With so many new teaching methods, educational trends and applications, we might get a bit overwhelmed. It’s difficult to choose the right way of teaching out of everything that’s thrown at us. Fortunately, there are some rules that, if followed, will lead your students to success in learning English.
Read on to find out what they are.
#1 Less is more
And more is worse, especially in learning languages. Too much input makes it more difficult for students to remember the material. Forget about long vocabulary lists and introducing two or three grammatical structures at the same time. It’s better for the students to learn fewer items, but to be able to practise them more and use them correctly.
So what’s a good number? It depends on your class type and level, but in general, students can process and remember between 5 and 9 new pieces of information at a time.
Present and practise every new item of grammar or vocabulary in context. Don’t just give your students rules for using a particular grammatical structure. Don’t present them with a list of vocabulary items. Instead, give them a scenario in which they would be most likely to hear or use this grammatical structure. And instead of long vocabulary lists, a text or a recording would work a lot better – the words are presented in context, and it’s a lot easier to understand and remember them.
Revisions should be spaced out over longer periods of time. So instead of doing one or two intensive revisions in a year, revise the material regularly. In each lesson go back to material not only from the previous lesson but also from the beginning of the course. Prepare activities in which students have to recall the words and grammar themselves. So instead of presenting them with an English word and asking for a definition, any kind of gap-fill type exercise would work better.
#4 Beginning & end
Do you know which parts of a lesson your students are most likely to remember? The beginning and the end. So make sure to always repeat the most important points from what you’ve covered at the end of the lesson. Or ask your students a few end-of-class questions:
- What do you remember from this lesson?
- What could you use straight away?
- What was the most interesting or surprising for you?
It will give the students a chance to go over these points and in turn, remember them for longer.
#5 Students’ input
Let your students organise the lesson material as much as they can. If you’re introducing new vocabulary, let them put the words into categories. If they’re reading a text, let them choose the words from the text that they would like to learn.
They should look for similarities and differences between words, make notes, and prepare tests and revision activities for each other.
Students remember the material better when it’s important to them and when they know why they’re learning.
How does it work in practice?
First of all, the students should feel that what they’re learning is what they really need, and it starts with the needs analysis and setting language learning goals. Read this article for more on this topic.
It’s also a great idea to remind your students why they’re learning this particular grammatical structure and in what situations they would be able to use it. They can imagine themselves being in these situations – role plays, scenarios and situations are perfect activities for that.
Also, include your students in planning the course. Get them involved by letting them choose what topics to cover.
As you can see, all of these rules are very simple and easy to follow, so there’s no excuse for not implementing them! We wish you lots of effective lessons!