Every week, I write something that makes me reflect about teaching and learning. I teach Young Learners from an English Institution that allows me to develop materials and activities out of the coursebook. So, today I will share with you two activities that helped me so much with two different groups of students.
The first group was teenagers, full of energy and connect to websites. And our lesson was talking about ” Surprise Party”. First of all, I put it on the board the word “Party” and we started a brainstorm using questions: what kind of party do you like?, what do you usually eat or drink in a party? and on. After the brainstorm, we had to use the new vocabulary, it could be in an oral or writing activity, but where and How to work with them!
Thus, I suggested them to create an imaginary event for our imaginary party: where it woud be?, who would be invited to come to the party? and more ideas were created in a group with 12 teenagers. So, The main idea of this activity was to engage the students to use the new vocabulary by facebook platform.
As part of my research about language acquisition, what I could evaluate is that the coursebook just guided my lesson plan, but it was not the essential part of my teaching. The ideas were builded within the knowledge about the meaning of the word PARTY, which was developed with the group, the teacher (in this case was me) was just a mediator in this activity.
Most of us teacher are afraid to leave aside the book, because of the Institution rules and parents complaints (English books in Brazil are too expensive, so that the Parents want the whole book done!).
Not only teachers need to be aware that our Young Learners are more independent than years ago, but also the teachers need to make them think that learning a new langague is funny and interesting.
It was almost impossible 10 years ago in a classroom the use of cellphone and PC in some courses or school in Brazil, but today every single kid has a smartphone and tablet. So, we can not close our eyes for that: tecnology is our new tool to learn a language.
However, we are teaching teenagers and they have already known how to use Facebook tools and others, we have to explain them, the activity was created only for their classmates, it is not allowed others students to enroll and they accepted the activity rule.
Here is the facebook page that my group of teenagers created to learn about “Surprise Party“:
The second activity was the Helping Class. As the same idea of Facebook platform in the previous activity, we created a Group called “English Now 3”. The main idea of this group was to help students from all level 3 (basic level) to share their doubts, mistakes and difficulties in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. It is a small gruop, with 10 teenagers that are sharing their ideas about learning and also have the opportunity to interact with different girls and boys from school. The teacher is there to help them out and share hints for their tasks! Contents that are not related with the group is deleted.
Here is the English Now 3 facebook group:
To Sum up, these ideas were developed within the intention of helping students to express and also learn english in a funny and also interactive way. We have to be open to this new digital era, Kids and Teenagers need to express what they are learning and social medias can contribute to develop in their learning process.
See you next time,
image source: Teaching English – British Council.