Here’s a video from Cambridge University Press about ways to get students to stick to English in class:
A great way to push students to do more outside class.
In my blog post Experimenting with English: scaffolding learner autonomy, I discussed how I approached helping my learners to use English outside the classroom, drawing on learner autonomy theory and methodology (e.g. Benson, 2011; Oxford, 2003; Smith 2003). Central to that project, alongside the very important element of discussion, was a handout I created for my learners.
Here is a screenshot of a sample page, taken from the listening section:
As you can see, the handout consists of a series of activities for learners to try, with space for them to record when they tried it and what they thought of it. The handout is divided up by skill (reading, listening, speaking, writing). What you can’t see here is that in each subdivision, as well as the activities I’ve added, there is space for the learners…
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A great tool which immediately transcribes words or sentences into the phonetic alphabet. Great to share with students or use in class for those problematic words.
Here are some great class “hooks” from English Central:
There’s also a great piece on 50 pieces of best practice for teachers:
Another great mind-mapping fluency activity from Olya at ELT Stories.
Just a short addition to the previous post in which I described how my B1-C1 students work on fluency by mining texts for related expressions, organizing them into mind maps and retelling the texts several times to different classmates.
I use a very similar procedure with my group of pre-intermediate 7 graders to help them remember functional expressions used in social encounters (and generally in ‘Conversation Strategies’/’Everyday English’ sections of coursebooks).
The general lesson plan is
- [gist] Students listen to a dialogue from the coursebook and answer gist questions
- [analysis] The teacher helps them to analyze what kind of expressions are present in the dialogue and sketches a mind map on the board; the students copy the mind map and use the transcript to find expressions in the dialogue to add to the mind map.
Usually I try to set up the gist questions so as to guide the…
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Fascinating podcasts on a wide range of topics:
A great activity for developing fluency.
Another one in a series of fluency-related posts – more links here: contents.
One of the most widely known classroom activities that target fluency is Paul Nation’s 4-3-2 technique: students tell the same story (or do the same task) under progressively stricter time constraints. The idea is that students are pushed to perform faster and are forced to restructure the ‘routines’ they use, and so the ‘formulation’ phase of speech production speeds up.
With my B1-C2 level students I use a slightly more complex procedure. Students find interesting articles online in order to share them in class, but instead of just reading and retelling them them to their classmates using more or less what linguistic resources they currently have, they actively mine text for collocations. This tweak to the activity seems to tie in nicely with a lot of insight into fluency described in the previous post. The full version involves some…
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Check out Duncan Elder’s great ESL blog:
Loads of great lesson plans for a range of levels.
Great communicative introduction to defining relative clauses.
This is a communicative, personalised activity for introducing defining relative clauses.
Ask your students to write the numbers 1-8 on their paper. Next to no. 1 tell them to write down a place where they like to eat. They should write the name only. You are going to read out 7 similar categories and they should similarly write down just the answer. Here’s the (suggested) list in full:
- a place where you like to eat
- someone who annoys you
- a time when you were surprised
- an activity which you hate doing
- someone whom you love
- a reason why you got up this morning
- something that you can do really well
- a place in which you feel relaxed
Now you can ask the students to look at the first one and say what you said to make them write it down. Hopefully they’ll come up with…
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Here are some great warmers/ice breakers from Adam Simpson: