Extra Classroom Teaching
Tips for Pre - Intermediate Students / taken from EnglishFile ,
Oxford University Press
Students repeating together after you to drill the pronunciation of new
words, intonation, etc. is still very useful and confidence-building at
elementary level. A lively chorus can also wake a sleepy class and
provides a change of pace and focus. Mix whole class repetition with
asking individuals to repeat after you to check.
visual whenever possible
Flashcards, magazine pictures, board drawings, mime, and gesture are all
still very relevant at this level to put across meaning and set up
student practice. The more visual your language presentations are, the
more memorable they will be for your students. Build up your own library
of magazine pictures (e.g. of famous people, activities, etc.). Cover
them with plastic for long life.
about your board work
is your main teaching aid. Think how best to use it. Write clearly, and
make sure students copy correctly. Tell them when and when not to write
things down. Always mark the stress on new poly-syllabic words. Try to
remember to write up new vocabulary in sentences. Plan grammar
explanations beforehand and decide what you want to highlight, using
coloured chalk/pens. Leave one section of the board clear for new
It's crucial that students understand what they have to do. Always give
instructions in English first but check in L1 if it's a complicated
activity. A useful technique is to explain in English then choose a
student at random to say in L1 what he/she thinks they have to do. It's
vital to check everyone knows what they have to do before you start an
activity, especially A-B pairwork activities. Demonstrate activities
yourself taking the part of e.g. Student A and getting the class or an
individual student to take the part of B. Don't be afraid of stopping
and starting again if you realise an activity is going wrong.
your students to be good learners
There are many things students can do to help themselves to learn more
efficiently. Encourage students to:
- buy a file and organize it into sections
- buy a good dictionary
- do homework regularly
- revise regularly and copy up notes taken in class
- have a 'handout partner' to take copies for each other and who they
can ring to get homework when ill, etc.
- find someone to practise English with outside class and do homework
together (e.g. a student that lives near them or who arrives at school
Emphasize the importance of students doing their homework. Don't set
homework just after the bell goes - allow time to tell students what you
want them to do. It's a good idea to set aside a few minutes every class
to correct exercises and feedback problems. Find out why students aren't
doing homework where this is the case. Encourage them to do some 'oral
homework' too, e.g. saying words and phrases aloud, testing another
student on vocabulary, or just talking to each other in English.
students to learn vocabulary
vocabulary load in first year was very restricted - in second year there
is an increased memory load. Stress the importance of revising
vocabulary regularly and make sure students do this by giving frequent
short vocabulary tests. Teach students ways of testing themselves and
each other on vocabulary groups.
your students to use a bilingual dictionary
Make sure students have got a good bilingual dictionary. Teach the
typical abbreviations and give them practice in looking up words. Being
able to recognize some phonetic symbols, especially vowels and the seven
consonants which are different from letters of the alphabet will help
students to get the most out of their dictionary.
students to read
is the key to
vocabulary extension and can greatly increase students' weekly contact
with English. Try to get students to read at least three readers a term.
listening a positive experience
For many students
listening, especially to cassettes, is a stressful activity. Make
students feel they have achieved something in listening activities, and
give plenty of encouragement. Prepare well for listening exercises: set
the counter at zero, check your equipment, and always play the tape as
many times as students need. Use yourself as a motivating source of
listening practice - tell personal anecdotes that reinforce a language
point. Train students to listen carefully to each other in pair and
group work and emphasize that this is another important source of
Make English the language of the classroom
Talk naturally with contractions but not too fast, and repeat as often
as necessary, especially at the beginning of the course. Phase out your
use of students' L1 gently. At the same time, you should avoid overload
and you could still use students' L1 to clarify doubts especially with
grammar explanations. Students should know they can say 'Can I speak (Italian)?'
if they have a problem. You could also put key classroom phrases up
around the class.
students to talk in English as much as possible
Always look for ways to personalize and get students to give their
opinions. In pairwork speaking activities get students to ask follow-up
questions when their partner responds to a question, i.e. to ask another
question. This is the main advance from beginner level where students
cannot normally go beyond the question-answer stage. Put students in
pairs whenever possible so they have to at least formulate words orally
together, e.g. when answering an exercise.
mistakes is an important part of language-learning. Students naturally
like being corrected but it can be very demotivating if every time they
say anything the teacher corrects or improves it! Obviously, at certain
stages, e.g. controlled practice of new language, mistakes must be
picked up and corrected, but in freer activities encourage students to
keep talking to build confidence and fluency.
students to work on their pronunciation
Don't aim too high and give plenty of encouragement. Students'
pronunciation doesn't have to be perfect but it needs to be sufficiently
clear for communication and for students' own confidence.
have the book open all the time
Often the best
moments in classes are when books are closed and attention focused on
the teacher or on a surprise activity. Use warmers, books-closed
presentations, or photocopiable activities to give variety to your
As students' knowledge of English increases, revision becomes even more
essential as it becomes increasingly harder for them to remember
everything they know. Recycle grammar and vocabulary constantly, and
encourage students to test themselves and each other. Always
revise what you did in the previous lesson.