6 TEFL books that could really help you in the classroom

There are oodles and oodles of TEFL books out there that can help you expand and get better in your professional capacity as an English guru abroad. Here are just some of our top picks, ranging from grammar bibles to reliable banks of lesson plans. Enjoy…


TEFL books
leave your mark | © Shelby Steward/Flickr


Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (2003), Lynne Truss


With a title like that, it’s totally believable that Lynne Truss has managed to do what so many said was impossible: Make a book about punctuation and grammar that’s also an interesting read. With the driving fuel on the punctuation fire here a giggle-inducing joke about a great panda and a speakeasy, you’ll come face-to-face with some of the most common (and irritating) syntaxial and grammatical errors in the English language. The work’s not only great for ironing out those errors, but also helps to nurture a no-nonsense approach to editing and proofing students’ work.


TEFL Lesson Plans For Dummies (2014), Michelle Maxom            


Just in case you were wondering if there’s a TEFL addition to the For Dummies series, then yes, there is. In fact, there are two. However, this easy-to-digest tome is perhaps the handiest, and can be a great way to add some routine to your pre-lesson planning and in-class rotation of activities. You’ll get a rundown of all the various ways to approach a lesson plan, learn how to integrate technology into the mix, and even gain access to a whole host of online materials to help get you started.


TEFL books
classroom | © Lead Beyond/Flickr


Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Drama Activities for EFL Students (1985), Mario Rinvolucri


Way back in when Wham! and Whitney Houston were riding high in the number one spot of the pop charts, this 146-page collection of cerebral activities for young English learners was quietly transforming the way we approach those tough technical language sessions. Today, countless renditions and re-publications later, the work is still considered one of the top resources for simple, easy-to-integrate, and – most importantly – effective classroom games related to grammar.


Positive Discipline (1981), Jane Nelson


Taking us even further back into the wild and wonderful days of the 1980s is this ground-breaking work on discipline. We often say not to worry too much about this aspect of teaching – TEFL classes tend to be much more responsive and amiable to foreign teachers, which is great news for all of us. However, it certainly can’t hurt to get a grounding in some effective discipline models, and this one, based on ideas of mutual respect, is considered one of the most effective of all.


Ice Cream Van, York, North Yorkshire, England | © Spencer Means/Flickr
Ice Cream Van, York, North Yorkshire, England | © Spencer Means/Flickr


Teaching Tenses (1992), Rosemary Aitken


Ah, the dreaded tenses. It’s perhaps something of a quirk of English that these tricky grammatical switches are such a central part of the language. A good grounding in all future, past and present modes is required for anything approaching fluency, which means it’s super-important that they are taught correctly on the ground. Cue this 1992 work by Rosemary Aitken, which is hailed as one of the more successful and timeless guides for untangling those participles and present perfects.


Work Your Way Around the World: The Globetrotter’s Bible (2014), Susan Griffith


Billed as the globetrotter’s bible, but really more of an inspirational push to let any budding digital nomads know that it can be done, this paperback by Susan Griffith could just have the info on getting work abroad you were after. It’s certainly not limited to just TEFL teaching, but covers countless other professional spheres too, and includes interviews with people who’ve managed to make a bit of dosh doing all sorts over the globe. Perhaps you’ve thought of being an acting extra on your weekends off? Yep, it’s doable. Maybe you’ve got a flare for pop-up kitchens? Great! Some casual bar work sound like your kind of deal? Let’s do it.



If you’d like to recommend any other TEFL books that should totally be on this list, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you think it’s time you got qualified and started teaching abroad, be sure to check out myTEFL’s range of courses.



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