Let's face it, keeping our students engaged during comprehensible input activities can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle.
When the energy wanes and boredom sets in, it's time to shake things up and inject some serious fun into our lessons.
After all, engaged students are more likely to retain information and make progress in their language acquisition journey.
So, let’s not commit fun-o-cide and ignite more engagement in our language classrooms!
The Boredom Blues: Why Engagement Matters
We've all been there, haven't we?
The moment when you look out into the classroom and see students with that glazed-over look, desperately longing for something to capture their attention.
But fear not!
The key to overcoming boredom is to infuse our comprehensible input activities with excitement and variety.
When students are engaged and invested in their learning, they become active participants, eager to absorb the language input we provide.
Embrace the Power of Variety
The first step in banishing boredom is to embrace the power of variety.
Gone are the days of repetitive worksheets and monotonous drills.
It's time to unleash our creativity and cater to the diverse learning styles of our students.
1. Storytelling Magic
Who doesn't love a good story? Whether it's a suspenseful tale, a funny anecdote, or a personal experience, storytelling has the power to captivate our students' imaginations and make language learning come alive. Get animated, use expressive gestures, and let the story unfold before their eyes. I’ve often even told stories about things in my life that kids have asked about or find interesting. I just do it in the target language and they’re sitting on the edge of their seats thinking they got away with something! :)
2. Group Discussions: Let the Voices Be Heard
Engagement flourishes when students have the opportunity to express themselves and share their thoughts and opinions.
Incorporate group discussions into your comprehensible input activities, providing a platform for students to engage in meaningful conversations using the target language.
Encourage active participation, listen to their ideas, and foster an environment where everyone's voice is valued.
For me, I do this during our novel-reading periods. I like to choose novels that have themes and topics we can discuss. It makes the novels more real for my students.
3. Acting: Lights, Camera, Action!
Step onto the stage and let your students unleash their inner actors! I often have students act out stories or scenes from novels to allow them to put their language skills into action while having a blast in the process.
Assign roles, direct, and engage with the actors, and watch as their creativity and confidence shine.
4. Game On: Learning Disguised as Fun
Who says learning can't be a game?
Incorporating interactive games and activities into our comprehensible input activities not only adds an element of excitement but also reinforces language skills in a playful way.
Whether it's language-related board games, word puzzles, trivia quizzes, or digital learning games, gamification has the power to turn a mundane lesson into an exhilarating adventure.
You can turn just about any game into a language one with a little thought. I’ve used Twister, Battleship, Pictionary to name a few. Plus there are those games that were designed for languages: flyswatter, Pancho Camancho, bingo, etc.
5. Visuals, Props, and Real-life Scenarios: Bring the Real World In
Let's transport our students from the confines of the classroom to the vibrant real world.
Visual aids, props, and real-life scenarios have the incredible ability to immerse our students in authentic experiences.
From maps and photos to objects and cultural artifacts, these tangible resources help them make connections, spark curiosity, and bring the language to life.
One fun activity that my students truly enjoy is virtual city tours. I pull up Google Maps and we tour the city from Street View looking at the various locations, museums, and tourist attractions while discussing it all in the target language. Fun!
Keep the Energy Flowing
Now that we've discovered some exciting ways to banish boredom, it's important to keep the energy flowing in our language classrooms. Here are a few additional tips to ensure engagement remains high:
- Celebrate Success: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your students. Whether it's a small milestone or a significant breakthrough, acknowledging their progress boosts their motivation and keeps the excitement alive. You’d be surprised how a simple high-five can put a smile on a kid’s face!
- Personalize the Learning Experience: Get to know your students' interests, hobbies, and aspirations. Incorporate topics and materials that resonate with their passions, making the language input more relevant and engaging. If you do this through conversations, you’re getting to know the students THROUGH language. Win-Win!
- Create a Supportive Learning Environment: Foster a classroom atmosphere where students feel safe to take risks and express themselves. Encourage collaboration, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and foster a sense of belonging among your students.
- Use Technology Wisely: Integrate technology into your comprehensible input activities to enhance engagement. From interactive language-learning apps to multimedia resources, leverage the power of technology to make the learning experience more immersive and enjoyable. The key to using technology in the classroom is not to use it for technology sake, but to find ways to incorporate it naturally that enhance the class.
- Stay Curious and Open-minded: Keep exploring new teaching methods, resources, and approaches. Attend professional development workshops, connect with fellow educators, and stay curious about the latest trends in language education. Embrace continuous learning and be open to fresh ideas that can take your classroom engagement to the next level.
The Adventure Begins!
Let's remember that our enthusiasm and passion are contagious.
Our students look up to us for inspiration, guidance, and a touch of that infectious energy. If you’re not excited, neither are your students.
Are you ready to leave boredom behind and embark on an engagement revolution in your language classroom?
Buckle up because the fun has just begun!
- Embrace variety: Infuse your comprehensible input activities with a mix of storytelling, group discussions, role plays, and games to keep students engaged and excited about learning.
- Create a supportive environment: Foster a classroom atmosphere where students feel safe to express themselves, take risks, and collaborate with their peers.
- Personalize the learning experience: Incorporate topics and materials that align with your students' interests, hobbies, and aspirations to make the language input more relevant and engaging.
- Use technology wisely: Integrate technology into your activities to enhance engagement, leverage language-learning apps and multimedia resources to create an immersive learning experience.
- Stay curious and open-minded: Continuously explore new teaching methods, attend professional development workshops, and connect with fellow educators to discover fresh ideas and approaches that can elevate classroom engagement.