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February 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 1

ISSN 1755-9715

Let’s Build a Tent and Learn

Joanna Czeredys is a freelancer cooperating with various private language schools and universities. She enjoys teaching both adults and senior students as well as international students. She has already run courses for Chinese, Ukrainian, Russian, and Turkish students. She is very keen to share knowledge and experience with other teachers. Email: czeredysjoanna@gmail.com

Nowadays it is a rush time preparing for summer courses and teachers strive for ideas to make lessons attractive and more enjoyable. Reading one of the latest issues of ETprofessional April 121 I came an idea of a use of a tent for YL  courses (Roland, 19). The idea seems to be easily transferrable to adult courses, but first let me explain the reasons why, then I will look at some pros and cons, finally I will give some solutions how it can be used during the lessons.

First of all, building a tent makes an already separated space for certain behaviours. In such an area students may feel more confident as there is a limited access to them. Such a situation  results in opening reluctant students; facilitates speaking, and encourages cooperation. Also working in a team in a tent advocates collaboration and enhances learning. It also gives power to students to take control over the process of learning. From the perspective of some students, learning in a restricted area boosts concentration, eliminates stress and as a result improves gaining educative goals.

On the other hand this closed area may intimidate some students; therefore it is important to make a relevant space for a tent. Also we have to consider the age and physical restraints of students to make tents available for each student in the classroom.

We, as teachers, have to remember to give very precise instructions, so the students work is efficient.

The other issue is the amount and quality of the materials provided as in tents we have less space to monitor; in fact it demands more time to supply materials in advance.

Activities that a tent can be used for are:

  • Dictogloss
  • Jigsaw reading
  • Interviews
  • Games checking vocabulary
  • Revision activities
  • Recording
  • Preparing infographics
  • Searching for information
  • Escape room

The question arises how to implement the idea.

The tent can be built immediately with the use of two chairs and some blanket or a big scarf; we can put spare chairs on tables and cover them, we can use as well shelves; the most important thing is to build a construction that is safe and the most similar to a tent. Then a tent can be used as an area to do exercises with already supplied materials by a teacher. You must give clear instructions.

Here are a few scenarios ready-to-be-used

  1. Preparation: Leave different QR codes in tents, deliver worksheets with tables to complete, Task: Ask students to scan QR codes and complete information- at this stage students go and visit tents and complete the information. Thanks to tents they are isolated and can independently work on the tasks, those students with deteriorated listening skills can have more time to complete the table and watch a video few times; unfortunately it can also stress some part of the students as there is time pressure to watch and other students can stay in queue to the tent; Follow up- discuss the answers; ask students to prepare own recorded speeches with the use of vocaroo.com
  2. Ask students to go in pairs to a tent and play a revision vocabulary game with the use of an application explayn.com
  3. Prepare old maid game replying on matching synonyms, antonyms, prepositions; ask students to play a game
  4. Give students a key word of a lesson. Ask them to write questions they would like to know about a given topic. Ask students to go to tents and with the use of Google Assistant find answers; ask students to sit in groups and share knowledge then ask them to mingle; finally share knowledge publicly
  5. Do exam preparation exercises for Speaking such as compare pictures – ask students to sit in pairs and compare and contrasts pictures; do mock interviews asking students to play a role of a student and an examiner with already prepared exam questions

These are some sample scenarios that can be easily adapted to a classroom; they give some fun and relaxed atmosphere to students; thus learning becomes more enjoyable. 

 

Sources

Roland, Chris Sharing spaces and sharing roles: increasing engagement ET professional 121

Articles published by Technology in English language teaching

 

Please check the Methodology and Language for Primary course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the How to Motivate Your Students course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Creative Methodology for the Classroom course at Pilgrims website.

Tagged Lesson Ideas 
  • Maximizing Speaking Opportunities with Mastermind Topics
    Hall Houston, Taiwan

  • Let’s Build a Tent and Learn
    Joanna Czeredys, Poland

  • Using Movies in Teaching Creative Writing to EFL Student
    Zeineb Haider, Libya