Learning English as a Second Language can be a battle. Sometimes, it is difficult to stimulate students to remain motivated, due to the challenges they face, perhaps balancing work and study, or feeling daunted by the complicated nature of the English Language.
As teachers of ESL, there are ways of making ESL learning fun. Here are some suggestions:
*Play interactive games, whether in a classroom, or one-on-one tutoring environment. Ideas can include scrabble, or lucky dip, using a bag containing spelling words, or conversation or writing topics. Or you can use a shoe-box for "Pick a Box", so students can choose a lucky envelope with a spelling word, or writing or discussion topic.
* You can virtually adapt any board or TV game to enable learning English skills. For games such as Jeopardy, you can use play money as a motivator. Determine how much each student can 'win', by answering questions or spelling words correctly. Even 'hangman' is a good fun interactive way of learning new ...
~~Writing is a complex process that encourages thinking and learning. Once learners realize that writing is a process that does not have to be right first time they are more willing to experiment, explore, revise and edit.
Activity 1: Simple Description with Visuals
Have learners examine a picture and ask them to identify the objects in it. Then have them write a paragraph to describe the picture.
Activity 2: Completing a Description Paragraph
Have learners examine a picture and complete a description paragraph. For example: Learners look at a picture and complete the following paragraph:
Mary lives in a very nice room. In her room, there is a ——, ——, and a ——. There are also several ——. There are no ——, but Mary does have some ——. She wants to get a —— for her wall and a —— for the desk this afternoon when she goes shopping.
Alternatively focus the learners on function words by having them complete the paragraph by supplying prepositions and/or expressions required by the context. ...
~~Whatsit: "Whatsit" uses verbs or nouns. Have one learner sit with their back to the board and another learner writes or draws a mystery word they all know on the board (word cards can be used to prompt where necessary). The guesser must then ask questions to guess the word using “whatsit” in place of the unknown word e.g. if verbs are being used: "Can you whatsit?", "When do you whatsit?" If nouns are being used: "Can you eat a whatsit?", "Can you wear a whatsit?" etc
Forbidden Words: Write three ‘forbidden’ words on the board, e.g. blue, car, night. Have one learner volunteer and the rest of the class asks questions to try and get them to use the forbidden words. E.g. S2 - What colour is my shirt? S1 – It’s the colour of the sky S2 – When do you sleep? S1 – When it is dark. Etc.
Words from Words: Write a fairly long English word on the board. Set a time limit of 3-5 min. In pairs learners make as many words as they can using only the letters of the word on the board. E.g. ...
~~Stand up/Sit Down: Young children enjoy this simple game. Give a command and the children respond as quickly as possible. Then give the wrong command i.e. stand up when they are already standing etc. This can be adapted into a Simon Say type game where the children respond only when the caller says ‘please’. Children can take the teacher’s role.
Greetings Theatre: Every lesson should begin with greeting but they can also be used as an acting/drama game. Have two or more children walking around the table in opposite directions. When they meet each other they must greet each other. This can be extended to incorporate other QAs. Note: ‘Theatre’ should be an event rather than random. Have the learners who are not participating to sit at one end of the room as an audience, they could clap in time, teacher ‘sells popcorn’ etc. Make sure all learners get a chance to perform.
Alphabet Relay: Line up the learners in two teams as far from the board as possible. The first person in each team ...