- Keep them active. Kids need to move.
- Be friendly and patient. Everyone learns at their own pace.
- Children learn by hearing, seeing and doing.
- Avoid translating whenever possible. Use props, pictures or gestures instead. The disadvantages of translation can fill another blog post.
- Make it fun. They more they enjoy English, the more they'll learn now and in the future.
יום ראשון, 26 בנובמבר 2017
יום ראשון, 10 בספטמבר 2017
יום רביעי, 30 באוגוסט 2017
יום שלישי, 11 ביולי 2017
Last week I attended the ETAI (English Teachers' Association of Israel) National Conference. In addition to the wide variety of lectures and workshops, we were given a chance to ask a panel, student-style, questions beginning with "Why bother". Most of us added "when..." such as "Why bother coming to a conference when we can meet online?" (short answer - the importance of face to face contact). Sometimes the most logical answer was "Don't bother", but one question really bothered me and I wish I had been able to answer -
"Why bother having an English Day when my colleagues don't cooperate?"
Honestly, I barely see a connection between the two clauses (a word I picked up substituting in formal English classes). We don't have English Days for our colleagues, we have them for our students. English Day is a chance for students to have a positive experience in English, and no matter what activities you choose they probably will learn something. It's a way to show them English as a spoken language and culture in a relaxed atmosphere. Whether they perform on stage, make crafts or play games, they will have achievements to remember that aren't graded.
It's unfortunate that there are teachers who aren't willing to put in the extra effort to do something special for their students, but don't let that stop you from doing your best.
Why bother teaching at all? Why bother preparing interesting activities, paying extra attention to students who are struggling as well as those who want to be challenged more, and making sure that everyone understands before you continue? If you do this to impress your colleagues, you will probably be disappointed by their reactions. But if you do everything you can to help your students, in the long run your efforts will pay off and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference.
And when your colleagues see this, they may decide in the future to join you.
יום רביעי, 8 בפברואר 2017
- Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Many students are afraid to speak or even write because they may make a mistake. Before these students can learn anything we must create a safe atmosphere where mistakes are an acceptable and necessary part of learning. If the President of the United States can't spell but isn't afraid to send out messages that will be seen by the whole world, no one should be afraid to make mistakes in our classrooms. See what I wrote about this in my previous post What if I make a mistake?
- Pretend the mistakes are intentional. Years ago, a teacher I was working with showed me a test she was about to give to her class. She suddenly realized that there were spelling errors in the text (the test had been prepared by another teacher) and she wasn't sure what to do. I suggested that she use them. Tell the class that there are some mistakes in the text, and that they will receive a bonus for each one they find. Double bonus if they know the correct spelling.
- Find different options. When Trump said that Ted Cruz is a chocker, did he mean joker, choker, shocker or something else? Honer is probably honor, but what else could it be?
- Come up with some definitions for Trump's new words. For example: unpresidented - never been done by a president, Bobby Night - a night when everyone dresses up as Bobby.
- Have a debate. How important is spelling? Should spelling be a necessary qualification for public office? Has social media made spelling errors more acceptable?
יום שני, 30 בינואר 2017
- Songs - Teach a new song or sing familiar songs. Choose them according to the theme and level of the students. You could have each group learn a different song and perform them all at the end of the day.
- Sports - Have at least one station of active games so that children have a chance to release energy. These might be kangaroo and horse races if your theme is animals, games from different countries if your theme is around the world, or throwing a ball or ring at targets marked with letters or words.
- Group games such as charades, hangman, hot potato or a treasure hunt.
- Crafts - It's nice if children can bring something home. The craft doesn't need to be related to English, just make sure all the instructions are in English. If you also demonstrate while you speak there's no need to translate.
- Food - Find some simple recipes related to your theme. If cooking isn't practical there are plenty of other options. Get information about students' allergies ahead of time and have alternatives ready. Like crafts, as long as the recipe and instructions are in English they're learning English.
- Stories - Either read a book or tell a story with pictures and props.
- Printable games - Make sure they're fun, challenging and different from worksheets you would use in a regular lesson. If some stations are led by teachers who aren't comfortable speaking English this is a good option.
- Workshops for students - Not sure how to lead some of these activities? Let me do it for you.
- Teacher workshop - I'll help you plan the day, prepare the materials and train the staff.
- CDs - A great resource for songs, written specifically for EFL students.
- Making English Fun - Over 30 games and ideas to activate students.
- English is Fun on the Stage - short scripts for young children. I can also write a script for you.
- Custom packages - Contact me directly and we'll design a package to fit your needs.