Taking Advantage of Movement in Your ESL Classes

By Published On: April 7th, 2016

Even though moving the human body in a class to help the learning process is a lot more prevalent in young student classes, there are nearly as many known reasons for bringing it in to adult classes too. It really is perhaps most commonly viewed as a pleasant break from studying and sitting around, or even a way of awakening pupils. More significant, though, is the very fact that being able to move our bodies while reading and listening is really a great way of learning.

There can also be a caveat, nevertheless. There is certainly the risk of some courses and pupils not having a very good reaction to any game-like activities in the ESL course that you offer, not to mention being requested to stand out of their chair and wave their arms. Courses where you may need to introduce TPR-style activities late, with care or maybe not at all include ones by which:

  • Sometimes people will complain about the use of games, or a pupil makes such complaints become a likely scenario
  • There have been complaints more broadly speaking and the students may be searching for another thing to complain about
  • Trust between the teacher and students will not be obtained (e.g. because it really is a brand new course) or lost (e.g. because of some questions the teacher was not in a position to reply)
  • The combination of sex, age or status may make people especially embarrassed
  • Some thing about the course, e.g. it being Business English or assessment prep, might make them anticipate a more severe approach
  • Activities where they already have moved such as miming
  • There is certainly a possibility of individuals who are perhaps not in the class seeing the miming etc going on, e.g. via an office window

Strategies that still may enable one to use motion in such courses include:

  • Asking students to work in pairs or threes instead of standing up in the front of the class
  • Selecting the motion that will be made carefully so that there is certainly nothing which will be especially awkward
  • The first time that you use movement, make certain it has been something that has a use that is quite apparent, such as for example gestures in various nations or body language in job interviews
  • Using movement for some thing that pupils are really fighting with, e.g. the difference between “will” and “planning to” for forecasts, and in a manner that clearly helps
  • Having an extended introduction where in fact the teacher may be the one on the move, starting with simple actions but including ones which really are just a little silly to ensure that pupils will never be astonished when they need to do one of these things within their group later
  • Moving fast from moving to a far more serious point
  • Making use of movement as a way of learning language from the classroom
  • Always be careful to keep in mind whether moving is really the most readily useful way to provide a good environment for practicing English.

Having said all the preceding, I have used movement in many of my Newark English courses and in my English courses in Orlando without the reason given or complaints received, and would usually recommend explaining what you’re doing in a very gentle way to reduce any issues. In addition to being enjoyable and a good warmer exercise for the class, it really is a good general method of learning language that pupils may also have the ability to use outside of their course, and is the better means of practising and presenting certain language points. When it is done correctly my starting place is that most ESL classes should probably move around in the course of time, and that most definitely includes timid students. Try it in your class and see for yourself just how much it can help!

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