Creative English Classes

“Something especially important to avoid is poor structure of interactions due to repetition of teacher-student patterns. It’s a monotone design where students open their books, the teacher gives instructions and the flow continues with questions about content, students raise hands and provide mechanical answers…”

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The aim of a creative English lesson is developing enough interest in participants as to generate a remarkable learning experience. This is only possible when its forming parts include variety in content and form.

Creativity in presenting the topic, in the statement of references, creativity that entails variety during introduction and that includes wide options of practices are key features in today’s classroom.

Something especially important to avoid is poor structure in interactions due to repetition of teacher-student patterns. It’s a monotone design where students open their books, the teacher gives instructions, and the flow continues with questions about content, students raise hands and provide mechanical answers.

Nope! This is exactly why people complain about the continuity of traditional models in schools. We can’t afford to lose interest in students’ minds when they think our classes are boring and unmotivating.

There’s nothing revolutionary in presenting a lesson with variety, it’s just an additional 15-minute supplement that our classes require, like the time you put into dressing up before leaving to work. It’s a necessary phase of our work journal.

The insertion of variety represents an important piece of this reflection and it includes: the layout to organize students, role plays for students to engage into, considering the different types of learning styles and including suitable material for each.

Not less important: incorporating collaborative work even in its simplest form like Think-Pair-Share exercises, asking questions that develop critical-thinking, using technology in different ways; and most of all, provoking varied types of language interactions: teacher-student, student-student, student-student-student… etc.

We can do it better, no matter if we must change old doings, wrong methods or lazy habits, it’s just a matter of decision. Let’s do it today and get classes way much interesting than ever. In the end, everybody will benefit from it.

Ugh! Homework.

ecr 2In the first place, homework is not! Some teachers like to give it a different name like Home-Play or Extended-Activities and I’m cool with that.. students must avoid the negative connotation of this necessary re-encounter with lessons they have previously practiced to ensure effective learning.

In reality, these learning tools designed to be made at home provide several benefits for the cognitive development due to several factors:

  • Students retake the ideas discussed at school and are now able to reflect on them at a more personal stage.
  • The effect of reproducing the learning experience in a different and comfortable environment contributes to endure retention.
  • Reviewing aspects of the lesson at students’ pace facilitates comprehension of key knowledge.
  • The creativeness process is strengthened since students are free to consult external sources encouraging critical thinking and decision making.

While homework represents a complementary stage of lessons, it should be carefully planned to ensure  continuity of previously covered topics. This planning involves sequential exercises to guarantee long-lasting learning using different teaching approaches.

One particular sequence is defined through the ECRIF framework, as it depicts five stages of language learning: Encounter, Clarify, Remember, Internalize and Fluently use. In short, homework assignments should contain exercises oriented to Remember and Internalize what has been already Encountered and Clarified.