When teaching groups, regardless of age, background and commitment, students struggle to keep focus. Be it a long day at work, problems in their personal life or just a lack of concentration, teachers often have a hard time to keep the classroom environment entertaining and exciting.
Why not mixing it up with some activities outside of the classroom? Take a look at the below. These are activities that have worked quite successfully with different types of students.
Bear in mind that each of the scenarios and target language associated will have to be pre-taught in the classroom and has to be organised meticulously as to have a structure that will induce learning and repetition.
Visiting a cafe
I organised this with an A1 beginners class.
Before the class started I visited the cafe I always took my morning coffee at. I asked whether or not the staff would agree to talk to my students in English or just listen to their requests in English. After agreeing, the conversation between the waiter and the client was pre-taught in class. Each student had to remember and memorise what they wanted to ask and how to do it.
E.g.: Good morning: could I have a coffee please? Could I have a croissant? Thank you. Have a nice day.
A very simple conversation that proved to be quite useful and woke the whole class up.
While I was cruising the neighbourhood of Eixample I came across a wine shop that was advertising a wine tasting experience in Catalan and English. I asked whether or not I could bring my B2 group to attend the English wine tasting experience on the condition that no Catalan or Spanish would be spoken. They happily agreed and for an affordable price of 15 euro (which included a bottle to take home) my students decided to take part in the experience. We went thorough a list of target language that would help them speak about wine (tannic, fruity, dry, oaky etc.) to prepare them for the experience. Overall, it turned out to be a lovely time to spend out with my students.
I thought about this activity while observing one of the other teachers give an online class with a young student who spent more than half of the time talking about the latest football match. I realised that that was probably something I had not covered (being a non-football fan) with my group of male students.
I decided it was time to tackle the football theme and teach them all about the vocabulary necessary to comment a football game (I had to do some research myself and understand some key concepts I had no clue about). I decided that we would then visit a local bar where they always show a football game and told them they would have to become a temporary football reporter. The students had to then take turns to report the live football match.
Another great activity that was quite successful among my A1 students was grocery shopping. In class I had my students write down the ingredients that they would need to make their favourite recipe (using the list of vocabulary words provided). The shopping list was then written on a piece of paper and re-distributed to other students so that each student ended up with a new grocery list.
At the supermarket, everyone took a cart and selected their products from their list. At the end each student had to present what they had selected with the correct pronunciation.
These are just a few example but if you are creative and look around you many places could be used for new inspiring class locations and activities to have fun and teach English at the same time!
Let me know if you have any cool ideas!