Published 15th February 2018
Cast your mind back to when you were at school. Which classes do you remember? Probably a few classes which were interesting and some that were mind-numbingly boring. Hopefully you also had a few classes that were totally off-the-wall and awesome. Now obviously we don’t want our classes to fall into the boring category, which means that we want our classes to fall into the totally awesome category – because who wants to be forgotten?
Let’s focus on those classes. Do you remember what made them so awesome? Chances are it wasn’t the subject but more about the teacher and what you did during your lessons that made them so memorable. Why not replicate that and ensure your classes are always remembered as being awesome?
You might have heard this before but have you actually thought about how you can do this? Sure you can use restaurant menus or city maps or newspapers, but let’s get a little more creative. YouTube is an endless source of video material – movie trailers or movie clips are all guaranteed to create some excitement in the classroom because they are authentic, relevant and contemporary. TED Talks are also amazing to use because you are sure to find one on any topic and they are usually short and sweet. Finally, think about using songs in your lessons. You don’t need to use them as the basis for listening exercises but you can use them to introduce a topic or start a discussion.
Leave the classroom
If you are allowed to (check with your Director of Studies or Head Teacher) take your students out of the classroom every once in a while. There’s no reason why they can’t learn English outside the classroom and there are so many opportunities for real-world communication. If you are living in an English-speaking environment you can go literally anywhere and mould it into a lesson. If, on the other hand, you are living in a non-English speaking environment you may need to think a bit harder about how it will tie into your lesson. Either way, your students will never complain about going on an excursion and they will be motivated to use their English.
Our students are guaranteed to love games. This is not a secret and there are loads of games which EFL teachers use in the classroom to make their lessons more enjoyable. Why not ditch the usual games we tend to play regularly, and instead play games our students would usually anyway. If you make sure you incorporate a language element into the game and make sure English is spoken while it is being played, games can be a fun way to practise English in an alternative way. Examples of games are Scrabble, Balderdash and Taboo.
Being creative in the classroom doesn’t mean you have to use scissors and glue. When you plan your lesson, think outside the box in terms of what materials you can use and what activities you can do to achieve your linguistic aims. Then think about how you can take your lesson from average to totally awesome.