7 creative ways to teach languages
In this blog post I will show you some great lesson material for language courses, made by language teachers. I hope these examples of language exercises inspire you to keep going and activate your students.
If I can sum up a few classes I hated as a student, then those classes would definitely include language courses! I mean, ugh, why do I need to speak French? There were so many other courses that are much more fun, where I liked going to class.
I know that language classes can be boring. But doesn’t have to be that way! I’ve recently talked to a French teacher that just didn’t want to teach anymore, because her students didn’t like her course. She got demotivated and so did her students. That does really happen from time to time.
So I started thinking and came across some amazing teachers using our technology. They made such fun lesson material that activated the students and wasn’t boring at all. These language lessons are completely reinvented! Note that all these lessons are made with BookWidgets, but can also be made with other apps and tools. You are only limited by your own imagination!
1. Speaking exercises
This is a fun language exercise for when your students have to practice their speaking. You can insert different pictures and words on the wheels, related to your lesson. Then you can let your students spin the wheels and exercise their speaking knowledge with the other students.
I’m curious what kind of stories your students come up with! To take a look at the exercise, click here.
Another fun speaking exercise is this one. You can let your students make a jigsaw puzzle and then talk about the image. In this case, the students have to talk about the bedroom.
You can easily change the puzzle image and let your students talk about, for example, how to explain the way to a person, talk about the different stores and what you can find there, or you can let them describe a person.
2. Language Games
This language exercise is more for elementary students, but can also be for high school students. They will still love it, because it’s an exercise in the form of a game. Who doesn’t love games?
In this example, we’re teaching English as a foreign language. The teacher shows the students some pictures or objects. The students have to find the right word in English and tick it off their Bingo sheet. When they tick off 5 correct words in a row, they have Bingo! This is how it works: click here.
Pair Matching is another fun game you can use for language lessons. The easiest way to understand the meaning of a word, is to link it to another word or image. In this case, the teacher links it to an image. Students love playing the game and at the same time they know what the word means by linking them to the right image. You can do this with any kind of words in different learning levels. Give it a try! Click here to open the exercise.
Hangman can be used as a revision exercise. The students get a clue of the word they are looking for. Clues can be the page number of their textbook, a theme, etc. If your students don’t know the answer, the letters will help them find it. When they have found the word, the students have to explain what it means. This is how it works: click here.
When you’re teaching your students about prepositions, you can just let your students draw something. In this case, the teacher combines the use of prepositions with the new vocabulary. What a fun way to learn! Click here to see the assignment.
Instead of using those boring, ready to make sentences on paper, you can easily set up a randomness widget like a teacher did here. Okay, I understand that it is a bit tricky for the student, not knowing what exercise he will get. But it’s fun! As long as you allow your students to make mistakes and give them time to think, they will like it. Students can take this exercise home and start practising as well!
Practising tenses have never been that amusing and engaging with this pair matching game. Find the right sentence and link it to the right tense. Take a look and open the image.
5. Listening exercises
With this language exercise, students can listen at their own pace. Of course the teacher can set up rules too. The listening exercise causes less stress and buzz in the room. Click here to see this exercise.
The next language feature is definitely my favourite when it comes to listening exercises! The hotspot image is not just an image. Click here to look at the possibilities. Let your students discover the image and let them answer the questions.
6. Test & review
Instead of giving your students an ordinary test on paper, you can give a digital language test. The advantage of these tests is that you can choose from so many different questions types. It makes the test more fun.
Another advantage is that the tool automatically corrects your test. By the time you get home, all the tests have already been corrected! It saves a lot of time. Time you can invest in improving your lessons or assisting students. Click here or here to look at some tests.
You can also set up some fun assignments using a game like a crossword riddle. Here you can give a definition of that word, or just the translation of the word. Click here to see how that works.
7. Interactive language books
The last tip is to write an interactive book. You can do this with iBooks Author or Book Creator. Here is a nice example of an interactive language book made with iBooks Author by Elisabeth Rosinal, Daniel Budd and other teachers from the Christ Church Grammar School in Australia. Click here to download the book for free and see what they have made.
These were my seven tips for language lessons. For even more tips, check out our free “Teaching language classes using iBooks Author and the iPad” book.
I want to thank all the teachers for making such great lesson material. Keep on inspiring!