Teach English in Miluo Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines education as "the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction." The means in which education is received or given is as important as what is being taught or learned. Studies show that children are more involved in the lesson if the use of a textbook is at the minimum and more activities are involved in the classroom. The Unit 17 of the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course mentions about many equipment and teaching aids that can be used in the classroom like visual aids, worksheets, computers etc. The various teaching aids and equipment can provide many benefits to the students of English language. Outdoor activities can be incorporated in a lesson as well, to add more variety to the learning and teaching process. Many schools around the world are adopting the Activity Based Learning (ABL) approach for their students, to make lessons livelier and more interesting. Through this essay, using examples, I aim to investigate and discuss the benefits and importance of outdoor activities in teaching English. Below are some examples: Elicitation: In Unit 3 of the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course, we learn about the theories, methods and techniques of teaching English. The unit mentions that in the ESA way of teaching, elicitation is a very important step. Elicitation is a method used by the teacher to get learners to respond. It can be done using various techniques, one of which is realia. The teacher can take the students outdoor and show them objects to make the students identify what the object is. This can be used for beginners. Parts of speech: Outdoor activities can also be used to teach parts of speech to the students. Nouns can be taught to students by making them name the things around them. For example - the teacher can tell them that they are in a park. Park is a common noun. The name of that particular park is Victoria Park, that is a proper noun. The bus driver drove them to the park (compound noun). Similarly, adjectives can also be taught to the students. Each student picks an object of his choice and describes it in as much detail as he can. For the students of the elementary to intermediate levels, the teacher can modify the activity a little. The teacher divides the students into teams, the students pick an object of their choice, they describe it using adjectives and the other students guess what object is being described. The team that guesses the maximum number of objects correctly wins. Vocabulary: One great way to teach vocabulary to students is by playing a game of Scavenger Hunt outdoors. The teacher gives a list to the students with some words on it. The students identify objects relating to the words on the list and write it down. For example - the word "spring" is given on the list, the students write things that they see around them like flowers, green leaves, pets etc., under it. Prepositions: This activity can be done outdoors after prepositions have been taught to the students in the classroom. In this activity, the teacher brings few objects like a ball, some toys etc. and divides the students into teams. One team gives instructions to the other team like - put the ball "on" the table, pass the toy "to" Tom. The teams take turns in giving instructions and the team that can carry out the instructions correctly maximum number of times, wins. The teacher can also let the students play running and catching or hide and seek. After the game, the students describe the activity. For example - Tom was hiding "behind" the tree, or I ran "towards" Kayla. Tenses: The teaching of tenses can be made very interesting by including some outdoor activities in it. One of the activities that can be used to teach tenses is this - the teacher picks a student who makes a sentence in present tense based on what he sees in the park. For example - The river flows through the park. The rest of the students say the same sentence in different tenses as asked by the teacher. Free writing: Instead of giving a particular topic to the students, the teacher gives a time frame to the students. They must write anything within that time and submit it to the teacher. The teacher can also ask the students to face different directions and write what they see around them. These are some examples in which outdoor activities can be helpful when teaching English. These activities also allow the students to be more active and give them a chance for healthy competition as opposed to the limited activities within the walls of a classroom. It gives an opportunity to the students to explore and interact with each other and also be more comfortable with the teacher. Outdoor activities provide a visual stimulation which facilitate the learners to relate what is being taught with practical reality and helps them retain the information for a longer time. It is not just about what is being taught, but an experience of the learning which is etched onto the minds of the students. We learned in Unit 1 of the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course, that the teacher should be lively and entertaining and should be able to involve all students in the lessons. These activities are a welcome change for the students from the regular classroom environment. The teacher also gets to play various roles such as that of an organizer as they have to organize and plan these activities. They play the role of a participant as some of the activities might require the teacher to take part as well for the better understanding of the students. They are also the observer as they monitor the students during the activities and correct them or help them when needed. So, outdoor activities can be a great tool in teaching English.