Games for the language classroom: Who wants to be a millionaire

So, back to gaming here on the ‘Teach them English’ blog! Having summed up everything I want to say about the theory behind the use of games in my best-selling e-book ‘Using games in the Language Classroom (by which I mean I’m not going to go into great detail about the how and the why of using games in this post; please click on the link to download the book – it’s free!), I feel compelled to follow it up with a series of posts look at specific games. Consequently, I’m going to do just that over the course of a few blog posts during the course of the next couple of months (whilst also continuing my series of posts in which I re-imagine the classic grammar activities of the ELT world).

Let me continue this series with another old favorite of mine…

'Who wants to be a millionaire?' is a classic game format that works well in the language classroom.

‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ is a classic game format that works well in the language classroom.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Believe it or not, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ was a complete revelation when it first appeared on British TV. Never before on my island had a game show offered cash prizes of £1 million.

What really made the show so compelling was the slow pace of the Q and A delivery, which served to constantly ramp up the tension. As a result, the show became one of the most internationally popular television franchises of all time. Fortunately for us, this format is one that lends itself really well to the language classroom.

OK, I’m sure the first thing you’ll want to do s download the ‘Millionaire‘ template for the game. You can do that by clicking here. Now that’s out of the way, we can get down to business. As with my previous games post on the Blockbusters format, I’ve prepared a video which talks you through how to go about using the game.

In case you’re still confused and need a little bit more guidance, here are some directions on how to use this in class.

What do learners need to know?

This works really well as a grammar or vocabulary revision exercise, so learners should already be familiar with specific structures or vocabulary from the course book unit being taught, for instance.

What I often do is construct the questions from an end of unit quiz, play the game and then give the quiz as it appears in the course book.

What equipment do you need?

The ‘Millionaire’ template (which you have now downloaded) and an answer sheet for you to refer to (don’t forget this!).

Medium of delivery

I have projectors in my classes and so deliver this via PowerPoint, but you could also deliver it orally, if you think your learners are up to it. You could write questions and answers on the board, but this would be time consuming and might affect the pacing of the game.

How to play

  • The way I play it is to get the whole class playing as one big team.
  • One learner is nominated by the class to come and sit in the ‘hot seat’, i.e. they come and sit in a focal position near the front and answer that question.
  • This learner then nominates another if they give the correct answer.
  • Each ‘contestant’ gets 3 lifelines which help to alleviate the pressure and get everyone involved:
    • 50 /50: the teacher randomly eliminates two of the incorrect choices.
    • Phone a friend: the student may call any one of their friends. Phone-a-friends should try to express their certainty as a percentage.
    • Ask the audience: All learners raise their hands to choose the answer they think is correct; this is the most popular lifeline because it usually offers the correct answer.
  • Continue playing until someone gets a question wrong, or the class wins a million!

If you really want to make this a compelling and truly exciting classroom activity, remember the two key aspects of the show:

  1. The catchphrase: “Is that your final answer?” The template I’m sharing has a built in sound effect of this phrase: use it occasionally!
  2. You need to ham it up and make use of longish dramatic pauses before acknowledging whether the learner’s answer is correct. Obviously, the pauses should become more tense the higher the amount of money on the line; try and make it feel like the real thing!

Variations

This is a really flexible format, the difficulty / ease of which can be adapted to your situation. For instance, you can make your question all verbs, or all nouns. Alternatively, you can ask vocab questions in which the answers are the different parts of speech (of which either the verb, noun, etc. is correct) or offer four alternative spellings of particularly awkward words (healthy / heathy / healty / helthy, for instance).

Warnings

  1. This can be a stressful task, so give your learners chance to study the vocab / grammar you’ll ask about before playing. As I mentioned, the game works well as a precursor to an end of unit quiz, so getting them to study formally for such a quiz is a good technique for preparing for this game.
  2. Start things off with easy questions and get the linguistically weaker learners to answer the first few. This way, you can give everyone in the class a sense of accomplishment while also grading the difficulty of each question according to the profile of your class.
  3. This works well as an end-of-day activity, but using it in this way can be tricky as the time limit for completing the game can vary a lot, especially if you’re strict about a wrong answer ending proceedings! Bear this in mind when you decide to use this game.
  4. Explain why you are playing, i.e you are getting them ready for their quiz in a fun and engaging way. As I mentioned previously, games are great only if there is a perceived reason for playing. Make sure your learners understand that they aren’t just paying, but are actively exercising their ability to retrieve the language they have learned.
  5. As with Blockbusters, don’t use this too often. While this is a motivating alternative to boring quizzes, learners will get bored if you use this too many times. You can probably get away with doing it at the end of every other course book unit.

 

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Posted in Classic posts, Life inside the classroom, Teaching ideas | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Apps for ELT: Practice English Grammar

An app developer called Cleverlize got in touch with me recently to talk about their free Practice English Grammar app. According to the website, this app is for basic and advanced learners and can be downloaded on iPhones, iPads, Android and Kindle Fire.

According to their website, the app contains over 1000 questions, is loaded with more than 750 flashcards, includes 100+ small learning games, has grammar articles, detailed feedback on questions, as well as offline mode availability.

The app, as mentioned, is free, so please take a look and let me know what you think. I haven’t used it myself yet, but it looks fairly functional and easy to use.

Untitled

The ‘Practice English Grammar’ app.

Any thoughts? I’ll happily incorporate any feedback you have into this post!

Posted in Life outside the classroom, Teaching ideas | Tagged | 2 Comments

Games for the language classroom: Blockbusters

I‘m a gamer: I love using games in the language classroom. I find them such a great and versatile tool and, if used well, something that always goes down well with learners. I’ve discussed the role of games before on this blog and have probably summed up everything I want to say about the theory behind the use of games in my best-selling e-book ‘Using games in the Language Classroom (by which I mean I’m not going to go into great detail about the how and the why of using games in this post; please click on the link to download the book – it’s free!).

So, why am I returning to this subject? Well, my e-book on the theory of using games has proven to be so popular that I feel compelled to follow it up with a series of posts look at specific games. Consequently, I’m going to do just that over the course of a few blog posts during the course of the next couple of months (whilst also continuing my series of posts in which I re-imagine the classic grammar activities of the ELT world).

Let me start off with an old favorite…

The classic, easy-to-use Blockbusters grid

The classic, easy-to-use Blockbusters grid

Blockbusters!

Blockbusters is a British television game show based, I believe, on an American game show of the same name in which contestants answer trivia questions to complete a path across or down a game board of hexagons. It’s a very simple format, and one which lends itself very well to the language classroom.

OK, then, first things first. I’m sure you’ll want to download the template for the game. You can do that by clicking here. Now that’s out of the way, we can get down to business. In the spirit of making things as simple as possible for you all, I’ve prepared a video which talks you through how to go about using the game.

In case you need a little bit more, here are some directions on how to use this in class.

What do learners need to know?

This works really well as a revision exercise, so learners should already be familiar with specific phrases or vocabulary from the subject being taught.

What equipment do you need?

The blockbusters grid (which you have now downloaded) An answer sheet for you to refer to (don’t forget this!)

Medium of delivery

I have projectors in my classes and so deliver this via PowerPoint, but you can just as easily draw the hexagonal grid on a board by hand.

How to play

  • Divide your class into two teams.
  • One team needs to connect the top of the grid to the bottom.
  • The other team has to connect the left side of the grid with the right.
  • The hexagons contain numbers, relating to your numbered list of questions (you can replace these numbers with the first letters of each word to make it a little easier).
  • Teams take it in turn to select a hexagon.
  • You give an appropriate clue for that hexagon, and the team works together to give the answer.
  • The winning team is the first to complete the connection.

Variations

This is a really flexible format, the difficulty / ease of which can be adapted to your situation. For instance, you can make your question all verbs, or all nouns. Alternatively, you could give the first two letters of the word as a clue. Another way I use this at upper intermediate level is to ask for a definition of a topic we’ve studied, i.e. ‘give a definition of short-term memory.’ Here are some suggestions from fellow blogger Gabrielle Jones:

I regularly use it at the university where I teach, just before their exam. I give them 25 typical mistakes they make with their academic writing and get them to correct them, then play in teams as a revision exercise. With in-company groups I use it to review the feedback I’ve given them every few months. I’ve also used it with language areas such as false friends, tenses, and I even went and bought an old copy of the board game for the more advanced groups – rather expensive but great for advanced vocabulary.

Warnings

  1. This can be a challenging task, so give your learners chance to study the vocab / topics you’ll ask about before playing.
  2. This works well as an end-of-day activity, but using it in this way can be tricky as the time limit for completing the game can vary a lot. Bear this in mind when you decide to use this game.
  3. Don’t use this too often. While this is a motivating group-based activity, learners will get bored if you use this too many times. On a sixteen week course, I might use this twice, for instance.
  4. Explain why you are playing. Games are great only if there is a perceived reason for playing. Make sure your learners understand that they aren’t just paying, but are actively exercising their ability to retrieve the language they have learned.

Posted in Life inside the classroom, Teaching ideas | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Post-CELTA professional development: Dogme materials

Can you believe it? We’re now on part nine of this series of posts looking at your early career as a language teacher and how to make the most of this time. As ever, we’ll continue where I left off in the first eight posts by examining common problems for newly qualified language teachers.

In the previous posts, I’ve looked at dealing with time constraints, how to find professional development opportunities, how to approach lesson planning, how to make sure your first teaching job experience isn’t a bad one, some advice on how to get through your first observed lesson, a discussion on the multifaceted layers of a good lesson, some thoughts on how we can move beyond methods,  a provocative post titled ‘the great TEFL lie‘, as well as the most recent one, which looked at how people make the class what it is. Once again, it’s time for me to move over and make way for a guest post from Phil Wade. This time Phil introduces us to the notion of ‘Dogme materials’.

A big criticism people have of Dogme is about not using materials. How can you just replace a professional coursebook with stuff from the students? This is the common question and it is a good question. Well, there are teachers who decide to go full Dogme and throw out the book and there are others who decide to wade slowly into it. Another group, which I am a member of, are those who work with 0 budget so have no other option but to get creative.

1897804_10152068740636376_324094030_nFor me, Dogme changes the role of the coursebook from a bible which you spend 90% of class looking at and using to a resource which you may use for preparation, read from, use to show images or for recreating in the lesson. It becomes a resource for the course. Probably one of many. This first idea can be daunting for some. Just imagine confiscating all the class coursebooks and how confused everyone would look. But now think about what you really need in this week’s unit. There is probably a text, a recording, a speaking activity, of course some vocab and grammar too. Maybe even a writing box. Now, be very honest with yourself. Which of those things do students really need the book in front of themselves for?

Think about it. You normally set up a speaking activity by creating context then giving them instructions. Then, the students will read the instructions in the book, the task and whatever else is on the page and only then start thinking about speaking. Take the book away and they have to listen to you and then begin. You have taken the reading part away. For instance, if the task in the book describes 2 roles and then says ‘now talk to your partner and…’, it is easier and quicker to either make very brief notes on the board, dictate the roles to students or just explain them in very simple terms.

Here’s another example. The book has some PTV , a listening, a gist task and then some grammar focus. In total, probably a full page of exercises and reading. Take the books away and you can decide whether to do the PTV, leave it or have it as another focus activity later. You are also now free to play all or just some of the recording. You could also pause it or let a student control the playback. As for the questions, do you want gist, detailed, focus or all of them? Pick the ones you want or the ones that seem relevant and as above, write them on the board or explain them. I like to do them orally by stopping the playback and just asking a question or asking 5 at the end.

As you can see, you can use the book as a resource but adapt it as you see fit. This is still a Dogme lesson in a way as it is based on speaking, the people in the room, is personalized, has no materials and is highly motivating.

Phil Wade is an English and Business English educator interested in developing tailored effective teaching solutions.

Posted in Opinion, Teaching ideas, The life of an english teacher | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Re-imagining the grammar classics: Using the DO IT technique with gap fill exercises

This is the second in a series of blog posts in which I’ll present a range of activities that can be used in class with minimal – or even no – preparation at all. Most of these activities revolve around reviewing or extending grammar structures, and as such are designed to be as flexible as possible and thus usable in many different situations.

First up we looked at a way of personalizing gap fill exercises so that they work in a more meaningful and motivational way in your language class. This time I consider what to do when faced with making gap fills that we find in books more meaningful and how to inspire some creative thinking when completing them.

What is DO IT?

Just a nice picture, that's all

They like to DO IT, DO IT!

DO IT is a fantastically simple way of enhancing the creative thought processes that are perhaps overlooked when preparing for exams. The acronym stands for ‘Define’ problems, be ‘Open’ to many possible solutions, ‘Identify’ the best solution and then ‘Transform’ it into effective action. While this formula lends itself to problems that require a great deal of input and creative thinking, this same process can be applied to simple gap fill grammar exercises.

Applying it to our context

I’ve never worked in any educational institution that hasn’t used a gapped text to test learners’ knowledge of verb tenses. Whether that’s a good or bad thing isn’t something I’m going to discuss in this post, it’s just a fact. Consequently, I imagine many of you reading this are in a similar position. Let’s take a look at how we can apply DO IT to helping students crack this task! So, what are the steps involved?

Define’ the problem There’s a gap in the text which needs to be filled with the verb in its correct form.

Be ‘Open’ to many possible solutions Let’s identify every possible correct answer based on what we know.

Identify’ the best solution Looking at our available options, which one works best?

Transform’ it into effective action Fill in the gap

Ok, so this doesn’t sound particularly innovative or interesting, but you’re already on your way to helping your learners think about this task in a more creative way.

Where it gets a bit tricky for you as the teacher

To be honest, this is where you’re going to have to put in a little bit more work than making a set of photocopies to distribute among your class. It’ll be worth it, though. Firstly, decide on your format. You can write this up on the board during the class (I did say this was a low-prep activity), or maybe you could create a PowerPoint or other such presentation if the mood takes you (to save you time, you can download a PPT I created for this particular short gap fill here). Secondly, break up your gap fill into smaller chunks. I’ll explain why in a minute. This might work best with an example. Consider this mini-paragraph:

Frederick __________ (work) in five different countries. He worked in Vietnam in 2003, China in 2005, Singapore in 2007, Malaysia in 2009 and Sri Lanka in 2011. He __________ (die) on 12th January and __________ (bury) several days later.

I think we could imagine our learners getting a task like this, so let’s see how we can make this into a DO IT activity. As I just mentioned, you need to break it up! Let’s see how this looks with just the first sentence.

Frederick __________ (work) in five different countries.

Now, apply your DO IT formula.

D: There’s a gap in the text which needs to be filled with the verb ‘to work’ in its correct form.

O: Let’s identify every possible correct answer based on what we know (works, is working, has worked, will work, has been working, worked, etc.).

I: Looking at our available options, which one works best? We can speculate, but it’s difficult to say at present.

T: This is too soon for us to take action!

Believe it or not, we’ve made good progress. The action of working on the ‘O’ has got the learners thinking creatively about this problem. Let’s see what they do now, with a little bit more information.

Frederick __________ (work) in five different countries. He worked in Vietnam in 2003, China in 2005, Singapore in 2007, Malaysia in 2009 and Sri Lanka in 2011.

How does our DO IT look?

D: There’s a gap in the text which needs to be filled with the verb ‘to work’ in its correct form.

O: Let’s identify every possible correct answer based on what we know, which is now more (works (probably not, given that the next sentence contextualizes Frederick’s experiences), is working (again, probably not for the same reason), has worked (possible… even probable based on what we know so far), will work (maybe… but look at the context again), has been working (possible), worked (again, possible), etc.).

I: Looking at our available options, which one works best? We can speculate with a bit more accuracy, but it remains difficult to say at present. Present perfect looks a good bet, given what we know about starting with a description of life experience before shifting to past tense to describe specific instances. Let’s wait and see, eh!

T: This is still too soon for us to take definite action!

We’ve now made good progress. We’re looking at the big picture and thinking creatively about what is and isn’t possible as an answer. Let’s now take it that final step.

Frederick __________ (work) in five different countries. He worked in Vietnam in 2003, China in 2005, Singapore in 2007, Malaysia in 2009 and Sri Lanka in 2011. He __________ (die) on 12th January and __________ (bury) several days later.

How does our DO IT look?

D: There’s a gap in the text which needs to be filled with the verb ‘to work’ in its correct form.

O: Let’s identify every possible correct answer based on what we know, which is now the whole picture (worked).

I: Looking at our available options, simple past is clearly the best.

T: Let’s take definite action and fill that gap!

Benefits of DO IT

This extremely simple technique activates, accelerates and strengthens learners’ innate creative problem-solving ability as well as stimulating the creation of diverse ideas. Learners often have difficulty identifying the bigger picture in exercises like this, and this exercise allows them access to the thought processes that native speakers go through when confronted with such a task. Let me know how it goes If you use this technique, please let me know how it goes for you. I’m always interested in hearing how activities work in different contexts.

Posted in Teaching ideas | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Re-imagining the grammar classics: The personalized gap fill

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which I’ll present a range of activities that can be used in class with minimal – or even no – preparation at all. Most of these activities revolve around reviewing or extending grammar structures, and as such are designed to be as flexible as possible and thus usable in many different situations.

First up we look at a way of personalizing gap fill exercises so that they work in a more meaningful and motivational way in your language class.

The personalized gap fill

Gap fills are probably the most common type of exercise in the language classroom. Nevertheless, they are also the most boring and uninspiring. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s very easy to add a personal touch to gap fills so as to bring them to life and make them much more enjoyable activities. Here are a few simple suggestions that will make your students want to fill in the gaps again and again.

What do you need?

If you want to do this in the simplest way possible all you need is a pen and a board. Alternatively, you can use the nifty little handout that I’ve created to do the same thing.

Personalizing your gap fill will have a positive effect on your class!

Personalizing your gap fill will have a positive effect on your class!

Setting things up for version 1

  1. Basically, you are going to write about 6 to 8 sentences on the board using the target grammar structure with the gaps for your learners to fill in.
  2. Write the words that they need to complete the sentences at the top of the board.
  3. Use student names and details about them in your sentences.

Learners copy down the sentences, fill in the gaps with the words and then decide if they are true or false.

Let’s imagine how this works with a few examples using various grammar structures. This activity is particularly effective for verb tenses, adjectives or adverbs, comparatives, or even modal verbs. Here are a few examples featuring ‘Adam’, who is one member of the class:

Focus on simple present verb forms

  • Adam __________ in Istanbul.

In this example the learner adds the verb (lives / studies / has lunch) that expresses something meaningful in this context.

Focus on simple present habits

  • Adam __________ every morning.
  • Adam goes to the gym __________.

In this example the learner selects the action (eats breakfast / goes jogging) or the adverb phrase (every day / once a month) that expresses something meaningful in this context.

Focus on simple past

  • Adam __________ when he was a teenager.

In this example the learner chooses the action (went to Paris / played rugby) that expresses something meaningful in this context.

Focus on simple past times

  • Adam visited Holland __________.

In this example the learner adds the time phrase (in 1998 / last year) that expresses something meaningful in this context.

Focus on simple relative clauses

  • Adam is the person who __________.

In this example the learner completes the relative clause (comes from England / speaks Turkish) that expresses something meaningful in this context.

There are many more things you can do with this, but these examples are enough to get you started!

The thing about this is that, even though it’s personalized to your learners, it is still very much teacher led. Let’s look at a second version which places more of the responsibility of the learners to create the activity.

Setting things up for version 2

  1. This time, put learners into groups.
  2. Only provide a stem of the sentence, which they will then need to complete.
  3. Basically, each group is going to write about 6 to 8 sentences about themselves using the target grammar structure.
  4. Students use their names and details in their sentences, making sure about half are true and half are false.
  5. They can share their sentences with the other groups.

Each group listens and ostensibly plays a game of true or false.

Download the handout

If you would like to use the handout I’ve made, feel free to download it by clicking here. I’ve formatted it in four different ways; the first is based on the simple present verbs; the second focuses on simple past time phrases; the third uses ‘…is the person who…’, and; the final version is an empty version. Use these as they are or adapt them in any way you wish; just stop relying on the gap fill in the book!

Posted in Teaching ideas | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Post-CELTA professional development: People make the class

Well… here we go again with the eighth part of this series of posts looking at your early career as a language teacher and how to make the most of this time. We’ll continue where I left off in the first six posts by examining common problems for newly qualified language teachers.

In the previous posts, I’ve looked at dealing with time constraints, how to find professional development opportunities, how to approach lesson planning, how to make sure your first teaching job experience isn’t a bad one, some advice on how to get through your first observed lesson, a discussion on the multifaceted layers of a good lesson, some thoughts on how we can move beyond methods,as well as a provocative post titled ‘the great TEFL lie.’

The fact that this series has gone on as long as it has is mainly thanks to my ‘co-conspirator’ Phil Wade, who, in his fourth guest post looks at how ‘people make the class‘.

Teaching is all about people and people change. They have good days and bad days and… anything in the middle. As a teacher, this includes you. So, if you think about the likelihood of you being on top form, being in a great mood and having your mojo working and the chance of that happening at the exact same time as each and every one of the 20 students in your class being happy, receptive, eager to learn, able to focus and do the work and generally be active in your process, well, I think those chances are pretty slim.

'Classroom' by Linda Pospisilova from #ELTPics

‘Classroom’ by Linda Pospisilova from #ELTPics

This then leads us to consider the classroom as a group of people and not just a room where a ‘teacher’ comes and races through some exercises and ‘student’s do them and leave. Just imagine if an alien came to your school and watched your class. It would seem a bit weird perhaps. There is certainly a persona or role that the teacher and the students adopt. For the teacher, it is that they are in power and they believe students will follow them. For the students, they are to follow and do without question and give full trust to the teacher.

This doesn’t sound like a group of people to me. If we consider the students and us are people, we can view the lesson from a very different perspective. A standard plan could be viewed like this:

  1. Warmer. Teacher sets a fun easy game and the students follow the rules and do it and laugh.
  2. Lead-in. Teacher elicits something that helps establish the topic.
  3. Pre-task. Teacher sets a task to help prepare students for another task.
  4. Task. Teacher explains how to do the task. Teacher tells students to do the task. Students do it.
    …etc., etc.

Now, as you can see:

  1. Everything still revolves around the teacher as they initiate everything. Even if you elicited, drew pictures or held up cards with words on, you would still be in control.
  2. It follows a very mechanical structure deemed appropriate by the teacher and has little mention of active students.

If we go back to what I was saying earlier. This situation can be seen like a factory and it is for some teachers who just go through the motions. The start at warmer and finish at cooler. Their teaching is a perfectly oiled machine. So efficient that they have honed those lessons over centuries. No matter the people in the room, that lesson gets done and “never fails” as it is “100% foolproof”.

Hmmmm…

Do those teachers teach people or just inflatable student dummies?

I am all for honing lessons and improving your craft but it is also nice to consider and help the students.

To make a class of individuals bond and become a productive class takes time. People are people after all. They may not all get on but that’s life. They’ll all have different learning styles, learning habits, preferences etc but so do you. The more you learn about them, the better you will get at pinpointing what they need and when also why. Becoming more aware of them as people will also help you notice the mood of individuals and the class in general. For instance, if they seem tired on a Friday, slow things down. If there has been some issues with one student, adapt your plan to suit that feeling in the room.

Also, don’t forget communication. Talk to them before the lesson, after the lesson, chat to individuals in the lesson, jump into group activities etc. A quick “is this hard?” or “how useful was that?” in their space at their desks just following an activity will give you a more honest answer than a formal survey at the end of class.

Don’t forget about you too. Be aware of your mood and where your brain is at. You are only human.

Phil Wade is an English and Business English educator interested in developing tailored effective teaching solutions.

Posted in Classic posts, Life inside the classroom, Opinion, The student perspective, The teacher perspective | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Free e-book: Investigating the Emotional and Physical Aspects of the Language Classroom

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve shared three e-books with you; the first on how to present at a language teacher’s conference, the second on using games in the language classroom, with the third on learner motivation.

This time round I’m bringing together another series of blog posts that I first published last year which investigate the emotional and physical aspects of the language classroom and how these issue relate to classroom management (hence the title). As with the previous titles, this book should be considered an introductory overview of the subject area and is therefore perhaps best suited to newly qualified language teachers.

Here’s the blurb…

What exactly do we mean by classroom management?

The way I see it, we have to split this particular subject right down the middle: we have the emotional side (the people) and we have the physical side (arranging furniture, placement of the whiteboard, seating plans, etc.).

Click here to download your free copy of this book.

Click here to download your free copy of this book.

The various theories I’ll be introducing and discussing over the course of several chapters in the first half of this book focus on the former, encompassing the methods of organization, administration, teaching and enforcing discipline in our classroom.

These ‘emotional’ chapters shall consider how particular theories provide models for explaining how students learn, thus suggesting techniques for enhancing learning and decreasing distraction in our learning environments.

I follow these with four chapters focusing on the physical nature of classroom management, looking at rooms I like, rooms I don’t, and discussing the nature of the perfect classroom.

I hope these chapters will collectively help show you how knowledge of classroom management can help you investigate how you function in a classroom, and how you might reflect on changes you’d like to make to how you manage things.

  • Chapter 1: Investigating the emotional side of the classroom: introducing classroom management
  • Chapter 2: Four major classroom management theories
  • Chapter 3: What can we learn from Skinner’s Behaviorism theory?
  • Chapter 4: What can we learn from the Jones model of positive discipline?
  • Chapter 5: What can we learn from Glasser’s Choice Theory of classroom management?
  • Chapter 6: What can we learn from Canter’s Assertive Classroom Management model?
  • Chapter 7: What is your personal classroom management profile?
  • Chapter 8: Dealing with the physical aspects of the classroom
  • Chapter 9: The curious case of G062
  • Chapter 10: Is G045 a teaching paradise?
  • Chapter 11: Epilogue – The perfect classroom

If you like the sound of that, click here for your free download.

Posted in Life inside the classroom, Teaching ideas, Theory | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Free e-book: The Good Guy Greg Guide to Motivating Language Learners

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve shared two e-books with you; the first on how to present at a language teacher’s conference, the second on using games in the language classroom. These have proven to be so popular (more than 2500 downloads of the games book in its first week of publication) that I’ve decided to keep going. The third book in my series looks at motivation.

This book is ostensibly split down the middle. In part one I look at many of the contemporary theories of motivation, with questions to help reflect on instances when you’ve encountered students who exhibited related motivational problems. In part two I present a series of scenarios that revolve around our unlikely teacher hero: Good Guy Greg. Greg helps us work through issues and leads us towards practical techniques for solving the motivational issues we may encounter.

Here’s the blurb…

Why isn’t he coming to class? Why does she come to class and not do anything? Why is he so confident of passing when he’s done so little work? Why does she think she’ll fail when she’s working so hard? Why do they spend so much time talking about IELTS when this is a TOEFL preparation course? Does he even want to be in this room? It feels like she’s deliberately trying to fail this course… why would that be?

ELT Motivation sMALL

Fancy a free e-book? Click here for your copy.

Do any of the above questions look familiar to you? How many of them have you uttered yourself? Do you find from time to time that you are utterly perplexed by a student’s complete lack of interest in your marvelously prepared classes? Well, it’s time for you to take a chill pill and understand that there is always a good reason why a given student is not motivated to perform to their peak in your class. It might not always be an obvious reason, but it is invariably a good one.

Occasionally in life, you get to kill two birds with one stone. When that happens with an e-book like this, it’s an absolute joy, I can tell you. In this instance, I’m part of a task group looking into what motivates our learners, and I’m doubling up on the use of some of my initial findings in this here collection of chapters. As you read through the theories I discuss, I’d like you to consider the cases of demotivated students you’ve encountered in the past and think if their situation is more understandable when you put it in the context of what the research says.

If you like the sound of that, click here for your free download.

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Free e-book: Using Games in the Language Classroom

Earlier in the week I shared my first free e-book with you. This proved to be so popular that I’ve decided to immediately follow it up. Over the years, I’ve written many posts on the subject of using games in the language classroom; it seemed only logical to bring these all together under one title.

Here’s the blurb…

The justification for using games in the classroom has been well demonstrated as benefiting students in a variety of ways. These benefits range from cognitive aspects of language learning to more co-operative group dynamics. The benefits are as follows:

Affective:

– games lower the affective filter
– they encourage creative and spontaneous use of language
– they also promote communicative competence
– games are both motivating and fun

Cognitive:

– games reinforce learning
– they both review and extend learning
– games focus on grammar in a communicative manner

Click on the image to download your free e-book.

Click on the image to download your free e-book.

Class Dynamics:

– games are extremely student centered
– the teacher acts only as facilitator
– games build class cohesion
– they can foster whole class participation
– games promote healthy competition

Adaptability:

– games can be easily adjusted for age, level, and interests
– they utilize all four skills
– games require minimum preparation after the initial development stage

You can successfully use games in many ways, such as for a quick review, after material has been covered or as a cool-down activity at the end of a lesson to practice what has been covered (as well as to inject an element of fun). You could also use a game to practice specific new language in groups or pairs for a limited time, as a short introduction to new vocabulary or a concept, as a prompt for writing work, even as a link into a new part of the lesson. Games may even be used merely to change the pace of a lesson.

Contents: 10 good reasons why we should use games in the language classroom; Are we really sure about using games in the language classroom?; The 9 golden rules of using games in the language classroom; 3 strategies for incorporating games into beginner level classes; Great kids games to use with adult language learners; 3 great games for verb tense review; Using games to teach vocabulary?

If you like the sound of that, click here for your free download.

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