The Task-Based Learning approach focuses on the acquisition of language through relevant, applicable tasks that take place in a relaxed, positive environment. The best way to experiment, learn more about, and eventually perfect the Task-Based Learning approach in the classroom is to do it. Here are 5 fun activities to help you get started with TBL!
Students get a bit stressed with reading and listening activities. I don’t blame them: it’s hard. I imagine it’s incredibly frustrating to be forced to read something or listen when you don’t understand a majority of the words. Luckily, there are a few tricks to make these aspects of English class less painful for everyone involved. These 5 ESL games are perfect for teaching listening and reading skills in a fun and effective way.
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Speaking is certainly the most complicated part of learning a language, and this typically presents the biggest challenge for learners. In many schools, students are taught to recite robotic sentences and are often uncomfortable when presented with casual, everyday speaking situations. Likewise, ESL learners do not always get the chance to practice expressing their views, opinions, and experiences through writing. Written assignments are often centered around mirroring the grammar concept for the week. This is definitely not a bad thing, but written assignments work best when they are supplemented with creative and fun tasks. While there are a plethora of speaking ESL games that probably come to every teacher’s mind, some may struggle with the writing element in this. Don’t worry: we’ve got you covered with a few quick and easy options to spruce up that lesson.
As teachers, we want the English skills that students learn to really stick with them. ESL games are a great way to commit grammar and vocabulary to memory and enable students to use them beyond the weekly quizzes. While many students may request hangman, try to think outside the box and offer games that keep students actively engaged. A little hangman here and there never hurts, but I’ve found that it allows most of the class to either a) doze off or b) say a random letter when it’s their turn. ESL games that get students moving around will keep the blood pumping and the minds cranking. Have a go with some of my favorites below. While these games are great for teaching grammar and practicing vocabulary, they can be altered to cater to any teaching points you might have.
Typical native speakers of English have an active vocabulary of somewhere in the region of 20,000 words. For someone learning the language, this figure can sound extremely intimidating, as becoming fluent requires knowing many, many words. Consequently, helping our students acquire vocabulary items is a vital part of teaching. So, how do we do this? If you can keep in mind word grouping, the way that our brains categorize things, context, viewing words as conveyors of meaning in particular situations, and styles of learning, the way in which your students take in new information, you’re on the way to success. The following activities take these factors into account, but are also fun and motivating ways to develop vocabulary knowledge in the classroom.
This TESOL game may be referred as Concentration, Memory, Pelmanism, or Pairs. It is usually played with a regular deck of cards. All of the cards are laid out in front of the players and they take turns turning over two cards to try to find a matching pair. Players keep the pairs they correctly identify and the winner is the one with the most matching pairs once all the cards have been matched. The game can be adapted and exploited in innumerable ways for different linguistic purposes. It can also be adapted for different levels with additional instructions; for example, players must pronounce the matching pair correctly or use each word in a sentence in order to be able to show they can use the words appropriately.
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Definitions is a fun TESOL game for learners to review and recycle vocabulary. It is simple to set up, works great with large classes, can be adapted to suit different levels and exploited in numerous ways. The game also allows learners to practice their speaking and listening skills as it require them to explain terms in English so that their team or partner can identify the vocabulary.
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Whether you love text messaging or hate it, text messaging is an authentic and common mode of communication. Text messaging is a perfect example of using an authentic activity to teach reading and writing skills; it gets students using their second language for specific communicative functions based on real world needs. Here is a look at how texting can be used in the ESL classroom:
Teaching ESL students to use a dictionary with dictionary games helps bridge the controversy behind dictionary use in ESL classes. If students are going to use them regardless of the teacher’s advice, it is better to teach them how to use this resource in the proper way. Furthermore, many TESOL experts agree that a dictionary can help ESL students continue to develop all their macro skills.
Choose or create a short written passage that is level-appropriate for the students. This passage could be used as a create interest opening to the theme of a new lesson, or as a review of some grammatical feature or vocabulary. This is an activity that forces students to read, speak, listen to and write longer chunks of language so they should not be hindered by unfamiliar language.