Published 26th April 2019
There’s no denying that the classroom is changing, especially the English as a Foreign Language classroom. Gone are the days of the traditional teacher standing at the blackboard, explaining concepts at length to EFL students who listen politely and take down copious notes (or not!). This is most definitely a good thing, as it is fitting that our teaching methods and styles change with the times.
One big movement in the EFL field has been the move towards a more student-centred approach to teaching. Students are given more autonomy and responsibility in the learning process. This is accomplished by the teacher doing less and less, and the students being asked to do more.
An easy way to accomplish this is by allowing the students to be teachers. Of course we’re not suggesting your students take over your job so you can relax at the back of the classroom, but you can easily set up activities which involve your students teaching content you’ve already taught. In other words, they are not teaching new information, they are teaching for revision purposes.
Why EFL students should be teachers
Teaching requires a solid knowledge of the lesson material. In order to be able to teach a language point, the students will need to have a firm grasp of it themselves. This will mean reviewing the classroom material already covered in class and making sure they don’t have any questions.
How to let your EFL students be teachers
- Let them teach in small groups.
Teaching by yourself can be daunting. Teaching in a small group makes it more enjoyable for your students. Plus, they can make sure they are confident with the lesson material before teaching.
- Assign teaching points
Giving each group a teaching point will cut down on a lot of wasted time. It will ensure that each group is teaching something different but that there is a variety of lesson material.
- Make a time limit
Be clear on the timing for the lesson, be it 5 or 10 minutes. Students have a tendency to get carried away so it is necessary to give them an upper limit to avoid one group dominating the lesson.
- Allow ample preparation time
Make sure your students have enough time to prepare their lessons. You should be available should they have any questions or to give suggestions.
- Hype it up
Take control of the lessons by deciding which groups will teach when. Introduce each group with a certain degree of pomp and ceremony (drum rolls and whistles) to energise the students and give them confidence before they start.
- Give feedback
There is no need to give feedback on the execution of the lessons, but at the end of each lesson find out if there are any lingering questions on the content of the lesson.
Having the students as teachers in the English as a Foreign Language classroom is a great way to shake things up. If your students enjoy the process and you think it was successful, you can introduce it as a regular revision activity.