Keeping the context in your grammar lessons.

Teaching ESL to adults

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Joined: 12 Sep 2013, 18:56
Status: New Teacher

Keeping the context in your grammar lessons.

Unread post by banana_stand »

Hi everybody,
I'm a new teacher and having just graduated from CELTA a month ago, I'm currently trying to find ways to be able to teach my classes without spending a good chunk of my days planning for my classes. When I finished CELTA, I was more than used to spending 6+ hours on my lessons (they were very detailed, and still are). I'm finding, however, that this isn't a realistic thing to do when you're teaching 12 hours a week in the "real world".
Some of the things that take the biggest amount of time for me are the exercises that I have. My process in the past would be to skim through various course books, pick out exercises that I liked and then create new exercises based on the form found in the course books (all the while giving credit where due). I did this because often the context of the exercises in these course books didn't reflect the context that I was presenting in class. Sometimes they would, but often they didn't.
I'm faced with a situation now where the course book that I am forced to use has little to no context whatsoever. They just have massive amounts of gap fill exercises/conjugating activities that have no relation to each other at all (ie: The dog is wagging its tail, Don is ordering a pizza etc).
How can I provide my students good practice that preserves the context in my lessons and my sanity? Will I forever be forced to create all of my exercises and materials, or are there little tricks that I am unaware of? Should I first try and find exercises in a course book that have a context and then see if that is a context that my students would enjoy? Your feedback and experience would be appreciated :)
Posts: 17
Joined: 26 Sep 2013, 12:43
Status: DoS

Re: Keeping the context in your grammar lessons.

Unread post by MartinHejhal »

We've all been in the same situation. The first year ain any job is difficult. My fist advice is to be ready for long planning for the rest of your first year. Preparation takes time, however, it gets easier with every lesson you plan. If you cannot change the book (btw, I cannot believe any book can be that bad - which book is it?), use only what's interesting and meaningful for your students. If your context is animals and food, use different books at the same level to supplement it. Modern books are built on vocab topics, so if you use English File, facetoface, Total English or Cutting Edge, the unit is ready made for you including Teacher's Notes in the Teacher's Book. Advice no. 2 - Keep all you lesson plans and worksheets and file them under some sort of system, so you have an easy access to them when you need them. Number 3 - Use the same or similar plan for more lessons, recycle as often as possible. Four - Use the same book for similar classes (but not the one you mentioned!). Five - Use ready made lessons from or different resource books. Six - exchange lesson plans with your colleagues. Seven - Ask you Senior teacher or DOS or Mentor for help. Eight - never do for the students what they can do for you. You want to prepare a questionnaire on hobbies? Divide the students into groups and ask each group to come up with one question to the questionnaire. Ask each group to create the questionnaire, do not draw it for them. Want to talk about current affairs? Ask the students to bring in articles from the internet on topics they are interested in. do they want to focus on English for their job? Ask them to bring authentic materials from their office. They want to focus on writing? Ask them to send you/bring their English e-mails.However, you need to prepare. If they can see you do not make the effort, they won't, either.
Good luck,
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