How to teach English: EFL Teacher Training: Online Video Workshops


At first teaching ESL or EFL to kids can be quite tricky. But as you get more experience, you find out what the kids react to and what little tricks and ideas work to make the lessons go more smoothly. I’ve taught a few thousand kids over the years, so in my workshops I try to introduce as many of these ideas as I can. As not everyone can make it to one of my events, I’ve put up videos of the first hour of “The Basics” on the site, so you can get up to speed in no time.

There are 6 parts split over one hour. So forget the latest TV drama and try a bit of Genki English!

If you can’t see Youtube videos on your school computer, there’s also a low-resolution version available.

Be genki,


Lesson Planning: Warming Up (Part 1 of 6)

Start each lesson off with: Warm Up

  • Gets the kids genki. Says “This is fun.” “This is something different”.
  • Get the kids to respond quickly to your actions so you can control things if they get too genki.
  • Add in extra words each week. ( e.g. sports, musical instruments, “zip it”)
  • If you have less than one lesson per week get the kids to repeat what you say

Then into a review of the previous lesson e.g. the “What’s your name?” song. ( See also this article on reviewing.)

  • Review, review and review like crazy.
  • It’s not “what you’ve done in class”, it’s “what the kids can actually do”

Lesson Planning: Warming Up (Part 2 of 6)

  • Eye contact!
  • The first rule of Genki English: Confidence is the key, if you think you can, you can!
  • Get the kids doing activities amongst themselves as soon as possible.

Then if you have time, do the Lines Quiz.

  • Solves the “Hello, what’s your name?” “Eh…?” ( + blank look ) problem
  • Gets the kids used to answering questions straight away.
  • Good for getting kids used to “How are you?” vs. “How old are you?

Lesson Planning: Warming Up (Part 3 of 6)

  • The second rule of Genki English: Losing Doesn’t mean losing, it just means “try again”

Lesson Planning: New Material (Part 4 of 6)

  • Teach Song then games to practise the target language
  • Go straight to using a song without any drilling of language. Saves a lot of time.
  • Always include actions, cute pictures, melody, as many senses as possible to maximise chances of remembering each word.
  • Teach what students want to be able to say, not what you want to teach.
  • Keep the happy, funky, cool stuff for the end. End on a high note.
  • Teach one question + around 8 answers per lesson.
  • If 8 is too much, split it in two and do a mini game in between, like we did with the “I like everything game
  • A game for a game’s sake is no good. Every game is there to practise the English in a fun way.
  • Be as genki as you can when teaching the song, then get the kids doing the game as quickly as possible so you can get on with preparing the next stuff.

Lesson Planning: New Material (Part 5 of 6)


  • Include the previous lessons’ English in the current game. No lesson is in isolation.
  • Use a stopwatch to add excitement.
  • Ask the kids if they can make the time limits or not. If they think they can, they can!
  • Finish off with a happy ending.

Lesson Planning: Another example “How old are you?” (Part 6 of 6)

  • How old are you? with Mingle for lower grades.
  • The kids ask “How old are you?” and you answer with the age. They get in to groups of that number.
  • Say “I’m sorry?” several times so they ask again louder.
  • Losing doesn’t mean losing, it means “try again!”

There are also more videos throughout the site, just click on the lesson you’d like to teach from the curriculum. 

And of course all the materials, songs, flashcards to teach these lessons are now in the full downloadable Teacher’s Set.

Be genki,