A day with a difference

Published on 3rd June, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

chairsAs teachers, our behaviour can easily become ritualised. Sometimes I stand back from my teaching and realise that I am ‘stuck on the same track’; that my teaching is becoming a little too predictable.

Forcing change or difference onto your teaching is the most obvious way to respond to this. Here are some ways that you can inject new life into your classes, and potentially into your teaching repertoire too. For a limited period, for example a lesson or a week, try:

• sitting at the side of the class, not at the front.

• writing no more than 8 new words on the board the entire lesson.

• giving only written, not oral instructions. You could even try remaining silent for at least a chunk of your lesson.

• changing your voice: if there are stages in your lesson where you tend to speak more loudly, make a conscious decision to talk in a very low voice.

• correcting students pronunciation problems on the spot, but no other problems unless students specifically ask.

• avoiding the use of L1, if you normally use this.

• using a teaching aid which you are less familiar or comfortable with. This could be something technologically-oriented such as using a podcast for the first time or showing a video clip from video-sharing sites such as YouTube. It could be something simple but new for you, eg exploiting personal photographs or a personal email in the class; using a map or a leaflet.

• have a chunk of your lesson which is not rigorously planned, but you just have a few ideas (if you are normally a very careful planner). Try to ‘go with the flow’ and respond to students more in this part.

For some more suggestions, see next week’s tip.

Photo credit: internets dairy. Creative Commons Licence