So here are six ways I think you could exploit this image with your classes. I’ve tried to come up with one idea for each level, or approximate level, of ability – there should be something for everyone! With all of these I’ve taken the approach of using the image as a springboard for language production – the image is the stimulus if you will, the prompt to try and help learners generate language. The point in all of these is that the language comes from the learners and they work with what they’ve got – it’s not about input, but output.
One of my first experiences as a teacher trainer was in 1990 when I did an in-house training workshop for my colleagues in an English academy in Madrid. The workshop was about using pictures in the classroom. I remember it because I’d been nervous beforehand and not really sure how my ideas would go down. But it was a success because then, as now, what most teachers wanted were some simple ideas that they could try out straight away. Pictures are a great resource for prompting speaking and writing and also for practising grammar and recycling vocabulary.
Disappointments and talking about unsuccessful attempts are topics which tend to be avoided in EFL classes, however, students definitely need this kind of language, expressions and vocabulary. A pint of humour from the sitcoms chosen add the element of fun so that the light, learning-promoting atmosphere of an English class can be there. Sitcoms are also a rich source of current colloquial expressions and slang, which should be noticed and highlighted every chance we can.
I find that using photos such as the one above provide great opportunities for conversation with any level of English student and I have used this activity with both groups and single students. Most English exams touch on the basic skills of English, such as description, instruction, narration, hypothesis and opinion. To help ‘train’ the students for this, a photograph is a great starting point. For this activity, I usually have a number of different pictures all of a similar theme handy for step two.
The students need to go through the following 4 steps:
The blog post below is a complete lesson plan based around the image 'Marry me'. It is designed to be used with teenage and adult learners who have a CEF level B1 and above.
Instructions for teachers:
Part 1: Introducing the topic and speaking practice
The Picture Word Inductive Model (PWIM) is my favorite, and central, instructional strategy for teaching Beginning English Language Learners.
A big thank you to everyone who wrote a post in April. If you missed any of these posts you can read them here
The topics for May are now available below:
I am blessed with a vast amount of autonomy in my work, working freelance or as self employed I can pick and choose what to do and when to do it, which helps to keep my work interesting and motivated to continue. I am motivated by the fact that the work I am doing has purpose, rather than merely being a ‘cog’ in a large company where day-to-day life can be extremely dull. However, there are occasions when my motivation just goes out of the window, and I am left in a slump despairing at the day ahead of me.
Following up on last month’s blog topic on motivating students, what do you do to stay motivated and avoid burnout as a teacher? What simple steps or strategies would you recommend to help teachers stay motivated?
I have been teaching English for more than 25 years and although there have been a few times when I felt exhausted and demotivated, I have always found a way to get my energy and motivation back. So here are a few suggestions that have worked out for me, in no particular order.
Do you teach young learners in an academy or in the public sector? If so, you almost certainly write reports and meet parents at teacher/parent evenings. What do you do to prepare for these? What do you say to parents whose kids are having difficulties with their learning? Do you prepare anything to give to parents about helping with their child’s learning? What is acceptable and not acceptable when speaking to parents?
How do you prepare for teacher/ parent evenings?