Asking your students the question “Is everything clear?” after you have given instructions on what to do is as good as useless. Most students just don’t want or may be too shy to admit that they don’t understand something, or may think they understand it when they actually don’t, or may hope they will understand it once they get down to work.

Apart from being a teaching tool, instructions are also part of language that may be used for learning purposes, i.e. become an object of study.

This post shows how to make sure that your instructions are as clear as possible for your students and turn them into language learning activities (or as Chris Roland calls them, “supercharged instructions“).

You can watch a recording of Chris Roland’s webinar “Talking to teenagers in the English language classroom” here. (Most highly recommended!)

Supercharge instructions

* Video Diagrams – see how to help your students visualize your instructions and a few diagrams here.

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Is you favourite activity missing from this list?


  1. Hi Svetlana, thank you for the practical and useful set if ideas (as always!). One more thing (and can be viewed as a variation to your #4, is a ‘Jigsaw Instructions’ I offer (when student A has the answers to student B’s gaps). In this case, they are figuring out what to do together (and it also models an Info Gap task, if that’s what the task)
    Will share your post with the teachers I have worked with on course in December 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you. The question Is everything clear or Did you understand ? is useless. Besides this, they hardly read the rubric.s. They just overlook the exercise and guess what to do. Thank you for reminding us …..

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