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Unconventional ESL Teaching Methods

Author: Laura Buckler
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Exploring 3 Unconventional ESL Teaching Methods

School Class

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/school-class-school-children-bali-401519/

Teachers encounter different types of students everyday. Each student has specific needs and learning styles that need to be met for them to be engaged in a specific lesson. As a challenge that modern-day educators face, adjusting to these needs can be very tricky. This especially holds true in the field of ESL, where plenty of focus and dedication from the student is needed.

However, it can be done. Teaching methods that break the mold may just be what your lesson needs to liven up and attract your student’s attention.

Here are a few unconventional ESL teaching tips that will engage your student and boost your teaching efficiency:

 

Method 1: Tap into Peer-Review

Letting your students interact and teach each other won’t just widen their network and gain them new friends, it also retains lessons longer in their memory.

One of the best ways to know if someone really learned from a previous lesson is if they can explain or paraphrase it to someone else. Having students review their peers’ works lets you gauge if they’ve learned enough.

Sample Activity: One peer-based activity you can try in the classroom is through a writing assignment.

Have your students write down a short piece in English and ask them to exchange with their seatmate, or to the person on their left or right.

Let them review and return each other’s work. The objective of the activity is to have as many constructive comments as possible made by each student on their classmate’s work.

Alternatives: If you’re teaching an online student, you can still employ this method by using sites like Essays Scholaradvisor, which provide writing tools and prompts written by other learners.

Change it up by adding your own twist to the activity, as long as you remember to have peer engagement among students in your class, or with other learners located elsewhere.

Method 2: Play Games

When it comes to learning, treating the lesson like a chore will definitely lose people’s interest.

Instead of making it sound like a formal classroom setting, play a game with your students. Just make sure to streamline it into your chosen topic. Playing a relevant but engaging game will get people’s energies up, and make them appreciate the lessons better.

There are a number of resources for games on the internet, but you can also just conduct a game face-to-face if you’re with your students in person. In fact, it might be better this way since direct contact with the student is bound to engage them.

Whether you’re playing in a large group or in a more intimate setting, an enjoyable energizer before turning to the textbook lifts everyone’s moods.

You can start with a simple lesson and apply a related game.

Sample Activity: If your current lesson is on vocabulary, try charades or a guessing game with your students. Make them guess specific English words that will expand their vocabulary, or only have them ask questions in the language.

This creative activity will definitely help them associate specific words with the given context.

Method 3: Go Digital

Among these tips, this third one might be the most ‘mainstream’, but it still remains more of an alternative to plenty of teachers, rather than another tool to leverage.

Going digital, however, is highly useful for everyday use, especially when you’re not around to guide your student. Simply downloading language learning apps can already help make your teaching more enjoyable and efficient. Because they’re connected to the student’s smartphone, apps allow students to learn and practice the language wherever they are.

Sample Activity: ESL apps are recently gaining some popularity for learners on-the-go. Various features involve speaking aloud with a prompt, or filling in the blanks with the appropriate words to form coherent statements.

You can leverage these to your advantage as an ESL teacher by assigning or recommending some of the features available in the language app.

Alternatives: Aside from apps, the web presents itself with materials at your disposal. Present students with famous songs or soundtracks from the web with key vocabulary or statements they can unlock and use in the day-to-day.

Tap into this potential so you can better understand your students, and so they can also connect with you.

The Takeaway: Having Fun is the Most Effective Method

Giving enjoyable and engaging lessons might mean stepping away from the blackboard and being more hands-on with your students. Consider fun activities like games and other energizers that will lighten the mood right before class.

Also, let students interact with each other for them to pass on their own tips and tricks to classmates. Finally, utilize digital resources that will make learning so much easier and fun for everyone.

Incorporate these methods in your next lesson plan for a livelier classroom and happier students.


About the Author

Laura Buckler is freelance writer always trying to take an in-depth, hands-on approach in writing her articles. She also was a volunteer in India and taught children English there. You can follow her on Twitter.



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  • As a challenge that modern-day educators face, adjusting to the needs of every student can be very tricky.
  • Letting your students interact and teach each other won’t just widen their network and gain them new friends, it also retains lessons longer in their memory.
  • When it comes to learning, treating the lesson like a chore will definitely lose people’s interest.
  • Giving enjoyable and engaging lessons might mean stepping away from the blackboard and being more hands-on with your students.