By Monika Salita
@monikasalita, about.me

Speak My Language: Resources for Teaching English as a Foreign Language – Part 1

Diving into the task of doing work we’re passionate about, teaching English, yet may not have a lot of work experience in, can be a daunting task for new and experienced teaching assistants alike. This is where resources come in.

My go-to resource during my teaching séjour in France was the Assistants in France forum. This forum served as a great tool from which to learn about the details of living abroad and, more importantly, to share information on lesson planning, discussing ideas that worked and others that didn’t. It’s easy to come across gems such as this Best Lesson Plans document.

In reading various posts, I also learned that games are a great way to directly involve students with their learning. Charged with invigorating the learning of my high school students, I found that some of their favorite language learning games were those which split them into teams and pitted one team against the other(s). The students seemed to really enjoy some healthy competition.

Example games include:

-After being given certain language components to include in the story, à la Mad Libs, writing the most creative and grammatically correct story as a group. The team with the most diverse and grammatically correct story wins. This can serve as a great way to review parts of speech, spelling and writing composition.

-Having one team member pick up a card with vocabulary items of different parts of speech written on the reverse side, and having to use only gestures to describe the word to the teammates. The team with the most words guessed correctly in the time limit wins. This game is a great way to have students think on their feet and, at the end of the game, the class can review words that they passed on or didn’t guessed correctly. The teacher can use this as a benchmark for gauging student comprehension.

Other worthwhile resources include The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), which gives a wealth of information on writing and language structure for users at multiple comprehension levels. Language learning wikis are also helpful.

Quality resources abound. It just takes a bit of searching and creativity to find them.

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