How to Keep English Fun By Diversifying Your Lessons
Learning another language can and should be fun. A primary focus as a teacher should be to create an engaging learning environment for students. One of the simplest ways to do this is by diversifying your lessons. Having a variety of teaching styles and activities is a productive way to ensure that you teach a combination of skills and touch on the interests of all students.
Monotony breeds boredom. Having different activities and assignments will keep students excited, creating an ideal learning environment that inspires learners to excel. A class that consistently has the same formula can become repetitive, and students may get bored. If everything is predictable, it’s easy to feel uninspired and detached. It’s important to note that diversifying lessons doesn’t come at the expense of keeping a routine, which may help learners feel comfortable. As a teacher, you can have a set structure to your classes while switching up your teaching style or activities. Additionally, not all students have the same learning style. Thus, being flexible with your lessons will allow different types of learners to benefit and flourish. It may also help students discover where their strengths and weaknesses lie within their language learning.
Ways to Diversify Your Lessons
Language has so many different aspects to it. Within the main components of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, there is vocabulary, grammar, syntax, spelling, and pronunciation. This may seem overwhelming to teach as it is nearly impossible to fit everything into one class period.
As a teacher, once you get into the flow of lesson planning, it can be straightforward and easy to follow the system you’ve created for yourself and daunting to introduce new things. However, diversifying doesn’t necessarily mean changing everything. It can be as simple as changing the teaching style that day from a lecture to group work or partner work to individual work. You can swap a reading assignment for writing or speaking one.
Engaging other senses such as smell and touch is another great way to involve learners. Have your students watch videos, listen to audio recordings, move their bodies while learning a song or dance, do a role-play, make a presentation, fill in a worksheet or write a report. Bring props that they must hold and touch or other visual references. Each class and every student will respond differently to activities, so it is important to try out different things to find which works best.
Diversifying your classes will help activate different skills and create a conducive environment for all different types of personalities and learners.
Don’t Forget About Culture!
Languages are gateways to culture. You can’t learn a language without picking up pieces of the culture, and you can’t fully understand a culture without learning at least some of the language. Within a culture, there is a lifestyle, food, etiquette, mannerisms, holidays, religion, and more. Anthropologist Edward Hall’s famous cultural iceberg visually depicts the vast amount of culture that lay submerged beneath the surface; perspectives, perceptions, and values that can’t be understood by merely looking in from the outside. When possible, add bits and pieces of culture that relate to your lesson to help your students discover more of this iceberg. For a language like English, take the time to familiarize yourself with the culture of more than one English-speaking country and create a more expansive and well-rounded cultural understanding for your class. Cultural activities are usually a successful method to grab students’ attention and can easily be tied in with English speaking or reading activities and introducing new vocabulary.
Make English Classes Fun!
If students are having fun in class, they are more likely to develop an interest in English. Having a variety of activities will not only help create a well-rounded understanding of the English language but will also allow each type of learner to find an aspect of the language that they like and lean into it. Plus, classes will be more fun on the teaching end as well! Don’t put it off any longer - break out of monotonous teaching and pump some diversity into your lessons!
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