Some people are compulsive list makers. Although I am not, there are some lists that I use in class. We probably all make lists of words that come up in the lesson, to recycle in later classes, or lists of grammatical problems that might come up, particularly in students’ written work. Here are a few suggestions that you might find useful to help continuity between lessons and to respond to students’ specific needs:
– Start recording pairs of words that your students confuse, either in terms of meaning or pronunciation, e.g. quiet versus quite, lend versus borrow, alone versus lonely.
– Start collecting a list of false friends that your students confuse, e.g. actual, sympathetic, recipe depending on your students’ first language(s).
– Start noting phonological problems that your students have, e.g. particular words or phonemes, or word stress.
– Start collating strategic or functional expressions that your students quite often muddle, e.g. how you spell that?; sorry to be late; he is on break
After a few lessons you should have a healthy list of examples for each type. These lists are reactive, responding to students’ own linguistic problems. Students usually find them motivating to work on, and they are clearly preferable to similar but abstract, generic activities you can find. Always tell students at the start that these are their own examples. You can then exploit these lists as stand-alone activities in a lesson. We’ll be looking at some more useful list types in a fortnight’s time.
Photo Credit: Florian. Creative Commons Licence.