a fun way of doing this, eg SB page 32, ex 3

• reading and listening texts provide a lot of opportunities for controlled practice. See the sections on Listening and Reading skills.

Note: Because accuracy is important in controlled practice, you should correct students’ mistakes at the time they make them. See Feedback, page 02.

Here are some techniques for doing controlled practice activities.

• Give simple, clear instructions about how to do the task and check students understand them.

• Where possible, use confident students to model how to do the task and / or model it yourself. For example, put students in pairs and ask a confident pair to ask and answer the first two questions (or if necessary, all the questions) in an activity.

• If the task is to practise a short conversation, it may be necessary to first practise each line with the class. To give more help, you can go back to the beginning at intervals through the conversation.

• Put students in pairs (or where appropriate small groups) to do the task. This means they can help each other. If you’re short of time or you feel it isn’t necessary, do the task as a whole-class activity, in other words, elicit language from students in front of the whole class, correcting where necessary. (See Feedback, page 02.)

• While students are doing the task, walk round and monitor them. Make notes of the main mistakes and help weaker students.

• As a general rule, when you’ve done pairwork, ask two or three pairs to do the activity in front of the whole class. Correct where necessary.

After doing controlled practice, students can then go onto production, where they produce their own language in a freer context. See Writing and Speaking Skills, pages 07-08 and 09-10.


In the last 30 years it has become increasingly recognised that good vocabulary knowledge is just as important as correct grammar. In Jetstream you will find plenty of vocabulary activities in the main lessons, as well as on the Vocabulary plus pages. These include work on aspects of vocabulary such as collocations (words that are often found together, eg see a film), compound nouns (eg mobile phone, houseboat), lexical chunks (words used together that have a single meaning, eg for example), and word formation.

New vocabulary in a reading or listening text

There are several different approaches to teaching new vocabulary in a reading or listening text or activity. You can:

• pick out the key new words and pre-teach them (ie teach them before students read or listen to the text). This is generally a good idea with listening texts as students may find it too difficult otherwise. Jetstream reading texts often pre-teach vocabulary, but it’s always a good idea to check a text for the key new vocabulary items.

• ask students to deduce the meaning of a vocabulary item from the context. It’s important to train students in this skill and reading texts particularly are a good way to do this.

• ask students to look up new words online or in their dictionaries. (This applies to reading texts only.) This makes students self- reliant and confident. You can put students in pairs to do this, so they can exchange information. But when students do the comprehension activities, always check they understand key vocabulary.

New vocabulary in activities

It’s important to read an activity through before the lesson and pick out any new vocabulary. Then decide how to teach it. You can:

• pre-teach the new vocabulary items and point them out in the activity.

• ask individual students to read parts of the activity aloud. Ask questions to check comprehension and teach new vocabulary where necessary.

• tell students to look up new vocabulary online or in their dictionaries as they do the activity. Then check that they understand it.

Introducing new vocabulary

Meaning New language needs to be presented in a way that demonstrates its meaning clearly and simply.

• Use pictures where possible.

• Use diagrams, eg SB page 37, ex 8. These are very useful for teaching the meaning of tenses.

• Use mime, gesture and movement, eg to teach, I’m eating , mime the action. To teach stand up , ask a student to stand up. To show that something happens in the future, point in front of you.

• When the meaning of a language item is more abstract, contextualise it (ie put it in a context or situation and use other words students already know to explain it) eg to teach grow up, you could say, I was born in Rio de Janeiro. I lived there with my family until I was 20. I grew up there.

• Use reading and listening texts to contextualise language, eg SB page 89, ex 7. Here, the activity uses a conversation and a picture to present the going to future tense. It’s clear from the context that going to refers to a future time.

• If a word is difficult to explain, then translate it if you have a monolingual class or tell students to look it up online or in their dictionaries.

• Elicit new language using cues.

• Check understanding using concept questions.

Model and drill When students have understood the meaning of a language item, model it, (ie say it clearly a number of times).

• For a vocabulary item, you can say the whole word or phrase, eg unhealthy, several times.

• If it’s a difficult word to pronounce and has several syllables, break it down into its syllables:


• Show the stressed syllable by gesturing downwards as you speak (see Pronunciation, page 10–11) or write the word on the board with the stress: unhealthy.

Remember that students need a lot of listening practice in order to pronounce an item correctly.

Choral and individual repetition Getting sounds right is important.

• Signal (with your hands or with the word Everyone) for the whole class to chorus (say together) each syllable. Say it with them. This repetition practice is called drilling.

• Say the whole word again several times.

• Now do individual repetition. Point to individual students and ask them to say the word. Remember to say words like Good or Well done! as encouragement.


• a student isn’t saying the word correctly, ask


student who can say it correctly to say the

word. If that doesn’t help, say it yourself, then ask the student to say it again.

• It’s often a good idea to then contextualise a vocabulary item and put it in a sentence for students to repeat. You may need to break the sentence into parts before putting it together again.

Back-chaining This repetition technique builds up sentences from the end, eg with the sentence She’s won lots of competitions you could back- chain like this:

competitions – a lot of competitions – won a lot of competitions – she’s won a lot of competitions

Vocabulary groups Vocabulary is often taught in groups as students learn words better that way. When you’ve taught words in this way, elicit and practise them in a different order several times.

Vocabulary and memory

It isn’t easy to remember a lot of new words in a lesson and students need as much help as possible. They remember language if they are interested, stimulated, emotionally engaged. Use techniques to make students think about vocabulary, so they could:

• put words into categories, eg SB page 50, ex 3.

• put words into pairs, eg SB page 16, ex 3.

• answer questions about words, eg SB page 40, ex 3.

• say which words in a group are different in some way, eg SB page 90, ex 1.

Memory training Memory training is very useful for learning vocabulary. You train your memory simply by practising the skill of memorising. Jetstream gives students plenty of practice in this,

eg SB page 50, ex 8. Students have learnt the names of sports in a previous lesson; here, they are asked to recall them. Asking students to do this is a good revision and gives them practice in memory recall.

The four skills

Students need practice in all the four main skills:

reading, writing, listening and speaking, although often they will need more practice in one or two of the skills, depending on their reason for learning English. Generally speaking, the productive skills (speaking and writing) are harder for students than the receptive skills (listening and reading). You can use listening and reading texts to both introduce and practise language as they provide the contextualisation that students need. There are many techniques and activities that are common to both listening and reading texts.

Skills: Reading

Literacy: The assumption at this level is that students know the English alphabet and have basic literacy skills in English. English spelling isn’t phonetic (ie a letter doesn’t always have the same pronunciation) and can therefore be difficult, so it’s important when you teach and practise vocabulary to do spelling exercises such as short dictations.

There are two skills involved here: intensive and extensive reading.

Intensive reading This involves reading a text and understanding it in detail. Lesson 2 of every unit provides this practice although there are reading texts in other lessons too.

Extensive reading This involves reading longer texts for pleasure, for the main information or specific information. It’s important to encourage students to do extensive reading. The stories at the back of the Student’s Book provide this practice and can be read after every three units. Give students one or two weeks to read a story. You can then do some work on it in class. As the stories practise the grammar in the units it’s a good way to revise the language. Students will naturally want to discuss the story and you can give them interesting activities based on it. See Using stories, Teacher’s Guide, page 226.

Reading techniques and activities

This list of techniques can be used for either a reading or a listening text.

Pre-text activities These are things you can do before students read or listen in order to get them interested, prepare them for the text, give them a reason for reading or listening, or to pre-teach new vocabulary. You can use any of the items in column A to elicit ideas about any of the items in column B. So, for example, you can use the title to predict key words, or the last line to predict the first line, and so on.

Note: Allow students to guess freely and don’t tell them if they’re right or not, otherwise you take away their reason for reading or listening. Let the text do it!

Predict from … A




general idea / outline / subject


key words

first line

unkey* words

line within text


last line

first line

key words (in same / different order)



kind of text (article, story,…)

*Unkey words are words that students would not expect to find in the text – which is more fun to think about than key words, and just as useful linguistically.

Tasks on the text itself These are things you can ask students to do as they read or listen. Students can:

• check if their predictions for the pre-text activity are correct.

• read or listen for gist, in other words, to get the general meaning of a text.

• scan (quickly read or listen) for specific information.

• underline the words they understand / don’t understand.

• underline parts they agree / don’t agree with.

• find words that mean X from definitions.

• reorder jumbled text (paragraphs / sentences / words in a sentence).

• write missing words.

• cut out extra words / letters.

• correct changes to the text (eg wrong or silly words).

• separate words which are run together (+ add punctuation).

• choose which picture / title best reflects the text.

• label a picture / number pictures in order.

Note: If the text is very long, think about dividing it up in some way. You can do it as a jigsaw reading; this means you give half the class one section and half the other and get them to share information. Or you can present it in sections – if you’re telling a story, for example, tell it a bit at a time and guess what comes next.

Post-text activities These are things students can do after reading or listening, using the information in the text. To do these activities, students often need to read or listen to the text again. Students can:

• say or write the main points.

• ask or write questions on the text.

• give or write answers to questions on the text (ordinary questions, true / false questions, multiple-choice questions).

• give or write answers to questions beyond the text (where they have to speculate or work out information that is not specifically given in the text).

• give or write questions for answers (or underlined information in answers).

• complete tables.

• specify what numbers in the text refer to.

• make notes or write a précis.

Note: Many of these activities could either be done as memory games or else with students searching in the text. Or as a mixed-ability activity with different students doing different things.

Follow-up activities These are spin-off activities from the text though not necessarily directly related to it. Students can:

• discuss the ideas in the text.

• search for further information online.

• read or listen to a similar / conflicting text.

• use the text as a model to write a similar text.

• write a reply to a magazine / tweet / blog, etc.

• talk or write about a similar experience.

• develop grammar or vocabulary.

• use the text as a basis to develop grammar or vocabulary. For example, you can give examples of a grammar structure, then ask students to find more examples of the structure in the text, see SB page 100, ex 4 and 5. Or you can ask questions using a particular structure, then ask students to find the answers in the text, see SB page 11, ex 14.

Skills: Writing

At Elementary level, we assume that students can write the English script and use basic punctuation. When we write, our language is often more formal than when we speak and we usually (but not always) write in complete sentences.

Accuracy is considered more important when we write. People are a lot more tolerant of mistakes when foreigners speak than when they write.

Connectors such as and, but, because are an important feature of writing and students need work on these as sentences are more connected in writing than in speech. Students can connect sentences with the appropriate word or complete gaps, eg SB page 37, ex 14–16 and page 55, ex 9 and 10.

Types of writing activities

There are many different kinds of writing activities and they depend on the stage of the lesson. For example, you may ask students to write a few notes in preparation for a speaking activity. You don’t need to worry about accuracy here. When students do grammar exercises, it’s always

a good idea for them to write the answers as this

makes them think more carefully and tests their spelling and accuracy. Writing activities where the aim is to practise the writing skill are often types of writing that students will come across in everyday life, eg form-filling, text messages, emails, postcards,

note-taking, summaries, descriptions, instructions, message-taking, stories, reviews. Note that there

is a dedicated Writing section in the Workbook in

Jetstream. At Elementary level, most of the writing activities:

• follow the speaking activities. This means that students have had plenty of practice and preparation for the language needed for the activity. See, eg SB page 111, ex 14, where students choose a charity they have read about in the lesson and write a paragraph saying why it’s important.

• are used to reinforce the language students have practised orally, although this is not the only purpose.

• are guided writing activities, in other words, activities that have careful instructions and preparation. A reading text may provide a model or students may be given notes or phrases to use, eg SB page 49, ex 9.

For all activities:

• go through the instructions and check students understand the task.

• if you feel it’s necessary, do the task orally with the whole class first. You may even want to write some or all of the task on the board, and then remove it before the students themselves begin to write.

• elicit language from individual students and write it on the board or invite students to the board to write.

• get students to do the task individually or in pairs or small groups.

Planning As a general rule, encourage students to plan their writing task, eg by writing notes and / or headings.

Checking After any individual guided or creative writing task, it is a good idea to check the students’ work in three ways:

• Encourage students to go through their work very carefully themselves.

• Put students into pairs to check and correct each other’s work: it is often easier to see other people’s mistakes than your own.

• Take the work in and correct any remaining errors. By this stage there will be fewer problems than if you had not done the first two stages. Be careful not to over-correct as it’s de-motivating. It can be a good idea to use correction symbols, eg G for a grammar mistake. Then students have to work out what the mistake is.

Skills: Listening

Listening is an important tool in acquiring a language. Students listen to you and each other in the classroom. But they need practice in listening to different kinds of listening genres, eg longer conversations, talks on radio programmes, news broadcasts, interviews, and so on, and students need to hear a greater range of voices and accents.

Listening techniques and activities

In addition to any activities suggested here, see also Reading techniques and activities, page 06.

Pre-teach new vocabulary Check the listening text for key new vocabulary. See Introducing new vocabulary, page 05.

Pre-listening An activity before listening is a good idea because it:

• gets students interested and gives them a reason for listening.

• gives them an idea of what the text is about so they can more easily understand it.

For example, see SB page 66, ex 5. Here, you might tell students they’re going to listen to a woman talking about top restaurants. You then give them a list of ten words and phrases, seven of which are in the recording. Students say which of these words they expect to hear. Other ideas:

• a list of questions or statements relating to the text for students to answer or discuss, say if they are true or false, etc. See SB page 48, ex 1.

• a picture relating to the text for students to describe or discuss, eg SB page 51, ex 1.

• a gap-fill activity from the text for students to complete, eg SB page 59, ex 5.

To make the task easier at Elementary level, the first activity often provides some or all of the listening text and students are asked to complete it, or circle the correct words etc. See SB page 31, ex 8.

During and after listening

Stage 1

• The first time that students listen to a text, it’s often a good idea to give them an activity that gets them to concentrate on the gist or the general meaning. This is known as top-down processing. Examples of this kind of activity are answering a question or questions, eg SB page 75, ex 6, checking answers to the pre-listening activity, numbering pictures in the order that events happened, etc. See SB page 102, ex 5.

• Alternatively, (but less often) students can do an activity where they listen for specific information.

• Be prepared to play a recording several times before students are able to satisfactorily do an activity. If they still have difficulty, you may

need to play the specific sentence(s) that give the information required.

Stage 2

• The second time students listen, you can ask them to listen for more detailed information. Activities include gap-filling, multiple-choice questions, true-false statements, either / or, matching. See, eg SB page 67, ex 10, where students listen and circle the correct words in a table.

• Again, be prepared to play a recording several times.

Follow-up activities A listening text provides a platform for many different activities. You can use it:

• to teach or practise grammar or vocabulary. Highlight sentences or vocabulary by asking students to listen again and write the sentences on the board or point them out on the page. You can then use the context to teach the grammar or vocabulary.

• for controlled practice or the production stage of a lesson. For example, get students to discuss the ideas or events in the passage, eg SB page 75, ex 12 and 13. Or, if it’s a conversation, put students in pairs to make the conversation.

• as a model for students to practise a similar text, eg SB page 105, ex 2.

• as a springboard to get students to role-play the passage, tell the story etc, eg SB page 57, ex 11.

Skills: Speaking

Encourage students to speak as much as possible in class. You can use speaking activities as:

• a warm-up for the start of a lesson. For example, you could ask questions about a picture in order to introduce a topic (the You first activities do this). See also SB, page 70, ex 2. The questions introduce students to the topic of the lesson – learning languages. Don’t do much correction here as you want students to relax and enjoy communicating with each other.

• a way of finding out how much students know about a topic, vocabulary area or grammar item. For example, you could give them a quiz using a certain language structure you want to teach or practise, and note how they deal with

it. You may find that students understand the meaning but make a lot of mistakes with it. By monitoring and noticing students’ language and mistakes, you know what and how to teach them. This utilises the TTT technique (see Basic teaching techniques, page 02).

controlled language practice. See SB page 71, ex 11. Students practise language they have just learnt, but they also have the opportunity to say a bit more to each other.


follow-up to controlled language practice:

the production phase. You want students to use the language they have just learnt in a less controlled situation, perhaps in a discussion or role-play. Speaking activities usually follow on naturally from listening and reading activities and are a perfect way of practising the language in a freer context.

Speaking techniques and activities

When you do a speaking activity, it’s important to think about its aim. If your aim is to find out how much students know or do a warm-up activity, you don’t need to do much preparation. If, however, the aim is controlled practice, then it needs preparation. Even if it’s a production activity, at Elementary level, activities where students express themselves freely need to be constructed so that students have the freedom to express themselves and use the language they know without making too many mistakes. To achieve this, you need to prepare students well with more controlled activities so that they have the necessary language for the activity.

• Make sure students understand the task. If it’s

a step-by-step process, use confident students, perhaps in pairs, to demonstrate.

• Where appropriate, it’s often a good idea to put students in pairs or small groups to do the activity before moving on to a whole-class activity.

• students are working in pairs, walk around, monitor them, note mistakes and give help where needed.

• Act as a prompter, giving students help where needed. Do this by asking questions, asking shyer students to speak, prompting with certain words if a student is stuck. This is particularly important in discussions.

See Feedback on page 02. Here are some ideas for Speaking activities:


• role-play: students are given different roles with instructions on what to say, eg SB page 69, ex 10. Here three students act out a restaurant scene. Student A plays the waiter, Students B and C play the customers. Choose confident students to model the role-play for the class before they do it in pairs.

• talking about personal experiences, eg SB page 53, ex 13. This is often done in pairs or small groups.

• discussions, often based on questions, a text or topic, eg SB page 97, Cross Culture, ex b.

• a conversation based on a particular topic or situation, eg SB page 73, ex 14.

• a task, ie an activity that has an outcome, something that students need to achieve together. As a result, students need to communicate with each other in a purposeful way. Examples of tasks include class surveys on a particular topic or planning an evening out. See also SB page 65, ex 12 and page 93, ex 11 and 12. Tasks usually have several stages to them. For more information, see the Tasks, Teacher’s Guide, page 219.

• games and game-like activities. See 20 Easy Games, Teacher’s Guide, page 229. There are plenty of game-like activities in the SB, eg page 27, ex 13.


Pronunciation is important because you need reasonable pronunciation in order to be understood. And if a learner’s pronunciation is poor, people find it difficult to listen to them even if they understand them. Pronunciation has three aspects:

• sounds

• stress

• intonation (the rise and fall of the voice)


English is not a phonetic language and many letters of the alphabet and combinations of letters can be pronounced in different ways. British English has 44 different sounds. See the phonemic alphabet on SB page 158. Sounds can be single vowel sounds, both short (as in sh i p) and long (as in sh ee p); diphthongs (two sounds together (as in b oy ); consonant sounds (as in l e g, s i t ).

Always practise sounds in the context of words. When you practise sounds:

• give students a lot of listening practice. Play the recording several times and say the sound or words yourself.

• say the sound alone and get students to repeat it. Then say the words.

• show students how to make the sound in the mouth. You can draw a diagram of the mouth on the board, showing the position of the tongue, and demonstrate the position of the lips etc. Be aware that in connected speech, we don’t separate words – we run them together. So when you practise sentences with students, don’t separate the words yourself and make sure that students don’t either. Also be aware that the sound at the beginning and end of a word can change, depending on what the sounds are. For example, the final /d/ or /t/ isn’t pronounced in the phrase We watched television. Don’t expect students to pick this up at elementary level but be careful not to separate words when you model sentences. Similar words are often contrasted as, depending on their nationality, students may not be able to hear the difference or say them correctly. For activities that help students distinguish between sounds, see eg

• SB page 66, ex 3. This is a minimal pairs activity where students are asked to write two similar sounds in the correct column.

• SB page 18, ex 2. In this activity, students must pick out words with a certain sound from a list of words.

• SB page 106, ex 5. This tongue twister practises the sounds /st/ and /ts/.


Stress has two aspects, word stress and sentence stress.

Word stress When we stress a syllable in a word, we emphasise it by making it louder or longer. Every word of two syllables or more has the main stress on one syllable. Stress is always on a vowel or diphthong sound. To show where the stress is in a word, you can either:

• use gestures, eg a downward movement of your hand as you say the syllable.

• write the word on the board, and mark the stress, like this un-health-y.

When you teach new words, always show students where the stress is and make sure they say the stress correctly.

Sentence stress This helps to convey meaning. If you say Juan didn’t come to my party the stress on didn’t tells us that you expected him to come. As a general rule, ask students either to:

• listen and say where the stress is in a sentence.

• read sentences, a conversation, etc and decide where the stress should be. Then ask them to listen and check their answers.

Give students a lot of listening practice and repetition. As you do, get students to mark the stressed word(s) with their hands.


Intonation is the rise and fall of the voice as we speak, and it conveys meaning. The voice always changes direction, either rising or falling on a stressed syllable. Intonation is important because it conveys meaning. For example, we can turn a statement into a question by changing the falling intonation of the statement into rising intonation.

Voice range In English, if the voice range is quite narrow (without much rise or fall) it suggests the speaker isn’t emotional. But if the voice range is wide, there is more emotion and the speaker may be happy, enthusiastic, angry, etc. At Elementary level it can be very difficult to teach intonation and so we don’t cover too much in this level of Jetstream. Concentrate on students getting the sounds and stress right first, then if they’re happy to move on, start focusing on intonation. Here are some tips.

• Give lots of listening practice. Say the sentence or phrase at normal speed, then slow the sentence down and say the word with the intonation change slowly.

• Use gestures to show the rise and fall of the voice and write the sentence on the board.

• Show the intonation with arrows above the syllable(s) where the voice changes direction,

above the syllable(s) where the voice changes direction, eg Can I help you? I’m just looking,

eg Can I help you? I’m just looking, thank you.

Feedback and correction

Correction In any activity focusing on accuracy (eg Speaking practice and some games), you should make the student aware that they have made a mistake, and see that it is corrected immediately (either by you or, preferably, by another student). In any activity focusing on fluency (eg discussion and role-play), you should not interrupt the student, but make a mental or written note of any very serious errors and go through them with the students after the activity. You can do this by writing some of the mistakes on the board and asking the class as a whole to help correct them. Word of warning: don’t overdo it! If the students have just enjoyed doing an activity, they will be very depressed to see a board full of mistakes; select a few serious ones only for treatment. The mistakes will tell you if students need more work on a grammatical or vocabulary area.

Feedback It is a good idea after pairwork or group work to have some sort of whole-class feedback. This serves the dual purpose of a check for you on what has been happening and information for the other students on what their classmates have been doing and saying. Keep it reasonably short, however. Don’t ask every pair or group everything they said to each other – get ideas from just a few pairs, or ask for one or two ideas from every group (and to ensure that the others listen, tell them that you don’t want to hear the same idea repeated).