An individual approach
Have you ever left a language lesson, as
a student, feeling that the content of the lesson wasn't relevant
to you? Maybe sometimes our students feel the same. One of
the jobs we have when dealing with groups is to cater to the
individual within that group. We need to work on meeting each
individual's language needs & interests. You might help
- trying to meet each individual's needs & interests at
some time & try & make them aware that you are doing
it. When planning think carefully about the individuals you
have in the group.
- correcting the individual in oral activities.
- giving feedback on written work - make it more than just
correction & add in a few comments about progress or something
that came up in the last lesson.
- writing comments on learner diaries - create a dialogue.
- giving tutorials & spending time with each individual.
It is their time with you.
- 'micro-teaching' - when the students are involved in a task,
take the opportunity to go round & do some teaching to
the pairs & teach them different ways of saying what they're
saying or introduce some vocabulary that they might find useful
in that particular discussion.
- letting your students work at their own pace - can be tricky
if all working through the same material or activity but ...
- giving individualised homework - direct the individual to
different sources so they can work on areas of weakness or
Each individual is different so try not to
be misled by the coursebook culture that clubs everyone together.
to the contents
Arouse, confront, dare, stimulate, provoke...
1. v. accost, arouse, beard, brave, call out, claim,
confront, dare, defy, demand, dispute, face off (Sl.),
impugn, investigate, object to, provoke, question, require,
stimulate, summon, tackle, tax, test, throw down the
from the Collins English Thesaurus
Are you challenging your students
to think enough in class? What do you mean by challenge, you
think, there are several kinds of challenge. 'Mental effort'
- is there a lot of mental effort on the part of the learner?
Sounds obvious really but think about it. How much do you
plan this into your lessons? It is quite easy to run through
a lesson & hand it all on a plate, just as it is easy
to make everything too difficult & consequently frustrating
for all. Planning is the key.
Here are a few areas where mental effort
can be incorporated:
1. Get your students to work out rules for
themselves - guide them towards the rules. If in doubt get
a colleague to work out the rules from your examples to see
if it's possible. Some rules you just have to give but for
the majority the students can be
2. Getting the students to think when involved in the practice
activities rather than reading aloud a dialogue on the board
or from the coursebook. Give prompts instead.
3. Give the students time to think about what they are going
to say in freer speaking activities. See the
Tip 'Promoting specific language use in freer oral activities'.
4. In reading activities, if appropriate, get the students
to work out the meaning of the vocab from the context. Get
them to work out their own tasks to give to each other.
5. With listenings, give the tapescripts & hand over the
tape recorder for the students to work our where they had
problems. See the
Tip 'Listening Analysis'.
If presenting language from the tape see
the Tip 'Lifting
6. Clearly, as mentioned above, too much mental effort will
have the opposite effect & fry their brains by the time
they leave the lesson. A judicious balance of heavy &
lighter activities is needed.
7. Correction - in both speaking & writing, instead of
you giving the correction, get the student to think about
it & tell you.
One way of maximising the effectiveness of your students'
time in class!
to the contents
money are in the air!
This week there's
a lesson plan centred around the 14th February. The lesson
begins with some Valentine card verse, which would be ideal
for working on rhythm. The reading from the Guardian wesite
is titled, 'Avoid the great Valentine rip-off', & is about
the price rises in this romantic week & the huge amounts
that we spend. The text can be exploited for the vocabulary,
the tenses & some conditionals. Follow up activities include
roleplays. Click on the image:
the Past Teaching Tips