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How to Always Have the Best TEFL Activities
Don’t bore your students to tears.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut using the same activities every lesson. The activities you’re using are familiar to you (you know that they work) and familiar to the students (less explaining to do).
However, you’re bored, the students are bored, but you’re too busy to create or find new activities.
What can you do?
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You can use my ESL Activities Grid. Which looks like this:
Across the top of the grid are skills that you’d typically want your learners to practice. Down the side are the student interaction patterns — working by themselves, in pairs, etc.
Each number in the grid represents an activity that practices that particular combination of skill and student interaction pattern. For example, activity one will have the students practice listening by themselves.
Now it’s time to fill in the gaps! Use the grid above to help fill in the table below. Grab a few colleagues who are moaning that they never have enough activities. If you can, a workshop is ideal for this.
Ask pairs or small groups of teachers to brainstorm and fill the grids. There are only two rules:
Every activity has to be adaptable (i.e. it doesn’t just work for a single grammar point or lexical set)
Every activity has to be fun, functional, but ideally both.
Some activities will overlap, and that’s fine—no need to be super strict or quibble over categories. If an activity has both speaking and listening in equal amounts, you can put it in either.
One side note: the difference between a whole class activity and an individual activity is sometimes confusing. For a whole class activity, all students must be focused together (even if it’s listening to one student). For ‘individual’ activities, every student is working by themselves at the same time.
See you again in two weeks.
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