By the Book

What do you need to teach a language lesson? Some students of course, and preferably a whiteboard, or a flipchart at a pinch. And, probably, a textbook, or an extract from one. A textbook is something that both students and teachers often take for granted. Many students like to have a trusted source of exercises to improve their English, and provide them with lots of new vocabulary and grammar rules. New teachers often cling to a textbook as a crutch. It’s comforting to know that you’ve got some interesting activities to keep the students busy, and save you having to find different exercises and figure out how they work together. And it helps to get rid of that awful fear newer teachers have that they’ll run of material long before the end of the lesson. Even if you finish your planned exercises before the end of the lesson, a few more pages in the book can feel like a welcome safety net. But how much do you really need a textbook? Continue reading

Eat, Drink, Have

Imagine the situation:

An English-School classroom, with a Beginner or Elementary class. The teacher has put a picture of someone with a glass of water to their lips.

—What is she doing?

—She is… drinking the water.

—Yes, very good! Now, next…

The teacher now displays an image of someone sitting down to a meal.

—Ok, now can somebody tell me what this person is doing?

—Eating.

—Yes, very good! So, we eat…

—food.

—Yes, and we drink…

—uh, drinks.

—Yes, excellent!

That might seem pretty logical. To eat and To drink are two very common, basic verbs, and students need to understand exactly what they mean and how to use them, don’t they? Well, yes, but how do we really use these two verbs? How often do we really use them? Continue reading