Changing to a more student-centred approach and away from the teacher lecturing with the textbook always open gives students more confidence to express themselves. It is motivating and helps students to develop their thinking skills too.
With a big class try ‘circle talk’ to get lots of practice in a short time. Students form two big circles, an inner and outer circle. Partners face each other for a quick speaking activity, then the teacher calls ‘move’. The inner circle moves round and stops again and everyone faces a new partner. This can be used for many kinds of oral practice.
There are many interesting ways to introduce a text or story. Gulsah gets her students to plan and design a model of an ideal country using paper and cardboard before she introduces them to the next book, Animal Farm.
- With younger students, some role-playing will also help to bring the characters in a story to life.
- If we accept that classes need to be a mixture of noisy and quieter activities there is a balance that will not upset other teachers too much.
- When we want to call a big class to order, don’t shout. If we go quiet that makes them go quiet.
- When it’s hot or your students are tired, take them outside and you can even practise grammar with a game like ‘Line Jump’.
The aim of this series is to discuss ideas so we can be more effective in the classroom. A big part of that is sharing ‘good practice’ so keep up the conversation with your colleagues!
And three last tips:
Sometimes I might not have enough resources, but I try my best to come up with either making some copies at a neighbouring school or somewhere in public libraries and using newspapers . . . I can sometimes bring in a radio – my own radio - to work at school, so I can make my class live.
Sebby (Rural school in Namibia)
“Lively classes reflect lively teachers” - if teacher is energetic and lively the classes will be energetic and lively. If the teacher is passive the class will be passive.
We as teachers have a great task ahead of us. It’s not about complaining or moaning about the lack of resources that we have, it’s always about making the best we can with what we have around. If we take that attitude, we can achieve great things.