Extracting the Maximum Use From English Language Periodical Columns

Larry M. Lynch

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Teaching or learning English as a foreign language (EFL) by using authentic materials which have been prepared for native speakers in real-life conditions is an excellent way to stimulate your English language learners to acquire health and beauty-related foreign language vocabulary. English language newspapers and magazines are readily available in most parts of the world. So you be easily able to pick up a regional or international periodical to use in your English as a foreign language (EFL) class room setting. Let’s briefly look at extracting some extensive English language teaching using the regular columns in a periodical.

Health and Beauty Columns

Talking about good openings to teach parts of the body, this is certainly one. Add containers, medicines, health problems and home remedies to the possibilities list too. You could present / practice verbs for getting dressed, putting on make-up and performing bodily care functions. Mind your manners and personal hygiene now.

Food & Culinary Arts Columns

Likely you’ll find recipes for entrees, soups and desserts of all kinds. Tips for special occasions and food service etiquette might appear here too. You could use these to work with sequence of steps in a process, giving directions, naming kitchen, cooking and dining utensils, ingredient names and quantities along with rare or specialty food items. The topic area is almost limitless. Who doesn’t like to eat?

Travel Page or Column

Travel is an interesting, fun area for almost everyone, whether it’s a destination piece or a descriptive one on a hotel or resort. If a quantity of related photos isn’t provided on the page or in the column, you can add your own (or have the learners do it). This makes a great assignment for learners to dig up relevant support photos to help “flesh out” a text-only piece. What is the location, region or country noted for? What other or unusual activities might be available there? A historical background of the area may quite well yield some surprises. Have you or one of your learners ever been there? Would you or one of them like to go? Why or why not?

Editorial / Opinion / Commentary

Relevant topics, opinions and commentary on current local, regional and national or international events can offer support for essays, compositions, debates and oral or written reports from your learners. Learners have opinions too you know. Get them to express their ideas, opinions and feelings on contemporary issues that directly or indirectly affect them.


Of course you’ve used the classifieds in some way in your classes before, haven’t you? If not, shame on you and get cracking. They are literally a gold mine of opportunity to enrich English (or foreign language) language communicative skills. A brace of good classifieds can keep you “in the clover” for weeks, months, or even years if you really want to “milk” them. Try “shopping” them, having “yard” or “garage” sales while adding pictures, photos, graphics or “realia” to illustrate the item ads. Job interview dialogues can very easily come out of the classifieds. “Dating games” should flow quite easily from the “personals”. Don’t even think about passing any of these up.

Get Started ASAP

Be sure to pick up an authentic English language periodical to use in your English as a foreign language class room as soon as possible, later on today or first thing tomorrow morning. You be delighted at the possibilities you’ll discover. If you e-mail me at lynchlarrym@gmail.com and you’re nice, I’ll send you a free copy of my e-book, “The Foreign Language Learner’s Startup Guide” by return e-mail.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an ELT Teacher Trainer, expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. For a free copy of his e-book, “The Foreign Language Learner’s Startup Guide”, comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free ELT materials mailing list, e-mail: lynchlarrym@gmail.com


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