Sometimes effectively beginning any class is the best way to have a productive class until the end. As a teacher in any subject, you have to grab the students interest right from the start. Having studied how to teach English as foreign language and having taught this language for over three years, I have developed a whole list of creative and efficient ways to start an ESL class.
During my first year of teaching English, one thing I struggled with was beginning the class. After seasoning and perfecting my teaching style, I now have various methods in my repertoire for getting any age of students interested and active in the class from the get go. So have a look at these simple yet effective exercises for getting the ball rolling in an ESL class.
Method #1: Whether it’s the first class of the semester or the tenth, one of the best warm up exercises for any age class is to play a language game with the vocabulary the students have been learning or have learned. One game I truly find entertaining and effective is 21 questions. In this game, students ask one particular student questions in order to find more about the specific word that student chose as his secret word; they get 21 questions to guess correctly and it’s a good way for students to perfect question and answer type conversations. Other games include the traditional hangman, Jeopardy, Snakes and Ladders , or any board game. It’s ultimately up to you what you game you choose, but it’s a perfect way to review vocab and get students interested immediately.
Method #2 : Have a small quiz or test. I personally prefer a dictation quiz. I usually make students write down the word and then make a sentence with the word. In order to obtain more interest, I offer rewards for doing well, which is especially practical for ESL children classes. Adults will see it as a way to test their progress and should be interested too. Making up a short test keeps the students on their feet, and hence makes them pay more attention throughout the class.
Method #3 : Bring in a conversation topic. Be sure to tailor this to the level of your students and be sure to make the conversation relaxed. I like to take the beginning of the class to get to know my students a little better. I bring in topics like travel, hobbies, likes and dislikes, work, future dreams, and so on; depending on the size of the class, I then either have the students split into pairs and talk and have a circle group discussion. Being able to have an easy-going conversation with your students will not only give them more confidence in speaking English, it will also enable to practice their English within a natural setting.
Author’s Own Experiences