One of the ideas I talked about was a using a retrieval placemat that students find on their desks when they enter the class. The aim is to stimulate retrieval of content from the previous class. They should work in pairs to answer the various questions on the mat without looking at their notes. The idea is to push them to retrieve the information from their long-term memory.
I got the idea from Kate Jones’s wonderful book “Retrieval Practice”, which you can find by following this link. Most of her retrieval activities are aimed at teachers of other subjects such as history or politics, so I’ve tweaked her idea for the ESL classroom.
Simply print out the placemat in nice bright colours and put it on your students’ desks for when they arrive. Alternatively, you could just project it onto the board at the beginning of each class. Let me know how you get on!
As I mentioned during the talk, I feel like I’m only just beginning to explore the potential for applying habit formation techniques to the world of ELT and I’m keen to receive feedback or collaborate with likeminded people. So feel free to get in touch either through the comments or via Linkedin.
Come to Innovate ELT at Oxford House in Barcelona! It’s always one of the best ELT conferences because of the combination of inspiring talks, a beautiful setting and a commitment to fostering a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for networking.
I’ll be giving a talk on Saturday May 20th from 18:30-19:15 entitled “Atomic Classroom Habits”. The aim of the talk is to examine how we can apply theories of habit formation from James Clear’s bestselling book “Atomic Habits” to the ESL classroom.
There are loads of other great talks by a range of inspiring speakers such as Scott Thornbury, Teresa Bestwick, Geoff Jordan and many more!
Last week I had the pleasure of appearing on Sean Hutchman’s brilliant podcast No Word is an Island. The show is aimed at advanced English learners (and their teachers). We discussed James Clear’s brilliant book Atomic Habits and my experiences trying to put some of the techniques and strategies into practice. We also explored ways to apply some of Clear’s ideas to our classes and students to help them become more effective learners, as well as touching on many other interesting topics. Check out the episode and video below: