ESL teachers group discussion & lesson props

Introducing Props To Your ESL Lessons

Cecilly Author EF
Gin Wu

Props help your lesson delivery in several ways. Props help kids associate words with meaning, especially when presenting new language. Kids would like to pay attention when something colorful and funny are used in class. Props also make kids feel like you are standing with them in the same world.

What kinds of props can I use?


Every teacher should have a whiteboard, which is the most effective tool for guiding and showing, especially for teachers in online classes. When you are in front of a group of children who speak a different language from you, every word and pattern you output, every movement you make, is visually communicated to them. Continuous action will help deepen their memory.

Flash cards

Flash cards as an essential teaching prop. Pinyin cards are an important part of Chinese children's initial education in Chinese characters, the same as flash cards. When you show your mouth shape and pronunciation to match the card you are holding, it will help your students’ cognition and memory


Little girls like dolls, puppies. Little boys like cars, robots. Yes, we know what they like. Compared to an adult, a teacher, children are more likely to talk to their favorite cartoon characters, their toys. You should have 1-2 characters as your partners or assistants during the classes, then 20 mins or 40 mins will not be too long for your students.

Colorful and funny items

A child's attention span is about 10-15 minutes at 6 ages. Children's attention span is about 15-20 minutes at ages 7-10. Attention span is affected by a number of factors. All novel, intuitive, vivid, specific images and constant stimuli, can attract the attention of childrenou're at it!

Reward system

We have seen in actual classrooms that teachers with different teaching styles have different reward system. No matter it’s a card, a star, a badge or an unreachable candy, they’re all a good way to encourage them to enhance self-confidence and stimulate children's awareness of learning.

When should I use props?

- Self-introduction

Writing down some information about you and your students on the whiteboard, preparing a lovely name card for yourself, let your students get to know you and start the conversation. Breaking ice with your students in 5 minutes!

- Phonics, Vocabulary Teaching

Using flash cards to assist your phonics and vocabulary teaching and impress your students. Setting the conversations with your characters based on the curriculums.

- Knowledge extension & review

Extending and reviewing the knowledge by some games and activities such like using the new words to have a chat with toys, doing some word puzzles etc. If you have multiple students in the classroom, let them interact with each other. Don’t hesitate to encourage and reward your students

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Cecilly Author EF
Gin Wu

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