Benito Vacio

Making students love English

Some activities that I guarantee keep students interested and wanting more!


Friends, once again, you and I will have a two-month break after a real tough semester. Some of us will enjoy it with sufficient money in our pockets (for those who have 12-month contracts) but some of us will spend it penniless (those who work with an agency) or at least receive ¼ of their salary (those working with the Nonthaburi English Teachers' Project,).

Suffice it to say, let having money not be a hindrance in earning new tricks to teach our students. 

Have you ever encountered students rushing to your English room every time their class study period comes? What makes them hurry so early to your room and feel very much reluctant to leave when you tell them the class is over?

During the remaining months of the 2nd term this 2015, my Kindergarten 2 to Grade 6 students were so enthusiastic to come early to my English room. In their eagerness, they would suggest activities they did on the previous days. The interesting thing too was that they were hesitant to leave the classroom even if time was over.

Well, I knew for sure they did not hurry to see me nor wanted to stay longer because of me but because they were so excited to do the activities, a reflection of their growing interest in the subject. So, what activities did I do lately to make my students love coming to my room and enjoyed learning English?

1. Purposive Copying - Instead of letting my students copy notes the usual way - like plain copying after listening, speaking, and reading activities, I let them copy the teaching material in form of an assessment. I read at random the sentences to determine if they listened well, read well, and could spell correctly the vocabulary words studied. Instead of checking their work after all the sentences have been dictated, I checked each sentence right away.

2. Giving Motivation - During competitions, instead of merely assigning one, two, five, or ten points I give them a hundred, a thousand, and a million points when their group answer correctly depending on the difficulty of the question. Other than this, I they present their answers in a very creative way using any material found in the classroom - dictionaries ( I have 15 small and 15 big English-Thai dictionaries), books, notebooks, folders, visuals, pens, papers etc. for additional points depending on its creativity. One neat presentation a group did was they built a house using my visual aids and inside was their answer with a cover. Then they piled dictionaries that when pushed at the end, the dictionaries would fall and eureka the answer would show.

3. Saying Goodbye in a Song - The one I use is "Goodbye, goodbye see you again..." from Dream English" in You Tube. This song suggests enjoyment of the activities they did. If they sing this regularly, this will be recorded in their subconscious mind that they are enjoying their class every day.

4. Making them Feel Good - Reinforce enjoyment of their English class by giving them the chance to express their feelings of enjoyment - if they like the lesson, if they like to do the activities again, if they learn something , etc. This will enable students to practice English in expressing what they feel.

5. Providing Varied Activities - As students undertake varied activities, boredom doesn't have a place and without a doubt, they enjoy very much the lesson not knowing they are already learning.

6. Doing Dictionary Lesson a Day - Even with Kinder students, they can have activities like finding the Guide letters, a review and mastery of their ABC. For a start, Grade 1 students can be helped by giving the page where the word is located to make word search less difficult. Older children can find the meaning of English words in Thai. Of course, with bigger kids, SE-ED's English-Thai dictionary is good to use.

7. Healthy Competitions - Make group contests an integral part of your activities. After all, group competition makes students alert and alive. Just change your grouping each day by playing "Paper Stone and Paper" and at the same time grouping them with the help of questions the previous day. Be sure too that each group is composed of students with various abilities so that everybody will experience victory and defeat. Anyway, the important thing here is that they learn while playing.

8. Spicing UP Activities - The lesson can be made interesting by spicing up your activities with the help of games, songs, chants, puzzles, riddles, hands on work, etc. and I tell you, your English class will no longer be boring.

9. Introducing Novel Activities - Frequently introduce new activities for your class enjoyment. Keep on doing this until you notice they don't feel like doing it anymore. Once in a while reintroduce your most enjoying games learned from English Camps of other schools and games your students love.

Yes, motivating students, introducing new things, spicing up activities, doing competitions, varying activities, making them feel good, making copying meaningful, and even using dictionaries will make your students love English. As one student of mine said, "Teacher, I very much enjoy today." I have successfully made my English room a good resource for learning English, a place for fun, where boredom has no place.




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