The English only classroom – preschool

english only classroom man on phone

The English only classroom might seem like a daunting feat! Some teachers are concerned that they will alienate their students if they only speak English during lessons. So, to prevent this issue, a certain amount of tact is required. Here is a cute way of introducing ‘English-only’ in the classroom.


Thanks to Esther Cannard for sharing this trick, which may help other non-native English teachers at the beginning of all English classes, and all those who want to install an English-only teaching environment.

English only classroom idea

I pretend to receive a phone call from my sister Betsy who lives in the United States. I excuse myself and then go outside, but I keep the door open. At this point, you can say some things like, “Hi Betsy, how are you? That’s good. I am in a class right now. I will talk to you later. Love you, bye.” Then when I come back into the classroom, I am only able to speak English until my sister calls me back at the end of the lesson. The first time I did this, I acted surprised that I could not speak French anymore. I even started to speak English really fast, as if I were out of control, but then I settled down and said to the class, “boy, I really hope Betsy remembers to call me back.”

It doesn’t alienate the kids!

It works well even with the older children; they think it is fun, and they will ask if I don’t do the phone call. The younger ones really believed it at the beginning and wondered what would happen if my sister forgot to call me back at the end of the lesson or if the battery died. You could see the looks on the students’ faces, as if to say ‘would I be speaking English all day long?’

Share your ideas!

Feel free to share the post with your teaching friends and give us your ideas in the comments below.

All the best

Shelley Ann Vernon

Great preschool resources

For fun preschool games, stories and songs please click on this link.

5 thoughts on “The English only classroom – preschool”

  1. Hi .shelly i really appreciate your help for teachers .i need your help for more strategies for secondary english teachers best regards nadia

    1. Hello Nadia, Thanks for your comment and question. Yes, you are most welcome to join my mailing list for secondary school. I’ll send you games, samples, ideas…for all sorts of topics relating to teaching teens and adults. If you look on my home page and scroll down a bit you’ll find a big banner where you can put in your name and email. (I absolutely respect your email address.) Then you will get a confirmation link to click – that email might go into your spam. This step is to prevent a load of spammers from adding people to the list. Then you should be good to go! All the best, Shelley

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