Hitch your wagon to a starHow to impress, encourage, and motivate your students using unconventional ways [Archives:2009/1222/Education]

January 5 2009

Mohammed Alfadhel
[email protected]
M.A. in English Literature
Alandalus University

In my view, the most difficult moment for almost all teachers is having to impress and stimulate their students from the very outset. As such, teachers need be creative and imaginative as well. In this article I would like to propose and recommend some extremely important guidelines so as to make teachers' lectures substantially lively and appealing, whether teaching literature or linguistics.

First and foremost, it is essential to stress a known fact that in order to attract our students, we need to update our information regularly and keep pace with the changes taking place in this field of study. To achieve this objective, we need to adopt different approaches without having to worry about covering the course in a given amount of time or having to fully abide by the prescribed course since our ultimate goal is to make teaching of English language more appealing.

To give a clear picture, I will disclose the secret of the most successful recipe I have always used in my classes, with the ingredients added. Firstly, teachers need to be self motivated and enthusiastic to encourage their students to compete and make the atmosphere more challenging. Secondly, after serving the meal, we can present some appetizers such as riddles, jokes, and games, or adopt unconventional methods which have guaranteed results and impact on all students, regardless of their levels and interests. It is needless to say that using these aids as a means of stimulating will prompt students to adore English language to a degree that will make your lesson more enjoyable and productive. Furthermore, you will always be remembered as a dedicated and committed teacher.

Let me explain these points in some detail using the following examples: Using riddles (questions with a surprise answer).

1- Why do you go to bed? Ans. Because the bed can't come to me.

2- What seven letters did a man say when he opened his wallet and found nothing in it?

Ans. O- I-C-U-R-M-T

3-Why do birds fly south in the winter? Ans. Because it's too far to walk.

4- Why did the boy bring a ladder to school? Ans. He thought it was a high school.

Using jokes:

Customer: Excuse me. There's a fly in my soup.

Waiter: Don't worry; sir the spider on your bread will eat it.

Using games: Here is one which is very interesting that I always employ on the first day I teach. You need to choose one of your students asking him, “Are you good at math?” If he replied, 'yes,' tell him you can guess his age. Here are the steps:

1- Ask this candidate to take out a small slip of paper and to choose any number without telling any one.

2- Tell him to multiply this number which you don't know yet, by 2.

3- Tell him to add 5 to the total

4-Tell him to multiply it by 50.

5- Tell him to add his age which you don't know.

6- Tell him to give you the total.

Now subtract the total from 250 and tell him his age.

Teaching Robert Frost's “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

You need to provide a setting to illustrate the magical view using the internet, photocopy this view and distribute to each student. Tell your students to close their eyes and imagine they are in these charming woods. Bring a tape recorder and play a soft music to set the scene. Bring the poem recorded on a tape by a native speaker. Now your students are physically and emotionally ready to respond to and take an active role in the class. Ask them how they feel to see the snow falling. Read the poem yourself and explain involving all your students.

In fact, the aforementioned examples are not only beneficial but also essential to adopt as long as they break the ice and enhance students' understanding and enjoyment. In conclusion, I hope that my fellow teachers find these examples of some help to enliven their classes and eliminate boredom from them.