by Alistair Dickinson
2.A few activities
I'm not suggesting
that we don't prepare lessons. The more experience teachers
get the more they find to exploit & bring into their lessons.
The activities below do just that & hopefully they give the
lesser experienced teacher a few more leads. They don't necessarily
cut down on preparation time - it's just not necessary to
constantly photocopy materials to take in when you can easily
exploit what is around you.
Using the stds
'Learner-Based Teaching' by Campbell et al (OUP) is an
excellent activity book that draws on the knowledge & experience
that students bring to the classroom.
- stds work individually or in pairs on problem areas in class
with grammar books, dictionaries, coursebook etc or in the
Speaking & Listening:
Discuss their jobs, families, experiences, holidays, weekend,
Talk about themselves
- 3 lies & others must try & guess the lies.
Bring in a personal
possession to talk about.
Write their own
progress tests for each other - snail race. Prepare mini-talks
for each other.
& then act them out from situation/cues given by you.
Chain stories -
you start the story, std A continues, you provide a linker
(and, but, however) & then std B continues and so on around
Story telling -
everyone knows a fairy story, maybe a horror story, an embarrassing
experience, a joke - listening for pleasure.
- tch tells class the situation, one that involves a number
of people i.e. the whole class, e.g. a parents association
meeting & problems at the school - when you stop talking they
get on with the meeting.
before using a text e.g. use pics & headlines, use what they
know about the subject, use the first lines/paragraph & predict
what comes next.
& coolers e.g Persuasion - stds persuade each other that
their fav. colour, animal, season etc is better than their
Trust exercises, voice , mime and roleplay activities -build
up a stock of them for use whenever you feel necessary.
Get them to bring in an article in English they think others
might be interested in.
Get a class novel
going - weekly discussion of thoughts on the novel and sorting
the problems out.
for all kids of text.
Dictate own texts
to each other.
story - all start a story then pass it to std on their right
and then continue the story they receive and so on.
of written work.
to ask each other/another class/teachers in the school.
questions for text for each other.
Brainstorm lexical areas.
Give word rose
& stds make up a story.
Stds draw lexical
(try & get a class set for your room).
Stds bring 3 new
words to class (as homework) & explain them to the others.
Test each other
on last week's vocab.
Error analysis - work on their problem areas.
Record a discussion
or roleplay and work on part of it with the class. Research
an area & then present it to the class.
Parts of the body & clothes.
Clothes - Look
at each other for a minute & then back to back describe in
detail what each has been wearing or change something about
appearance and other guesses what it is eg. She's taken of
f her belt.
Things in their
bags/pockets/handbags - get a collection of things from the
stds & they then become the things on a dead person found
in the Retiro in mysterious circumstances. The stds then make
suppositions 'He could've been .... because there's a ' etc.
Stds bring in a
personal possession that means a lot to them & discuss it.
Disclose about yourself - you can't ask them to if you
aren't really willing to do the same yourself. Tell them about
your family, city, holiday, experiences etc just as you would
do with a friend. As visual aid.
Mini-talks on homeland
- the town/city you're from - the educational, judicial systems
of your country.
Question time -
the expert answers - could be about anything looked at during
the last fortnight's classes.
Using the classroom
Realia in the room - I-Spy, teach vocab.
Hide object & stds
ask 20 questions to discover where it is
in the room & stds have to discover what's been changed.
The view from the
window for descriptions, imagine conversations of those in
the street, construct life history for passers-by.
of object in the room.
between two objects in the room.
Discuss how design
room differently. Room becomes flat for estate agent & prospective
buyer roleplay or any other place in a roleplay.
Tell story including
5 objects in the room.
Use posters on
Try and get a world
map or a map of your home country on the wall - describing
holiday routes, where used to live, where like to live, for
current affairs discussions, for target language culture mini-talks,
to discuss where to write holiday postcards from etc.A very
Use the phonemic
Dictate words/sentences by tapping them out, stds tap out
words, instant correction, minimal pair work - choose one
& stds brainstorm list of words with those sounds & then they
put them into a story, work on voiced & unvoiced sounds &
then /t/ /d/ /id/ distinction etc. More
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