Ideas for intensive holiday courses: SKILLS PRACTICE

During the holidays your students have the opportunity to fine-tune their language skills and experiment with their creativity. How can you help them with this? If you are teaching a short course these months, you will have noticed that the last thing your students want is a return to good old classroom practice which inevitably reminds them of school.

In our previous post we looked at READING for your holiday courses, check out our ideas here. This time we’ll see some ideas and resources for different skills practice such as speaking, writing, listening, thinking, and then we’ll see how you can inspire creative ideas in your group.


We often hear that ‘conversation’ and ‘the communicative approach’ are fundamental in the classroom. But how can we practise communication in an entertaining way, especially when our students are below intermediate level?

STSIn the photocopiable resource Something to Say you will find sets of surprising questions, grammar questions, interviews, riddles that will help you start speaking activities on the sentence level, and then you can develop them into conversations.

In the resource book The Principled Communicative Approach the authors (Jane Arnold, Zoltán Dörnyei, Chaz Pugliese) have collected seven criteria for success, and each chapter focuses on one. You will find 75 activities in this resource.

In the resource book Creating Motivation Chaz Pugliese offers 94 activities and teaching strategies teachers can use to ignite your students’ motivation.


Writing short stories, essays, reviews, poems, plays, interviews. Writing practice in the language class often equals writing letters and exam tasks for your students. Change this misconception by experimenting with story writing and creative writing.

Here are two resource books to assist you.



We often hear that teachers should not do longer listening tasks and extensive listening in the classroom, although they know that their students struggle with listening comprehension. Use your holiday courses to have some listening fun. You can simply use songs, online videos clips and karaoke to introduce grammar points, vocabulary or just set the atmosphere.

You can also do some extensive listening practice. What is extensive listening? Read about it in here: Read and Listen: Extensive Listening in the Reading Classroom.


Thinking in a different language, understanding its structures, being able to place the text in context and make cultural and linguistic connections are all important factors in learning a new language.

In the resource Thinking in the EFL Class written by Tessa Woodward, you will find 30 tips and 85 activities. You will be able to combine the four classic skills with thinking practice.

English through ArtCREATIVITY

How can we inspire creativity and abstract ideas in our students?  If you cannot take your students to galleries and museums, take the painting into the classroom.

Explore the Google Cultural Institute and go on a virtual trip in a famous national museum. You can also try one of the 100 activities in the resource book ENGLISH through ART written by Peter Grundy, Hania Bociek and Kevin Parker.

Our students often need an interesting question or activity to trigger their imagination. Storytelling and story writing are excellent approaches, but you can also try activities that will show them how they can use their inner resources to learn a language. Explore the resource book Imagine That! written by Jane Arnold, Herbert Puchta and Mario Rinvolucri.

Find out more about The Resourceful Teacher Series and The Photocopiable Resource Series on our website.

Do you have any activities for teaching and integrating language skills? Share them with us in an e-mail or in the comments below!

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