Getting students to give their undivided attention and focus during learning sessions would be the hardest task for almost every teacher. Forget about using the best method as it most likely won’t guarantee you success if one doesn’t know how to use it effectively.
What’s even harder is teaching language subjects. ‘Boring’, ‘not interested’, ‘it’s compulsory so, I have no choice but to learn this so I can pass the exam’, all these were the answers given by my friends when I ask them about English subject.
So, the question is how can you turn all that into an enjoyable experience? Below are the 4 methods to make language learning fun in the classroom.
As I have mentioned before, this article is the continuation of the previous article that attempts to take a look at a few things that could make children interested in learning a language from early an age. It doesn’t solely highlight kids, but also children or adults of any age.
I have read an article about a school in London, where the language subject will no longer be compulsory for children ages 14 to 16 years old. Let me quote what Nick Oulton, the managing director of the educational publisher Galore Park has to say about that
“Parents tell us that their children are learning vocabulary and phrases, but they can’t speak the language because they don’t know how to put sentences together.”
I can totally relate to that. I learned the Arabic language during my 1st year (semesters 1 and 2) and 2nd year (semester 1) at my university. I got good results during my 1st year, however, I’m not happy with it.
Once, our professor asked us to write a short and simple essay about why we want to study at the university where we attended. I just blankly stared at the paper not knowing how to write it out.
That was in my 2nd year and only then I realized that there was no point in getting good results when I don’t have the confidence to speak in Arabic, even worse, not knowing how to construct long sentences with my limited vocabulary.
I knew I should have focused more on speaking and vocabulary than grammar rules. Yes, you heard that right. When learning a new language, rather than striving for perfection, one should acquire a lot of vocabulary in order to construct grammatically correct sentences and start making conversation. Grammar is indeed very important, so does vocabulary.
Teenagers, the upgraded version of the kids are way worse because their parents don’t limit their access to the gadget. They can use it anytime, anywhere, and whenever they want.
For teachers, make use of this opportunity to add modern technologies to your classroom. Make your teaching sessions fun and keep your students interested using these methods.
As a teacher, you can’t use a single method only for delivering lessons. You must diversify your teaching techniques and the way you convey that knowledge so students don’t get bored and their focus will be directed to complete the tasks or activities provided by the teacher.
You can use Duolingo or Clozemaster for your classroom activity or when giving assignments. There is countless positive feedback from teachers who have been using this method as a supplement in their classrooms. Paul Magnuson, a teacher from Switzerland has documented his experience of using Dualingo in his class.
Don’t stop at that just yet. Use music as well to make it even more interesting and create a stress-free environment. Let them know that learning a second language can also be fun. Here’s how you can do it for your classroom activity.
- Choose 3 or more songs of different genres, from an old song to the latest song. Then, ask them to choose only one.
- Play the song and ask them to jot down words they knew.
- Or ask them to fill in the missing words from the song lyrics and let them define the meaning of each word.
- From the song, create a setlist of all words that are commonly used in daily life and let them guess and write the meaning of it. It’s a good thing to always relate whatever you’re teaching to real life. This by no means is a good way of adding more vocabulary. Children definitely can learn a lot about music.
Towards the end of the lesson, don’t forget to get feedback from the students about this type of activity. If you got lots of positive feedback, carry on with it. Check out this article regarding learning languages through music.
Ask for opinions from your students regarding what kind of activity they would like to do in the next lesson. Choose wisely and use your creativity to turn those suggestions into something fun and fits with your lesson plans. This shows them you valued their opinions and sees that you’re trying to create a better and stress-free environment for them using their methods.
Once, my English teacher brought a CD called The Shawshank Redemption and let us watch the movie. Once we have finished, she gave us a comprehension sheet with questions about the movie. The purpose of it was to see if we paid attention to what we watched and heard. Then, she asked how the movie was and whether we should continue with this type of activity.
It could be music, movies, sports, and TV series, and so on and so forth. All you have to do is connect all these to have better engagements.
Each student has different expectations when it comes to learning something. To make that expectation a motivator, ask them to write down things or even better short-term goals they would do once or if they have mastered the target language. I bet this one would be on their list – to be able to understand their favorite shows without having to rely on the subtitles.
The most important thing you as teachers must emphasize is what other possibilities languages can bring. Don’t just tell them. In fact, show them something real, things they can do with just learning a language.
Another thing you can do to make language learning more effective is by creating the ‘no other languages are allowed in this session’ kind of rule. The purpose is to familiarize the students to speak in the target language. It doesn’t matter if it’s broken so long as they don’t speak other languages.
So, what do you think of those 4 methods to make language learning fun in the classroom? I’m sure you all have your own teaching methods. Why not share with us below so we can try. The more choices we have, the better.