I am sure we have all been there: an ESL class that can only be described as boring.

It is, however, noteworthy to briefly look at why you find the class boring:

  • Is it because it is heavily grammar focused?
  • Is it because the teacher is talking too much?
  • Is it because the teacher is making concepts complex?
  • Is it because you are tired, had a long day, and would rather be anywhere else?
  • Is it because you learning English is not your choice, and therefore, you aren’t motivated?

It is easy to blame the teacher if a class is boring, but, honestly, not all classes, activities, and parts of a lesson can be super fun and exciting. At the end of the day, there has to at least be a healthy balance – and you need to take something away from the lesson.

Taking advantage of a ‘boring’ lesson and learning effectively

Related to the points above, here are some ways in which you can take ownership of your own studies in class:

  • If the lesson is very much grammar and explanation heavy, there is a possibility that you might have to sit and endure. But if you don’t understand – or the teacher is explaining too much – ask questions.
  • If the teacher is talking too much, raise your hand and ask questions relevant to the topic. Ask about things that you are not sure of or mention a new word you heard on the news.
  • If the teacher isn’t explaining things clearly, try to – politely – stop the teacher and ask clarifying questions to help make things simpler.


The main point is to examine why a lesson is perceived as being uninteresting and then from that point of view, see how you can make learning effective – even if it means raising your hand and asking questions. This would, hopefully, inspire the other students to also ask questions and take ownership of their learning too, and thus, make learning effective even if the class is boring.

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About the Author

Denine Walters is currently a freelance writer, editor/proofreader and ESL teacher. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world and, before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan. In her free time, she likes to read, do scrapbooking and grammar quizzes, and travel.

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