Engaging teaching strategies #2

Here are three more tried and tested ideas for everyday use in the classroom. The first is a great trust and relationship builder; the second can be hard work but pays huge dividends in the long run; the third is a fun, engaging and novel way to start a lesson that can be adapted to almost any subject or topic.

Doing the work with them.

When I give students a task to do, I try wherever possible to also do it myself. This has numerous benefits. Firstly, it conveys the message that we’re all in this together. Secondly, it models good writing habits. And thirdly, it provides the students with a model answer with which they can compare their own writing which then leads into debate and discussion about writing styles and structures and hitting assessment objectives.

Explicitly teaching planning skills

How many times do we ask our students to plan a piece of writing or a presentation but not actually check that they have a clear view of how to plan? By explicitly modelling planning techniques it allows students to choose the best way for them. I usually try to give them at least three models; mind-mapping, bullet-pointing and flow chart planning. If we show them these things in practice it gives students the ability to embed them into their own habits.

Favourite food of characters.

This was something I first used as a starter a couple of years ago when I was teaching Romeo and Juliet. Students had to try and decide what each of the characters from the play would choose as their favourite food and then justify the choices they had made. It was a great way to test the students understanding of the characters and also to engineer a highly effective debating situation.


About Andrew Warner

Mostly English teacher, AHT (T&L/literacy/CPD) & bibliophile. Irregular examiner, MTBer, armchair anthropologist & bassist. Fascinated by language & behaviour.

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