I had a long and tiring day today, but I wanted to post something positive because it's been a few days and the time's come for fresh dispatches...
Knowing 2 or 5 things about your students can pay dividends when it comes to catching their attention. Last week's lesson about pronouns that I did with the MS 2nd graders underscores this point.
I saw that the girls were studying reflexive and intensive pronouns in one part of their current chapter, so I based the lesson around those two ideas. The PPT slides had many example sentences and simple explanations of what reflexive and intensive meant. It also had plenty of pictures. A lesson like this needs plenty of pictures to work because otherwise the students would get lost in the grammar.
Enter Kpop. My kids are nuts for their bands. The 2nd graders love B1A4 and BAP in particular, and knowing this helped them a grammar point. I'd included a picture of B1A4 and had written the caption They call themselves B1A4 over the top of it. Such a picture would make explaining what themselves meant a bit easier, and it did. As soon as they saw the slide, the kids erupted like it was Beatlemania. One girl who calls herself Lady Gaga jumped out of her seat and ran up to the screen to proclaim her favorite member. "Him! My favorite!" she exclaimed, and as soon as she did, I had to quell a growing disagreement on how looked the best. (Such is life in the classroom. The girls will talk and talk if given the opportunity)
The next slide about 2NE1 drove the point home. They were ready for the handout and speaking activities after that. So, as ESL teachers, we'd best get to know our students because we can use their interests in lessons. Doing so serves two purposes: it helps with the students relating to the content and it also brings their world into the classroom. This is a powerful thing because it shows that we can learn from anything in the world. For jaded teenagers, it may show that the school need not be a boring place. Actually, those two things work well for both the regular classroom and the ESL classroom, but for us ESL teachers it shows that we know something of Korean culture. Knowing a bit about how Korea works also pays off over here.
Rock and roll it