My top teaching tip for teaching Ielts (academic English) by Joanna Malefaki


10470644_10152586069087425_398996853_n   It is a great pleasure that Joanna Malefaki, a dear colleague, accepted to write a guest blog post for my IELTS blog. I am sure that everybody will enjoy it. Thank you, Joanna, so much!!!

My top teaching tip for teaching Ielts (academic English).

First of all let me say, “Thank you Vicky, for asking me to be a guest blogger on your blog. It is my pleasure and I am honored! “ This is so cool : )

Now, let’s get down to business. Why am I here? Ielts for academic purposes of course! But first, a short intro. I have actually taught Ielts academic English classes several times and the thing I like most about these classes is the purpose my learners are taking the lessons. They are preparing for their studies somewhere abroad and I am part of this process. So, apart from being their teacher, the person helping them to pass the Ielts academic test, I also hear about their worries, their dreams, experience their enthusiasm.

My Top tip

One of the first things I tell my students taking the Ielts academic is to get hold of the Academic Word List (AWL). Why? Well, for many reasons.

  • The words (and derivatives) in this list are the words that are most frequently found in academic texts, so knowing what they mean is a good starting preparation point for all the components of the tests. The reading texts in the Ielts academic for example, are quite dense, so knowing some ‘popular’ academic words will help them at least with some of their unknown words.
  • Using some words from the AWL in their writing is another good idea. The vocabulary in their essays becomes richer which gives them more points. They can also use more complex structures whilst using the derivatives on the list.
  • Lots of words are synonymous, so they have the opportunity to avoid repetitions as well.
  • It covers words from different disciplines and does not focus on technical terms, so it is useful for ALL learners.

My go to  resource for the AWL

The website I use the most is Uefap (

My learners can find loads of reading, listening and vocabulary tasks to work on during their free time and it is great for self-study because they have access to the answers online. It is a great website and my students can get a lot out of it.

Another advantage of the AWL is that I actually also prepare my learners for their uni studies, so it is actually a win-win situation.

Well, since they are preparing for university studies and they will need to know what these words mean and how to use them, I am kinda preparing them for their uni studies as well, so it actually a win-win.


My name is Joanna Malefaki and I live in Crete, Greece. I spent my childhood in Sydney and came to Greece when I was in my teens. I studied the English language at the University of Athens and hold a M.Ed in Tesol. I have almost finished the Cambridge Delta as well. Apart from teaching, my other passion is blogging which I really enjoy : ). If you want to read some of my posts, you can find them here (

Thanks for hosting my post Vicky!!!