We use CEFR

As a great ESL teacher you need to be able to adapt your teaching style and presentation of material to suit the student’s level.

The six reference levels used by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for grading an individual’s language proficiency are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.

Our suggested levels are just an indication. Teachers should evaluate the suitability of a handout before it is taught in a class. Often, a handout is included in two levels. This is based on variations in the way it can be taught in a lesson. A Handout may be suitable as an introductory lesson for one level and a review for a higher level. The teaching notes may include suggestions on how to teach handouts to mixed level students.


  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.


  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.


  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.


  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.


  • Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
  • Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
  • Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
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Coronavirus (COVID-19): What should you do?

Question Cards (What am I?)

sortA2, A2+
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What am I? is an excellent way for students to practice asking simple questions. This activity is great as an ice breaker at the start of a lesson or for filling in extra time at the end of the class, so keep a stack of these cards in your bag. As well as being a fun activity for your class, special attention has been given to the words used in the object clues. Your students may have questions about the vocabulary used which you could review during or after the activity.

Example object card in this handout:
I have one head and one foot.
I usually have four legs.
Most people use me at night.

What am i?  I am a bed. A bed has one head, one foot, and usually four legs.


Elementary: A2, Pre-Intermediate: A2+

Read about levels

Teaching Time


Language Functions and Forms

Topic: Class Essentials
Target: Asking questions, Game


Game, Questions and Answers


2 Student Pages, Teaching Notes


Check the date in the Teaching Notes.

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