How to Use the Board at Different Stages of a Communicative Lesson

Using the board in a communicative ESL lessonThe board remains one of the most useful tools for teaching English. In this article, you will learn how to use the board in a communicative lesson!

Engage or Create Interest/Warm-Up Step

Start by writing a word or phrase on the board and get the students to brainstorm ideas related to the word or the topic of the lesson. It could also be a sentence or a problem for them to solve. Write down all of their ideas or the ones that you need for the next step in the lesson.  You can record the answers by using a chart, a mind-map, or a list. Whatever strategy you use, make sure that the board looks neat and organized.

If you want to make the beginning of the lesson a bit more interactive and student- centered, you can get the students to come to the board and complete the list or the mind-mapping chart by themselves.  However, this strategy may not work if your class is too big or too noisy.

In this section, you may also want to review vocabulary. You can use the right side of the board for vocabulary that has been previously taught (old information) and leave the center of the board for the new words or topic (new information).

Presentation of the Target Language

In this section, you will probably get your students to listen to a recording, watch a video clip, or read a text to expose them to the target language in context. You may use a textbook or some handouts for this section.  Writing on the board will not be necessary at this point, unless you want to show the students a word or phrase or maybe a gist question to answer.

Elicitation of the Target Language Through Concept Questions and Systematization

This is when systematization on the board starts.  After you have exposed the students to the target language in context, you will now want them to pay a closer look at the topic of the lesson.  Through concept questions, you will elicit meaning of words or the function and structure of the topic you are teaching. While doing so, write their answers down and start summarizing the key words or parts of a sentence on the board.  Use colour markers or a different colour chalk to underline or highlight the most relevant information you are trying to show them. This board synopsis should look neat and organized as they would probably like to write down this useful information in their notebooks.

The presentation stage of a lesson is the stage where the board is used more often, especially, in the systematization of the new topic.  In the practice or production stages, you may use the board for writing a word to show spelling or reinforce meaning, some instructions, or the page of the textbook.

Some More Tips to Take into Account:

–          Mind your spelling.

–          Make sure that your board looks neat and organized.

–         Do not block the board from view and avoid turning your back to the class for too long. Write something and then move aside to interact with your students.

–          Write new information in the center of the board and old information on the right hand side.

–          Write the aims of the lesson, if you want to, on the top right corner of the board.


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