Teaching isn’t only about running lessons, we all know this. A lot goes on behind the scenes: preparing materials, planning lessons, preparing games, revision activities, marking tests, and a lot more. If you sometimes just have enough and want to take a day off, get your students to do some of this work for you. We have a few ideas for you below.
Just remember: If you decide to delegate some of the work to your students, always monitor their work. Make sure to correct any mistakes and answer any questions they might have.
Instead of trying to think of a lot of discussion questions for your students to talk about, get them to do it.
Divide them into pairs or small groups and ask each group to come up with a few questions for discussion on the topic you specified. If you’re revising a specific grammatical structure, ask them to include it in the form of their questions. When they’ve finished, they swap their questions with the other groups. Give some time for each group to discuss the questions they got. Monitor and correct errors whenever needed.
Reading comprehension questions
If you’re planning to do a reading comprehension activity, your students can prepare the comprehension questions.
Distribute or display the text you want your students to read. Go through the difficult vocabulary with them, and in general, make sure they understand it. Next, divide them into pairs and ask each pair to come up with a few comprehension questions for the text. The questions could have a variety of forms: true or false, open-ended questions or gap-filling. When they’ve finished, they swap their questions with other pairs. Their task now is to answer the questions they received from the other groups.
Preparing a lesson
Did you know that students could also prepare entire lessons for you?
There are two ways you can do it.
#1 Ask your students to prepare a lesson on something that they’re passionate about. The goal of this lesson would be to teach other students about it: what it is and also the vocabulary connected with this topic. It’s a great task, because the students have the chance to present something important to them, and they get to learn all the vocabulary connected with this area.
#2 Divide students into small groups and give each one a text, video or an article. Their task will be to prepare a lesson around this material. They have to come up with a warmer, pick out interesting vocabulary and maybe prepare some comprehension activities and discussion questions. This article will give you some ideas on how to work with a video or an article.
When should the students prepare for these lessons?
You can set it as homework, but it might be a bit tricky in the case of group work. So a better option would be to allow some time during one of the lessons preceding the presentation.
Games and quizzes probably require the most work and effort to prepare. And this is something your students could do for you.
Divide the students into small groups. Give each group a large piece of paper (preferably A3 or bigger). Specify topics you want to revise – they could be vocabulary topics, such as People, Food, etc, or grammar structures. Give some guidelines as to what the board game should include: some vocabulary or grammar questions? Give the students some time to prepare their board games. When they finish, they swap their games. And now each group is playing a revision game prepared by someone else.
Revisions and tests
Students can prepare a revision test for each other.
Divide them into pairs or small groups (if you have a small group, the students can prepare tests for each other). Give each group a piece of blank A4 paper. Specify topics you want to revise – they could be vocabulary topics, such as People, Food, etc, or grammar structures. Give some guidelines as to what the test should include, e.g. two exercises on vocabulary, at least one open-ended activity, two exercises on grammar, etc. Give the students some time to prepare the tests, anything between 20-30 minutes should be enough. When they finish, they swap the tests so that each group is completing a test from a different group. Allow time for corrections and feedback.
Why do it?
Student DIY will save you a lot of work, but most importantly it’s so much better for your students.
It’s very effective because your students revise the material twice: once when they’re preparing it, and then when they’re completing someone else’s activities. In fact, coming up with the content for a test, game or quiz is the most effective way of consolidating the language. To prepare a good question or task, students need to understand it themselves, and in turn, they remember it better.