Innovative methods for teaching English in a secondary school classroom


Innovative methods for teaching English in a secondary school classroom

English is a notoriously difficult language to master, meaning English teachers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to make lessons fun and engaging.

Once pupils reach secondary school, they start to tackle some of the more complex elements of English, but with the written word all around them, there’s plenty of resources at a teacher’s disposal.

Here we take a look at some of the more innovative ways of exploring the English language in a secondary school classroom, from role play through to new ways of encouraging discussion…

Balance the use of technology

It may sound like a simple approach, but with the prevalent use of phones and laptops, many youngsters rely on technology to correct mistakes and to help them write.

By removing this technology, they can be forced to consider why they are saying what they are and to put the methodology into practice.

Pupils will learn as they work and there’s plenty of opportunities to provide feedback, enabling a constant process of development.

At the same time, some online learning platforms can provide students with valuable support, especially if they are struggling to grasp certain theory or reasoning.

In these instances, encourage pupils to take advantage of the technology at their disposal, as the change of approach may enhance their understanding.

Creative ways of starting discussion

As a language subject, a fantastic way of developing English skills comes via discussion and debate in the classroom.

English teachers can facilitate these discussions in a wide number of ways, from posing vast open-ended questions around world topics such as sustainability or climate change, through to ‘what if…’ scenarios with a range of outcomes.

This encourages pupils to express themselves and to apply elements of English learning to real-life situations.

To take things a step further, pupils could be asked to act out their answers or to deliver them via role play in front of the class – this can help to bring to life what they are saying and to stimulate further discussion.

An alternative is to invite speakers and guests into classroom to encourage discussion through thought-provoking talks and presentations.

Look to be authentic

From newspaper cuttings to digital news stories, there’s plenty of information out there, and thanks to the internet more becomes available by the day.

These authentic resources enable secondary school English teachers to use topics of interest within daily classroom work, which tends to boost pupil engagement.

Whether it is YouTube videos or news channels, pupils could be asked to recreate what they see, to discuss it, or to analyse it against a set of differing ideas or criteria.

By mixing up the resources used, English teachers can ensure that no two lessons are the same and that there are numerous opportunities to make the learning memorable.

Think about the classroom space

The learning environment makes a big difference to how pupils learn and it’s important for it to be dynamic where possible.

Secondary school English teachers should give thought to how their classroom is laid out, as ideally the set-up will enable space for individual working at times, as well as for group work and collaborative learning.

This might be achieved by simply moving a few tables, or you might want to have certain spaces which are dedicated for certain tasks so that pupils can easily concentrate.

By thinking outside-of-the-box, it should be possible to create an environment which can enhance language teaching.

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