Tips For Teaching With Flashcards

Below, you will find some tips about using the flashcards from the Premium site in your teaching. If you are looking for the flashcards themselves, you'll find them on our main Flashcards page.

Printing Flashcards from esl-lounge Premium

Printing the flashcards from esl-lounge Premium couldn't be simpler. Once you have saved the PDF file onto your computer, you can open it using Adobe or other similar PDF reading software. Once open, all you need to do is print it.

There are two sizes for every flashcard on the Premium site: A4 (30cm x 21cm, 12in x 8in) and a larger A3 size (42cm x 30cm, 16.5in x 12in).

We recommend that you make a master copy of these flashcards onto a high quality paper or, even better, a light card. This will ensure a sturdier flashcard for classroom use.

Using The Flashcards

There are many grammatical categories of flashcards on the esl-lounge Premium site. These include areas of the language such as:

- names of jobs
- verbs of daily routine
- prepositions of place
- comparatives and superlatives
- verb tenses

When you are teaching these areas of the language, you will obviously be able to use the appropriate flashcards, especially in elicitation and speaking drills.


Speaking drills in English teaching are as old as the hills and has received some pretty bad press over the last couple of decades. Like everything else, it has its uses and can be an effective teaching aid if students are required to go beyond parrot-like repetition.

Here is one possible technique:

  1. Let's say you are going to work on daily routine and would like to do some work on the interrogative form of the present simple.
  2. Print off the routine verbs from the flashcard section.
  3. Show your class the flashcard, have breakfast. Ask the class, "what does Sally do at 8 o'clock?" The class responds, "she has breakfast."
  4. Now ask something like "what does she have for breakfast?". Students respond, "she has toast and coffee."
  5. Now show another flashcard, that with listen to music, for example. Ask a stronger student to ask another student, "what does Sally do at three in the afternoon?" to elicit the response, "she listens to music."
  6. Ask another strong student to ask another question on the same flashcard: "what type of music does she listen to?".

In this way, even if you have to do two or three example flashcards instead of the one shown here, you can get your students using the target language with minimal teacher intervention. You can use the second page of the PDF, that with writing on, to help your students if they get stuck. Teacher Talking Time is kept to a minimum.

Drills of this type can be used with all the flashcards on this site. Be creative: the flashcards for one grammatical area of English can easily be adapted for others. For example, you can use the routine verb flashcards to also help with the present continuous:

Teacher: what is Sally doing in this picture?
Student: she is drinking a cup of coffee.
Teacher: is she eating dinner, Carlos?
Student, no, she's having breakfast.

The possibilities are endless.

Use The Classroom

Too often, teachers limit their flashcard use to holding them up in their hands in front of a watching class. But remember you can do so many other things:

Matching Activities

You can use the second/third page of the flashcard PDF files too. We have included words and phrases for a whole host of reasons. Teachers can use these page in simple drills or they can be used in other activities:

A few examples

  1. Students need to match the written flashcards with the pictures in a face-down memory game.
  2. Half the class has the pictures, the other half has the words. Students use questions to find their "other half", for example: what do you do at 9 a.m.? / what was happening at 9 o'clock last night?
  3. Matching races - students in groups race to put the words with the images from two separate piles of cards at opposite ends of the class.

Remember for these and other activities, you may need to print multiple copies of the flashcards.

Use Your Imagination

The number of uses to which you can put flashcards is only as limited as your imagination. The flashcards on this site have been put into grammatical categories but these categories only serve as a guide to the flashcards' most obvious use: you need to think beyond the obvious.

Here are some examples of what any of the flashcards can be used for:

If you have any other ideas for flashcard use, contact us and let us know!

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