Transform Your ESL Classroom with the Station-Rotation Model


Working with large classes, especially of kids, ESL teachers face a lot of challenges in keeping everyone engaged throughout the lesson and providing attention and feedback to each student. Often it seems impossible.

So, why not rethink your approach and diversify your curriculum? 🤔 There are plenty of ways to do that, such as using the “Flipped Classroom” method, exploring “Project-Based Learning”, applying the “Station-Rotation” model, and so on. In this article, we would like to focus on using the Station Rotation model in ESL classrooms and offer some station rotation ideas.

What is Station Rotation?

It’s a teaching model that involves dividing a class into smaller groups, which rotate between different stations. Stations are areas or setups within a classroom where different learning activities take place. Each station is designed to focus on a specific topic (e.g. future predictions) or skill (e.g. reading).

This model is also perfect for implementing blended learning, which combines traditional, in-person teaching methods with online digital media and activities. At least one of the stations usually includes using online sources (completing quizzes, playing online games, watching a video). The model can also be easily applied in online lessons making them even more efficient. In this virtual setting, the ‘stations’ can be represented by separate online rooms.

What Are the Benefits for Both the Teacher and the Students?

🧑‍🏫 It allows the teacher to:

  • manage large classrooms more effectively;
  • assess individual student performance and progress;
  • provide personal feedback to each student;
  • work on different skills (like reading, listening, speaking) at the same time;
  • keep the lesson dynamic and interesting.

🧑‍🎓 If gives the students the benefits of:

  • getting more individualized attention from the teacher;
  • working on social skills;
  • learning how to manage their time on their own as each station is limited usually by 15 min;
  • enhancing their digital literacy as some stations require completing tasks on online ESL platforms;
  • feeling less anxious and shy than in a large group therefore participating more actively.

Implementing Station Rotation in Your Classroom

Let’s explore the structure of a typical ESL lesson based on the station rotation model and examine some examples of learning stations in the classroom.

Giving Instructions

The most important part is giving your students instructions and making sure they understand what they are expected to do. It’s highly recommended to prepare clear instructions and provide either cards with the scheme of the stations or a map on the board. If you are looking for a station rotation template, you can download it here:

Kinds of Stations and How to Set Them Up

There are usually 4-5 stations for a lesson, 10-15 minutes long each.

They might include:

  • A station in which the students work together in a group (working on a project, or brainstorming);
  • A station for individual work (for example, a writing or reading task);
  • A technology station with interactive learning using computers or tablets, often with educational software.

The division can also be based on language skill practice, for example:

  • Reading
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

It’s important to note that each station should be independent of the others, as it can be the first one for some groups and the last one for the others.

To quickly create materials for your station rotation lessons, you can use AI tools like Twee, which offers a variety of tools to create exercises suitable for any language skill and proficiency level. For example, you can generate a text from scratch, and then easily create several reading comprehension exercises based on this text. 

Wrapping Up

After rotations, the class can regroup for a discussion. This can include sharing what they learned, asking the teacher any questions, doing a quick test, getting feedback from the teacher, or connecting the activities to the lesson objectives.

Download our free station rotation lesson plan to explore specific examples of station rotation lessons here:

Sign up at to create your own lesson plan based on this model: