Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How to Get Your EFL Learners to LOVE English Class

How Do Your EFL Learners Feel?
How do your English as a foreign language learners feel about coming to English class? Do they look forward to it because they know, “We’re going to do all kinds of interesting things in English class” or do they arrive late, and then want to leave English classes early?
You can snap them out of their “dread” of foreign language learning with a few simple adjustments to your English or other foreign language classes.

Here are five easily-implemented suggestions to approach doing so.

Use Drama
In any of its many forms, drama can enrich and enliven an English as a foreign language class like almost nothing else. There are a generous number of choices available to accomplish this from skits demonstrating monologues and soliloquy to pair dialogues and beyond. The dramatic forms do not have to be elaborate or lengthy to serve multiple purposes.

Incorporate the Use of Music and Songs
Always a favorite with my learners, using music in a broad spectrum of ways in the English language learning classroom is never a wasted effort. Music, in fact, is highly effective in stimulation of learning and intelligence in several proven ways. You can use music in the background, before a shift in lesson stages, to “time” exercises and activities, among a score of others. Don’t forget to include at least two or three popular songs during the course of a semester with you EFL groups as well.

Play Games
If you’re waiting for your learners to say, “We don’t want to play a game in English class, teacher” you’re in for a very long wait. Language learners of all levels, ages and ability just love to play games. What kinds of games? You name it. From the simplest form of TIC-TAC-TOE to a vast array of puzzles, vocabulary and TPR dynamic activities, your EFL learners will likely respond very well to strategically-placed games during the course of class sessions.

Show Videos and Movie Clips
Now if your English language learners are anything at all like mine, they have quite a visual type of learning style. Great! Because this means that you can use videos and short clips from popular movies to illustrate language, vocabulary and grammar in context. This is not only “painless” for the language learners, but they actually encourage and receive “lessons” from watching a video or movie clip better than a straight forward lecture. There are numerous films and film clusters that you’ll find useful no matter where you teach.

Tell a Story
To garner the rapt attention of virtually any group of English language learners, try telling them a good story. What? You say you don’t know or have any good stories? Are you kidding me? They’re all around you in the form of fables, fairy tales, literature and even the news. Try twisting a commonly-know tale with a different surprise ending. Let your learners shift and shape a familiar fable or folk tale. Use stories to illustrate grammar and vocabulary in context. The possibilities are limited only by the limits of your (and the EFL or other foreign language learners) imagination.

Snap Them Out of Their “Dread”
Snap your EFL learners out of their “dread” of foreign language learning by trying out some of these suggested activities. Include two or three in your English classes during the course of a semester, period or school year and watch as their interest and participation start to mount steadily. Soon your EFL learners will be saying, “We’re doing all kinds of interesting things in English class”. They’ll start arriving in classes early and you’ll have to boot them out the door at the end of classes. Now won’t that be a pleasant change?

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" or "7 Techniques to Motivate Your English Language Learners and Make Your Classes More Dynamic" by requesting the title you want at: lynchlarrym@gmail.com

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