CELTA - Setting up classroom activities

Classroom management
Setting up activities
An important part of learning to be a teacher is classroom management. This is another in my series to help you get to grips with this and it's focused on setting up your activities so that they go really well, whether you're face to face or online.

A big part of teaching is getting learners to DO things and if you set up activities well, whether that’s in the physical classroom or online - they’re much more likely to GO well. Like many things in life, activities have a beginning, a middle and an end and in this video I’m going to give you five great tips for starting off your activities brilliantly– if you like this, check out my CELTA toolkit videos, too – the link is just below.

I’m Jo Gakonga from ELT-Training.com – I’ve got over 30 years experience in the classroom and I’ve taught hundreds of teachers how to make their lessons run smoothly to keep their learners more engaged.

Tip 1- enthusiasm
Beginnings are important – they set the scene- so you want to make sure that you SELL it to the learners – motivate them, generate some interest. Make sure YOU have good energy about what you’re doing. You don’t have to be singing and dancing, but you’re the teacher – you can choose what you do, so choose something that YOU’RE interested in and that feeling will definitely be contagious.

Tip 2- visuals
Visuals are a great way to start activities. For example, if your lesson’s about journeys, you could say, Tell me about your journey to school. But that's boring. How about something like this?  Who are they? Where are they going? Why that's interesting. And it's very easy to find good copyright free pictures on Morguefile.com, and Pixabay.com or Unsplash or Canva.

Tip 3 – ask interesting questions
As well as pictures, interesting questions are great. In a lesson about food, for example, you could say, What did you eat last night? That's an Okay, question. But a much more interesting question would be, What was the best meal you've ever eaten? Or even better, What’s a food that you hate? In my experience, things that people have strong feelings about often generate more interest – so think about how you could tweak things to make them more interesting.

Tip 4 – anticipate problems
If you give people an activity and they don’t have the language to do that activity, it’s not going to go well, so your job as a teacher is to anticipate the problems that they will have. With the example we looked at before, the learners need the language for describing food. One of the first classes I ever taught, I went in and asked, What's your favorite food? And they said, cabbage. And I asked the next one, What's your favorite food? And they said cabbage. And at this point, I thought, well, cabbage is nice enough. But really? So I asked them, What words do you know for food? And they said…, cabbage. So let's make sure, especially at lower levels, that they have the language to do the task.  A good way to find out what this is, is do the task yourself. Actually Do it, do it out loud.

Tip 5 – clear instructions and a demonstration
Giving clear instructions is crucial to setting up activities and I’ve made another video about this here, but just to recap, instructions need to be clear and concise and remember that a demonstration is usually worth a lot of explanation. Just show them what to do.

So I hope that these tips help you to set your activities up well – don’t forget to like and subscribe and and check out the site for lots of other useful materials. Have fun with your teaching.
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