Teaching Use of English

Teaching Use of English



As a teacher, I am always trying to find out the best way of giving English classes to the students. The students have different levels of the language, some of them have a low one, the majority have a medium level and a few of them have a good level.

Getting students to use English in the classroom is one of the biggest challenges for teachers.

I always present myself to the student on the first day saying that I am Spanish but English because I was born in London and have lived there all of my life. I also tell them that learning English is not that easy otherwise they would speak English all around the world but that is not true.

I also tell them that they will not learn English in one week or a month, that they will still be learning it after 6 months and a year.

Then I have a chat with them and ask them simple questions like:

Where do you live?
Do you work or study?
What will you be doing this weekend?

I am always telling the students that a good way of learning the language is to read books, newspapers or magazines in English, to watch films in English and to speak it more often with their friends if they have any abroad.

I am always speaking in English so that their level will improve, but sometimes with the students whose level is not so good I usually have to translate what they have just read so that they have a better understanding of it. That way, when their session has finished they are happier that they have understood it better.


When it comes to teaching the Use of English the students will have to understand the language very well because they will eventually do an exam which has different parts that I will now mention.

Part 1 tests your level of vocabulary

Multiple Choice Cloze
Here the student will read a text with 8 gaps that they will have to fill in from a choice of four (A, B, C or D).

Here they should look at the text before and after the gap and if they don’t know the answer they should always make a guess. When checking their answers, they should make sure that they know why their option is correct and the other three are wrong.

On this part there are:

Here they will have to identify a correct word from a selection of similar words that match another word.

Here they will have to identify common collocations, words that go together like:
You make the bed
You do your homework

Phrasal Verbs
Here they will need to look out for missing verbs or prepositions

Phrases and Expressions
Here you will need to be able to identify common collocations; those are words that go together like:
‘on no account
‘hold your breath

Linking words
Here they will have to know the difference between the common linking words used in English like:

Part 2 Open Cloze

On this part there is a short text with 8 gaps where the missing word has to be added.

Parts of speech
Here the missing word is listed

Pronouns/Relative Pronouns
Words like these are often the missing word:

Articles, ‘a’, ‘the’ and quantifiers like ‘much’, ‘many’, ‘all’, ‘enough’ are often the missing word

Modal/Auxiliary Verbs
Verbs like ‘must’, ‘can’, ‘be’ are often the missing word

Conjunctions (linking words) like ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘yet’ will sometimes be the word you are looking for

Prepositions like ‘in’, ‘at’ ‘on’ will often be the missing word here.

Part 3 Word Formation
Here you will read a short text which has 8 gaps where you have to use a ‘stem’ word to make the correct form of the missing word.

Forming Nouns from Verbs
This exercise focuses on people and their jobs using the most common suffixes
Forming other Nouns
This exercise looks at forming nouns from verbs, nouns and adjectives by using suffixes
Forming opposite meanings
This exercise focuses on the common prefixes and suffixes used to form opposite words
Forming verbs
This exercise looks at some common suffixes used in creating verbs
Forming adjectives and adverbs
This exercise looks at the most common adjectives and adverb endings
Difficult spellings
This exercise focuses on tricky spelling changes


Part 4 Key Word Transformations

Here you will be given a complete sentence followed by a second, incomplete sentence. You must complete the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first using a word given that must not be changed. There are six sentences in total.

1 Comparative/superlative

Here structures like so/such, er/as … as or too/enough ofter appear in this exercise

2 Passive

Changes from active to passive or passive to active are often required

3 Direct and Indirect Speech

Here you are asked to transform a sentence from direct speech to indirect speech of from indirect to direct speech

4 Auxiliary verbs

Here you will often find questions that test your knowledge of auxiliary verbs like ‘will’, ‘have’, ‘must’ and others

5 Conditionals

Here any type of conditional sentence is likely to appear

6 ‘Unreal’ past tenses

Here you will find sentences using ‘if only…’, ‘I wish…’that require the use of past tenses

7 Verb patterns

Here your knowledge of verb patterns such as gerund and infinitive is frequently tested

8 Phrasal verbs
Sentences requiring verbs often appear in this section