A teacher’s dream is to have all students engaged in learning and enjoying the lesson. While this is a noble goal, and we should continue to work toward it, the reality is that we are competing with a lot for our students’ attention. To help boost your odds of success with student interaction, here are four high-interest elements you’ll want to include in your classroom.
- Field trips
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take our students to visit cultural landmarks and museums? We could bring to life the majesty of Machu Picchu, the exquisiteness of the Eiffel Tower, and the history of Hamburg. Of course, our time and budgets don’t exactly allow for international field trips, but thanks to technology, we can take students on virtual field trips across the globe.
As teachers, we understand the importance of reaching our students by appealing to their interests, and for many students, that includes art. Integrating fine art in the classroom can be as simple as creating displaysthat combine target words (colors, shapes, nouns) with visuals from target-language artists. Artwork also expresses culture in a way that words cannot; it’s a product that conveys a particular perspective while also allowing students the space to explore their own interpretations.
Not only is music an entertaining way to introduce students to the target culture, but it’s also a wonderful way to practice grammar and vocabulary. Teachers can use song lyrics to engage students by exposing them to authentic materials, which are easily adapted for their levels. The same song can be used for novice learners through advanced learners, with the teacher changing the activity to suit the lesson and the students’ needs.
Food is an integral part of our everyday lives. When we think about sharing our culture with a visitor, one of the first things that comes to mind is sharing a meal with them. Setting aside one or two days during the school year for tasting and experiencing food from target cultures may involve some preparation, but it pays off in the end. Appealing to all five senses will boost learning and provide students with memorable experiences they’ll want to share with others.
By Kelli Drummer-Avendano