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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ESL Teacher Blog: Wake Up, Class!

Have you noticed that yawning student in your class? ...Don’t take it personally, sometimes it’s okay to get lost in the intricate details of the English language grammar and vocabulary.

How can you shake everyone's drowsiness off? ...Let your students ask you some personal questions. Their curiosity will certainly prevail over their sleepiness and boredom. Set your limitations, though - for example, no questions about age, income or anything else you don’t want to be asked about. Encourage questions about your hobbies, interests and experiences.

It’s better to link this activity to the topic you’re currently teaching. Let everyone think of a question that should be written down on a piece of paper. Collect their folded questions in a hat, cup or any other container. Randomly pull out a question, read it and answer, encouraging more questions as you go. This makes a great listening activity, introduces vocabulary and usually brings in a lot of cultural information. Everyone wants to know what part of the city their teacher lives in, where s/he shops, what his/her next vacation will be, how s/he became an English teacher and what movies/books s/he reads!

If you’re teaching grammar, their questions should be in a particular tense or structure:

Do you sometimes use chopsticks?/Did you use chopsticks at our potluck in December?/Have you ever used chopsticks? Have you been using the chopsticks I gave you as a present for Christmas?/Will you use chopsticks next time you go to an Asian restaurant?

You’ll definitely feel a boost of energy kicking in and see the sleepiest of your students wide-awake!

POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:08 PM
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