Physical Activity in the Classroom
You can ask your young students, “Do you have bored, sleepy students? Yes? I used to.”
Then, start designing activities that got students moving around the classroom.
Here are a few of the reasons why this works.
New Partners by Moving Around
Students will usually pick the same partners every class. Making your students get up out of their seats forces them to interact with some different people and hear different accents, grammar and vocabulary when they’re doing ESL speaking activities.
People who don’t necessarily know each other that well will more likely speak English to each other because it would just be awkward to go against the teacher’s wishes with someone they don’t know very well!
Wake Up through Physical Activity!
Have students get up out of their seats helps out the sleepy people. Standing up and walking around breaks up the tedium of the sitting and is a good way to have a mini-break in class but still get your EFL students to speak English.
Moving around the Classroom is Fun and Novel
When students have to walk around the classroom, interacting with their classmates, they get excited about it for some reason. I’m not really sure why but I see a lot of smiles and laughs.
Maybe it’s the novelty of actually speaking English to each other in a way that is non-threatening and pretty chilled out. Or, finding out a few random bits of information about their classmates.
Error Correction and Follow Up is Easy
Walk around, give some feedback and supervise in a less obvious way.
At the end of the activity give some group feedback. You’ll notice that by the end of the semester all your classes will have been much better at this type of thing because of your feedback each time (practise it!) For example, I would say:
“You were very good at talking to everybody, but I heard a lot of you speaking Ukrainian!”
“Your speaking was very good but why did you write your answers in Ukrainian? It’s time for practicing English, writing and speaking!”
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