Teaching Adjectives to ESL Students

The use of adjective is an important topic to master as it allows your students to express themselves in more interesting ways. It’s even more true when combined with writing lessons. Your students’ work will be richer once they got the hang of using proper adjectives.

So, what can you do to teach adjectives to ESL students? The followings are some of them.

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Show pictures

This method works well for in-class sessions as well as online. Before the lesson, prepare a set of pictures to show to your students. During class, show the picture and ask the students to describe each picture using any adjective they know.

Allow students to their native tongue if they don’t know the English word yet. Use the opportunity to introduce the new adjective as the session proceeds.

Be sure to customize what pictures to use based on the students’ age groups. Young students will do well with pictures of cartoonish animals, plants, and fruits. Older students may feel you’re toying with them if you the same sets. Luckily, the internet provides millions of free to use pictures that you can use. You won’t run out of images to show anytime soon.

Describe a person

Have your students work individually or in pairs and ask them to describe their friend’s appearance and personality. Provide a list of adjectives to use along with their meanings. If necessary, also provide an example paragraph so the students have a better idea of what they need to write about.

As a variation, you can also ask students to describe a famous person. It can be an athlete, singer, actor, celebrity, or practically any famous person.

Guess an object

Trying to guess an object by describing its features is a lot of fun. The good thing is it also a great way to teach adjectives.

You can start by telling the students that you’re thinking about an object. It can be anything as long as it’s not obscure only very few students know what it is. As you describe the object, students can take turns guessing or you can ask them one by one.

If you’re doing it in a classroom, you can prepare a stack of flashcards beforehand. Ask students to take a random card and have them describe the object in front of the class.

Compare two objects

To teach students about the degrees of objectives (positive, comparative, superlative), comparing two objects is a fun way to do it.

Let’s say you show an apple, pear, and orange. You can give the example like this:

Positive degree: The orange is big.

Comparative degree: The apple is bigger than the orange.

Superlative: The pear is the biggest of all.

Of course, you can use any object to use for comparison. Let the students nominate what objects they want to compare too.

OK, that’s all for our simple tips for teaching adjectives to ESL students. If you need help with your online class, especially the writing lessons, just let your students know about the online spelling and grammar checker. Let them check their own work before submitting them to you. That can seriously take some load off your shoulder.