Opening a…

Opening a… is likely my most streamlined and standardized series. And it has also proven to be one of the most popular series. When students come to an Opening a… English Corner, they know exactly what to expect. Every presentation in the series is structured the same, but with a focus on a different business in each presentation, thus allowing for creativity and new ideas each week.


The following guidelines are meant to give you a general overview on how to conduct a class using this PowerPoint presentation. This guide is intentionally general, as ESL students and classes around the world have a range of needs and strengths, and different teachers have different styles.


Please be aware that these are the guidelines that I use in my classes, and they work for me. However, as you may have a different teaching style, take the guidelines with a grain of salt, and experiment with how to present the information within the presentation to make it fit your teaching style.


As always, if you like this presentation, and have a great class, please refrain from sharing this presentation with your colleagues, and share a link to instead. This is my livelihood, after all. Have a great class!    


Target Levels

Target Audience

Class Duration

Lower-Intermediate – Advanced

Teens – Adults

55 Minutes


General Tips

  • If possible, you can send the introduction and discussion questions slides out to your students one or two days before class, or simply ask them to think about how they would go about opening the selected type of business in their area. This will allow them to prepare, and have a general idea about what to expect in the class. If you do not engage with your students digitally outside of class, then you can print out the aforementioned slides and distribute them a day before.
  • The pictures within each presentation were chosen to help students better guess the meaning of new vocabulary, or better grasp the point of activities and discussion questions. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the pictures, and thinking about how you can use them to highlight points or give examples.
  • I’ve found that dividing students into groups of 3-5 each works best. If there are more than that, some students may not have a chance to speak, or may try to blend in and not speak out. Conversely, if there are only two students, they may blaze through the activities too quickly.
  • It’s also best practice to mix groups regarding levels and personalities. If you mix more outspoken students together with shyer students, and then give the outspoken students leadership roles within the groups, they will encourage the shyer students to speak, rather than remaining quiet the entire class. This also works when mixing high- and low-level ESL students. By giving stronger, or outspoken, students leadership roles, they get to practice and mentor, and the other students also will get more opportunities to speak out.
  • Be flexible with your time. You don’t have to finish the presentation in one class, or at all. If you plan to allow 15 minutes for one activity, but students seem really engaged with the activity and don’t show signs of slowing down after 15 minutes, then don’t stop them. The point of the class is to get the students speaking and practicing, so give them additional time if they are doing that. Conversely, if the students are slowing down and becoming quiet after 10 minutes, jump in and expand on the activity, or move on.
  • While the presentations were developed for 55-minute classes, some of them can be stretched over two classes. It really depends on your students, and how much time they are spending on each activity or discussion question.
  • During the class, don’t get too bogged down on specific words and phrases. Paraphrase when needed, and encourage students to move on. When they focus on small details, they end up having less time to actually practice speaking.

Sections (Note: Not all sections are included in all presentations.)



General Guidelines


(1-3 minutes)

1.      Introduce the topic.

2.      Ask the students how often they use the type of business mentioned in the topic.

3.      Ask 1 or 2 other questions to warm them up.


(1-2 minutes)

1.      Have one of your students read the first paragraph on the slide.

2.      Paraphrase the information if clarification is needed.

3.      Use the second paragraph to transition into the discussion questions.

Opening Discussion

(5-8 minutes)

1.      Reveal the questions one by one.

2.      Allow around two minutes per question.

3.      Have the students share their ideas with the class.

Business Options

(30-40 minutes)

1.      Allow the students to spend around five minutes discussing the content on the slides that have multiple choice options.

2.      Allow the students to spend 2-3 minutes per question on the slides that present discussion questions regarding their businesses.

3.      For the various questions in this section, I’ve chosen to reveal them one by one, as many students rush through questions too quickly if you reveal them all at once. However, if you are pressed for time, it may benefit you to reveal them all at once.

4.      Before advancing to the next slide, have the groups share a few highlights regarding their ideas for their businesses.

Extended Discussion

(5-8 minutes)

1.      Reveal the questions one by one.

2.      Allow around two minutes per question.

3.      Have the students share their ideas with the class.


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  • Presentation title
  • Slide # of error
  • Error information

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