Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do You or Your English Language Learners Believe in Ghosts?

It’s That Time Again

One object of the English language teacher should be to convert and present existing available materials in different ways as an aid for foreign language learners to assimilate and internalize themes using a variety of learning styles and multiple intelligences.

It’s the fall of the year. Now I don’t believe in ghosts, spooks, witches, black magic, goblins, monsters (except the two-legged kind) or any of that sort of thing, but the students’ thoughts tend towards that direction during this time of year, so I “take advantage” of it.


Try Out an Example or Two

Do You or Your English Language Learners Believe in Ghosts? Take an interesting season-related movie or video. Show it and prepare pre-viewing, while-viewing and post-viewing activities based on the video. Have a relevant discussion, composition or oral report as a product for each learner. “It’s difficult to read in English”, one EFL language learner relates, “but I understand better when we finish all the activities with the teacher”. One film I like for this is the Walt Disney animated version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” as detailed in the article, “The Headless Horseman Rides Again” (posted online).

Another expanded lesson series the learners also like is based on the “Goosebumps” readings series by R.L. Stine (Scholastic Press). Use one of the books (or even an individual chapter) to generate role plays, dialogues and vocabulary-based exercises so that learners interact to a much greater degree with the book or chapter material and themes. “Sometimes I wish for more pictures”, another English language learner comments, “so I was glad to see the art work that we created as homework”.

Additional Activities

Some easily-prepared additional activities and exercises which can be generated from such a text include:

Role plays
Vocabulary matching
Word search and crossword puzzles
True – false exercises
Error correction
A combination of any of the above-mentioned exercises and activities

There are many other interesting possibilities.

“Having different activities with the readings works better for me”, a learner with reading comprehension difficulties says.

Whether you believe in ghosts, spooks, monsters and such or not, many learners are superstitious based on cultural and regional or ethnic beliefs. Take advantage of this time of year to expand on that theme to generate greater depth in your English as a foreign language and EFL classroom reading comprehension activities. Try out the “Goosebumps”, “Fear Street” and other series by R.L. Stine or many additional fall holiday-themed books, videos and movies to help boost your learners’ motivation and language skills. The Headless Horseman rides again.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail: lynchlarrym@gmail.com

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