Let’s Get Personal in the EFL Classroom

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Adult students in particular come to the EFL classroom with lots of experience and knowledge about the world. Our job is to give them the words to describe what they already know or how they feel. This creates a very personal experience, one that it also highly motivating for the students. Students like to know that their thoughts and feelings are valued. Let’s be honest, who does not like to talk about him/herself?

It is for these reasons that we must make every effort to personalize our lessons. Here are a few ideas on how to accomplish this:

  • For those who already include introductions to the start of their courses, try adding fun question such as ‘What did you want to be when you grew up?’ or ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’

  • Ask them to find an object in the bag or in the classroom and state why they are similar to that object. A variation here is to have classmates guess why each of their peers is similar to the object.

  • Tell your students to write two sentences on a piece of paper. One sentence should state the best thing that happened to them that week. The second sentence should describe the worst thing that happened to them in that week. Shuffle and redistribute the papers, and students guess who wrote each.

  • Students could also create three statements about themselves, two of which are true and one of which is a lie. After they share their statements, classmates can guess which statement is the lie.

  • This is also a good opportunity for students to share their learning background and learning styles, both of which will be helpful for you when lesson planning. They can also share strategies they have used in the past to study that may be helpful to others in the class when studying on their own.

  • An introduction lesson is also an opportunity for students to evaluate their opinions of English or learning English. Have the students talk to each other about their views and why they feel the way they do. This will help you to ascertain whether they have true intrinsic motivation or if they are there because of external demands.

These are just a few suggestions, but there are plenty more. If you know of any other ideas for personal introductions, please post them below!

This post was written by Matthew Clark.

June 16, 2011