Published 13th January 2017

When you are training to be a TEFL teacher, worrying about your boardwork is probably the last thing on your mind. After all, surely your teaching manner, your language and your lesson plan are all more important?

Well, maybe, but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect your board. Having a neat, clear board can go a long way to ensuring your students are able to follow your lesson and keep track of the language they are learning. If the board is confused, it is highly likely that your students are confused too.

And in fact, having a coherent board is not hard, even though it does take some thought. If you follow these simple rules, you’ll soon find your boardwork looking neater and neater and your lesson may even seem clearer:

Plan ahead

Thinking about your boardwork should only take a couple minutes before your lesson. During your planning stage, make a note of what your board is going to look like. Allocate areas for new vocabulary, the grammar focus, pronunciation notes and other miscellaneous items. Having a clear idea in your mind of where you are going to keep note of everything means that in class you won’t have to think too hard about keeping it neat and tidy.

Be careful with colour

We don’t mean use any random colour to make your board look pretty. Use colour with a purpose. Write your vocabulary in a right-hand column in green (for example), pronunciation marks in red, notes in blue and your main board work in black.

Using colour strategically will help your students categorise what is going on on the board. Remember, they cannot see inside your head so while it might seem crystal-clear to you, it may be very confusing for someone else. Besides, when your students drift off in a daydream, the colour is helpful in showing them what they missed!

Use technology

If you have an interactive white board or a projector, use it. Writing up grammar explanations beforehand is a good way to make sure you have the explanation straight in your head. Then, when it is time to give the explanation to the students you won’t need to spend time writing it up on the board.

Instead you can project your Microsoft Word notes or your Powerpoint presentation. Typed up notes will always be neater than writing on a board plus you can save them for when you teach again.

Using the board may seem like a small aspect of your classroom management repertoire, but it is an important one. Having an organised board will help you develop your lesson logically and will help your students follow the progression of the lesson better.