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Creating Interest with Visual Aid in the Classroom

Creating Interest with Visual Aid in the Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Visual images aids can add interest and often add meaning in a way that words can’t. This is especially true for ESL students who don’t have sufficient words to understand detailed spoken explanations.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate JunCui Z. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Learning styles

People learn in different ways. For example, some people learn well by listening, some by movement and touch and many people respond well to seeing things. There are many different learning styles, so having variety in your presentations gives attention to these different styles and helps everyone succeed.

Bringing something of interest in the classroom gets students quite excited. There’s a certain novelty value involved in pictures and objects and you have chosen, things visual learners love to see in a presentation include:

Also Read: How do I apply for a student visa to legally teach English in Spain?


Which are not just for primary school, flashcards are good fun for adults and children alike. The traditional flashcard has a picture on the front and the equivalent word in writing on the back or below. By holding up one side of the card you can elicit the information on the other side.

You can use flashcards for vocabulary groups such as jobs, food, animals, weather and hobbies. Or how about having the infinitive verb form on the front, and the past simple and past participle on the back? Likewise, try having opposites front and back.


A simple stick figure drawing is enough to make students smile and give them something to talk about. If you’re a bit nervous about your artwork, do it before the lesson and then just stick your picture to the board.

children paying

Also Read: Classroom Management in an EFL Setting: Transcending Language to Enhance Learning


Celebrity photos seem to work particularly well in ESL lessons; perhaps because of the exciting international flavor, they give your lesson. Save old magazines, or even catalogs, as photographs are great for explaining the meaning of a word, or setting a context.Videos: Short video clips grab your students’ attention and lend themselves to further activities in the practice and production stages.

Example lesson plan

For an example lesson aimed at teaching ‘used to’ ‘any more’ to contrast the past and present, you can bring in an old childhood photograph.

First, you can find out if the students recognize you. After that make them guess how old you are in the picture. Then tell them that you had many hobbies at that age and ask students to make suggestions about what they were. Show some clues like stamps or a skipping rope. With each suggestion say ‘yes, I used to …’ or ‘No, I didn’t use to …’ When they’ve guessed one or two hobbies correctly you can switch to the present and ask whether they think that you still do that activity. This will leads to the statement, ‘I don’t think that you still do it anymore’.

Also Read: Role of the Teacher: In-Class and During Activities

Creating materials

You can sometimes find cheap children’s games and activities that you can adapt to the classroom. For example, children’s playing cards are often pictorial, showing animals or a variety of jobs. Model cars and trains are useful when you explain transport words or describe directions (left, right, forwards and so on).

Whenever you use the board, The first thing you should check is whether you have markers that work-pens or chalk-and then make sure that all the students can see the board. You may need to alter the seating.

Keep your board clutter-free at all costs. Nothing frustrates a student more than looking down at his notebook for a second, then looking up again to see a board so disorganized and busy that he can’t find the thing he wanted to copy down. Rub off information you no longer need. Clean the board before and after each lesson.

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There are many different visual teaching aids that the teacher can use, so its important to see what has the best effect on your students and helps them understand the material well.

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