I do believe all the teachers in Babelis are great (anyone who’s chosen to pass on their knowledge as a way of living has earn my respect). I have the feeling, though, that sometimes us, teachers, need to be reminded of the basic guidelines of successful teaching. And although, we know we are doing fine, going through this sort of checklist will ease our hearts and minds about our performance in the classroom.

And that is exactly the aim of this post: the DOs and DON’Ts any foreign language teacher interested in keeping up with their good work should read and re-read once in a while.



  • Use the target language as the normal and expected means of classroom communication
  • Use natural speed, pronunciation and intonation. Vary your voice to keep students attention
  • Use gestures, facial expressions, and body language
  • Use concrete referents such as props, realia, manipulatives and visuals
  • Use authentic material as well (authentic material as oposed to language learning adapted material)
  • Exploit real events
  • Make good use of blackboard: write down new vocabulary, grammar points, phonetics, etc dividing the blackboard properly
  • Throughout the lesson/unit keep a balance of language, culture and subject content goals; as well as a balance in the use and practise of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
  • Present grammar through and for usage rather than analysis
  • Demonstrate, rather than explain, new activities
  • Provide smooth and logical transitions from one activity to another
  • Maintain a pace that have momentum and a sense of direction
  • Change activities frequently and logically
  • Keep learners active throughout the class period individually and as part of groups
  • Make sure learners interact equally during the lesson
  • Organise varied groupings of learners and varied interaction pattern: teacher>student, student>teacher, student>student
  • Use pair work to increase learners talking time
  • Show patience with learner’s attempt to communicate
  • Have a good approach to error correction
  • Remember that discipline is positive, prompt, non-disruptive
  • Adapt activities to suit your learners’ different abilities and ways of learning
  • Offer continuous feedback and encouragement to learners
  • Monitor learner’s progress regularly
  • Ask for feedback
  • Admit your ignorance
  • Consult colleages




  • Don’t go into the classroom unprepared
  • Don’t be afraid of silence
  • Don’t be afraid of noise
  • Don’t give boring classes
  • Don’t have a negative attitude towards learning
  • Don’t be harsh when correcting
  • Don’t let them use their mother tongue to communicate in the classroom
  • Don’t rely 100% on language learning adapted material
  • Don’t follow the lesson plan strictly without taking into account your own learners’ pace and interests that day
  • Don’t forget to understand your learners’ needs and interests