Cultivate students' interest of studying English2015-11-27 10:53:41
Nowadays, traditional way in patterns teaching is not so satisfactory in middle school in China. The teaching patterns of passing on teachers' all knowledge to the students as empty vessels is restricting students' imagination and initiative in learning English students' performances in class showed that they were learning English mechanically and passively but not actively. Therefore teachers have to arouse the students' interest so that they may learn better. I believe that teen classes can also be fun and very rewarding for both the teacher and students. There are many ways to arouse the students' interest and help them to learn better:
Simple but interesting games
If we play a competitive game - in which all instructions, questions, and scoring are conducted in English, and if the game is interesting enough for students, then in no time the students will focus on the game and forget that they are doing a lesson. And, if we do this quite often, the students will gradually get used to doing things in English. After that, through different simple activities, we can gradually drive our students to unconsciously move towards simple dialogs or even simple group discussions, for example, starting from very simple data collecting, and aims at more difficult brainstorming in the future. At last, the students may hopefully be ready to be introduced to more serious group discussions, role plays, or even presentations. Of course it will take some time.
A little game called "Just one minute".
A very good way of showing them how much they are able to do in the language is a little game called "Just one minute". Have students work in pairs and give them a topic, (such as "Shopping", "Watching TV", "Mobile phones", "Walking through the desert", ...) and have student 1 speak about it for one minute. Stop the talk and give the next topic for student 2. This can be repeated for 4-5 times. Try not to interrupt students. The only person who is allowed to do so is the second partner of the pair if she/he doesn't understand. However, monitor your students - but again not too closely not to restrict their "feeling of freedom". Note down major mistakes and discuss them in class after finishing the activity.
The main aim of this activity is to overcome the fear of mistakes (which is a typical German problem). Students realize, "I can speak English on a lot of different topics and I'm understood!" We as teachers should try and create a learning environment encouraging fluency and - most importantly - a self-confident usage of the language. Therefore, we should interrupt our students' speech only if their mistakes really disturb communication.
Quick revision games /Category game
This activity can be used as a review. Students usually get very excited.
The teacher chooses a category (animals, colors, school objects, kitchen gadgets...) and each student has to say a word that belongs to that category.
Divide the class in two teams. Give each team a set of slips with five (or three or two, depending on their level) things they have to name.
Name five things that move
Name five drinks
Name five things you would be doing if you weren't here
Name five ways to get rich
Name five animals.
A member of the team reads the category of things they have to name and the whole team shouts the words.
While team A is doing this, team B have to remain in silence. Then it's team B's turn.
Time each team. The faster team is the winner.
It's a great game for revision and to get students tuned into the lesson topic. It may also be used to elicit from the student what they already know about a certain topic
I love telling and creating stories with students. Collaborative oral story-making can be very challenging and I find that students rarely create truly stirring tales when using prompt cards or going round the group getting contributions from each group member in turn. However, when used effectively, a piece of music can make all the difference, as described in the teacher resource book Spontaneous Speaking.
For me teacher modeling is a key element in a story-making activity. Students need to see how it is done before they take over the role of teller. Music is extremely effective, not only for creating mood but also for bridging gaps while the teller waits for inspiration or searches for the right word. The same guidelines apply as with visualisation and I nearly always use film scores.
Importance of personalization
Teenage students can be very curious and inquisitive. Given half the chance they want to know more about the teacher and the teacher's life outside the classroom. Personalization really helps to increase students' interest levels. Learning would be much more effective when the facilitator does not hide behind a fa?ade.
Using photos can really help to spark genuine interest and generate a lot of language. Topics that lend themselves to the use of photos are describing people, family, holidays or describing places. How much more interesting to describe a photo of the teacher's friend or sister than to describe a photo of a random unknown man in a book? How much more engaging to see holiday photos from the teacher's summer break rather than the typical desert island shots used in course books? Grammar lessons can also be supported with photos. To give a simple example, teaching 'used to' becomes much more memorable when sentences with a visual image can be formed. Eg. "my teacher used to have long hair and a moustache".
Students' lives as a useful resource in the classroom
Students can be given practice in forming questions by writing then asking questions to each other. It is usually a good idea for the teacher to give an example of an interesting question before the students start writing their questions.
For example, a question such as "Would you like to go for a ride?" is better than a question where the student probably already knows the answer (for example, "Do you speak Russian?"). After the teacher has helped the students to write their questions individually, the students can ask and answer the questions in small groups. This activity allows the students to decide what they are going to talk about instead of the teacher deciding. Furthermore, it is important to give them an opportunity to use English to say something interesting about themselves. For example, if the teacher has just presented the second conditional, a way to practice this structure would be to give the students a small piece of paper with sentence stems on them as follows:
"If I could be somewhere else just now, I would be............" and "If I could meet somebody famous,...................".
The students complete the sentences then fold the piece of paper and give it to the teacher. In turn, students are given a piece of paper then they read the sentences aloud. The students should then guess which of their classmates wrote the sentences.
Music - Acceptance
Teenagers love listening to music! Due to the fact that so much popular music is in English it can be a source for highly motivating activities. Most teachers have a variety of activities to use with songs. Lyrics can be easily found on the internet and there are many opportunities to exploit language in songs. Students themselves can be involved in creating activities to use with their favourite songs. Following I will suggest an activity concerning English. It is a fun activity which helps students listen for key words. It's particularly useful for encouraging students to recognize familiar words even in difficult texts. This activity works well with all kinds of songs, and can be used to introduce a song, or simply as an enjoyable warmer or cooler.
You will need to choose a song for your class and have copies of the lyrics. You also need to produce a set of cards per group of 4 / 5 students, so work out how many you need for your class. The sets of cards (each in an envelope) should consist of around 20 words, some taken from the song (words your students will recognise), whilst others are not from the song, but are similar in meaning / sound to the words from the song.
With each group around a table, I tell students that I'm going to give them some words from a song. They have a few minutes to lay out the cards and decide what they think the song is about. If students need help brainstorming, I ask a few questions;
'Do you think it's sad or happy?'
'Is it a love song?
''Why? Which words make you think that?'.
I then tell my students that in fact only some of these words are in the song, and that they'll listen to the song to find out which.
If they hear one of the words, they should grab that card. I clarify here that this is not team-work, but a competition. At the end of the song, they'll check their cards and get +1 point for correct cards and -1 point for wrong cards.
I play the song once for students to listen and 'grab'.
I then ask students how many cards they've got. I hand out the lyrics (or have one copy large enough for all to see) and ask students to find their words.
Each group announces the student with the highest number of points for the class to clap.
Following this activity, I can then go on to use the song for a variety of purposes, for example as a text for reading comprehension or language work, or for the class to sing together.
It seems clear that it is important to provide lessons which keep our teenage students interested. If the students are not interested in the material we are using, it is probable that both students and teacher will end up bored and frustrated. While many of us may be obliged to use certain course books and other material that may not always stimulate our students, it is important to adapt this material or supplement it with activities that bring the students to life and encourage them to express themselves. If the teacher shows that she is interested in her students' opinions and is prepared to adapt her lessons after listening to these opinions, this can have a very positive effect on the atmosphere in the classroom.