ESL Lessons in a Fun Way: ✅ The Secret Revealed
It is effortless to get into a rhythm of teaching a certain way and relying heavily on your resources at hand. As a relatively new teacher, I spend a lot of time with the help (mainly books) I am provided, and in lessons, I teach the content necessary to complete a given objective. I often rely on the readers for additional activities, transitions, and traditional book work. While the students never spend the entire class with their noses in the books, I felt that we were not having quite as much fun as we could. Studies began to feel a bit stale, and interest seemed to be diminishing. So, I decided to conduct a small experiment and discovered something extraordinary. There is hope for bringing the excitement back to the classroom.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Natalie W. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Perfect Activate Stage
I have a regular class with one student, and we had been in a good groove for a while. We would spend some time in the activation stage reviewing vocab and drawing, doing some work in the book, practicing reading aloud, and finishing the lesson with a game. After the first month and a half of similar studies, it was feeling relatively slow. The student began to refuse to do any work from the book and only wanted to play our end-of-the-class game. So I decided to make a game from each of the exercises in the book. We were drawing, acting, guessing, writing, and giggling all over the classroom. We only used the reader to look at a picture for one of our games. The time went by quickly, and the student asked to play our end-of-class game. I had to tell the student that, sadly, we did not have time. While the student was a bit upset about not playing the shark game, we were surprised that the class was finished.
As we cleaned up our supplies, the student turned to me and said, "we didn't even do our work!" This was the perfect response. I showed the student that they had learned and basically completed everything in the book, but only differently. We met the lesson's objectives and had lots of fun doing so by playing games and having fun. While the student was slightly upset that everything about the address had changed- ahem, shark game - we were both quite happy to have had such a fun time.
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Since this lesson, I have been more intentional about working outside of the books and trusting my creativity and intuition. I believe that the initial rut was created not by a lack of care or effort but by the simple challenge of being a new teacher. Sometimes it can be challenging to trust your ideas, but you don't know the outcome unless you try. In this case, I think it was a success, and I think this lesson will be a great benefit to my many classes in the future. It certainly takes some work to plan and be in a creative mindset, but it pays off when a lesson feels like you didn't even do your job!
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