We all understand that maintaining students' attention during comprehensible input activities is crucial for effective language acquisition.
One major reason students may struggle to stay engaged is if they find the content boring.
But by making our comprehensible input activities compelling, engaging, and relevant, we can transform the learning experience for our students.
I’m going to share with you some practical ideas on how you can pique your students’ interests and keep them on the edge of their seats!
1. Variety is the Spice of Language Learning
To counter the lack of interest, it's essential to introduce a variety of materials that go beyond traditional textbook passages.
Authentic texts such as magazine articles, newspaper clippings, or excerpts from novels and short stories can instantly pique students' curiosity.
These real-world sources provide a fresh perspective and show students that language learning extends far beyond the confines of the classroom.
You can make these authentic texts more accessible to your students using embedded-reading techniques.
By incorporating diverse materials, we expose students to different writing styles, genres, and cultural contexts, making the language input more engaging and relevant and allowing our students to be more global in their perspective.
2. Harnessing the Power of Multimedia
Multimedia resources have the potential to captivate students' attention and enhance their language comprehension.
Utilize videos, podcasts, songs, and documentaries to create an immersive learning experience.
Videos can bring visuals to life, making abstract concepts more tangible and memorable.
Podcasts and songs expose students to different accents, intonations, and idiomatic expressions, helping them develop listening skills.
Documentaries provide a window into various cultures, fostering intercultural understanding.
A few of my go-to’s are YouTube and Netflix. The beauty of both is that you can find resources in a multitude of languages along with subtitles in English or other languages.
You can also slow down the playback of both to a speed that might be more easily understood by your students.
Plus, what kid doesn’t like to watch YouTube or Netflix?
There’s such a variety of content that you’re bound to find something your students like.
3. Making it Relevant: Connecting Language Learning to Students' Lives
One surefire way to engage students is by making the language input relevant to their lives.
Tap into their passions, hobbies, and personal interests.
There’s nothing kids like to talk about more than about themselves and what they like.
So exploit this characteristic and find out all you can about your students so you can add these details to your lessons.
This is personalization at its finest.
For example, if you have a class of sports enthusiasts, incorporate sports-related content into your lessons.
Discuss recent matches, analyze player interviews, or even have them role-play as sports commentators.
By connecting the language input to their passions, you create a meaningful and engaging learning experience.
4. Interest Surveys and One-on-One Conversations
To truly understand what captivates your students, consider conducting interest surveys or engaging in one-on-one conversations.
Ask them about their hobbies, favorite books, movies, or any topics they find fascinating.
I have an entire class period dedicated to doing just this.
I love talking with my students in the target language and it’s a casual, stress-free day for them.
I then stockpile all the juicy info I get and find ways to incorporate it into my lessons.
I can create stories about them, include bits of info in assessments, or even in fun activities like student scavenger hunts!
There are so many ways you can use what the students tell you for a wide variety of activities and assignments.
One other idea that I did this past year was ask parents to give me some secret or funny tidbit about their child. I got lots of responses and used them all year long! So fun!
5. Incorporating Games and Interactive Activities
Games and interactive activities inject an element of fun and competition into classroom activities, captivating students' attention and boosting their engagement.
Consider incorporating language-learning games like vocabulary bingo, role-playing simulations, or online games like Gimkit and Blooket.
These activities not only provide a break from the routine but also create a positive learning environment where students actively participate and collaborate.
Game day is a reward I use for classes who save up enough points, but whenever I need a break and I want to change things up, I’ll throw in a game day for free!
Engaging students during comprehensible-input activities is an ongoing challenge.
We have to compete with so many different distractions from phones to Airpods to not getting enough sleep.
But we can work hard to engage our students using a variety of strategies to keep them interested and active participants in the classroom.
- Variety is the spice of language learning: Incorporate a diverse range of materials beyond traditional textbooks to make comprehensible input activities more engaging and relevant.
- Harness the power of multimedia: Utilize videos, podcasts, songs, and documentaries to create an immersive learning experience and cater to students' auditory and visual learning preferences.
- Make it relevant to students' lives: Connect language learning to their passions, hobbies, and personal interests to demonstrate the practicality and applicability of the language input.
- Conduct interest surveys and have one-on-one conversations: Understand students' interests on a deeper level to personalize comprehensible input activities and create content that resonates with them.
- Incorporate games and interactive activities: Inject fun and competition into comprehensible input activities through language-learning games, role-playing simulations, and quizzes to enhance engagement and participation.
Remember, by implementing these strategies, you can ignite engagement and inspire a love for language in your students.