One of the most wonderful and desirable things in teaching students a foreign language is that while teaching you always have an opportunity to get to know something new as well. That is why it is a very worth-while skill to encourage your students to know more. I use the following ideas to raise students’ interest.
1. Associagram (or ‘Spidergram’). It is one of the ways I usually call ‘cheap but good’. Whenever I am full of ideas of creating it with my students, or if I have no ideas at all, spidergram is always at service. Once it happened with me, when I was teaching topic ‘Travel’ for Business English students. It appeared that I was not quite aware of the target vocabulary myself, because I had not experienced a lot of air travel, just for example. And spidergram was a nice chance for me to elicit vocabulary and to pre-test students.
2. Quotation. With regards to my previous posts, you can guess it is the most popular way to do whatever I am supposed to. Quotations are authentic, they involve new words, they serve as a good way to start a lesson, or, to wrap up a lesson as well, and if I need to teach a topic I sometimes provide students with a quotation. It can be a whole one, or a part of it, and students need to guess about the remaining part. At any rate, it is one of the simplest ways of raising students’ interest.
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.
Robert H. Schuller
I chose this quotation when teaching ‘Decision Making’ for Business English students. After showing the whole quotation I let students discuss it and then we were ready to move on.
3. A picture or a set of pictures. There are many apps which help you to create a photo collage. I very often use them to create collages and to show students. In doing so I can ask them to predict the topic of our lesson (or the aim, for instance). This happened with topic “Entertainment”. I prepared a collage with 4 places of interest which could be nice to visit in our native town Sergiev Posad and showed it to students (1. Urban Museum. 2. Russian-style restaurant. 3. Museum of Toys. 4. Saint Sergius Trinity Monastery). I was asking questions like: what can you see on this pictures? How are these places related to each other? If you were a visitor, which place would you go to? Which place would you recommend?
4. Questions. Not so long ago I prepared a material about Easter in the UK and we discussed it with my General English students. To raise students’ interest I asked a few questions about Easter, about its symbols and traditions, about our country’s traditions of celebrating it. After that we moved on to reading and speaking about this holiday.
What are you favourite ways of raising interest? I would be happy to read yours.
Thank you for reading!