Are language lessons or any lessons even supposed to be fun? It is all about learning, hard work, discipline, focus, determination. How can all that be fun?
Simple. You, the teacher, should love your job, enjoy working with people and bring life into the dull stereotypes of a boring lesson.
Why should you do that? Why bother? Isn’t the teacher’s job to teach and not to entertain? Ideally, the teacher should do both. Making your lesson fun can be a powerful tool. You can find the reasons why bellow.
Why English (and any other) lessons should be fun:
1. Building rapport.
Friendly and relaxed atmosphere makes it easier to establish rapport with your students. Fear can be a motivator but it should never be used in a classroom. By showing students that learning can be a fun, enjoyable activity, something that they may even look forward to, you will gain something priceless-their interest. And interest in the subject is the first step in a sucessful learning process.
2. Interest in the subject
English is generally considered as less boring school subject than the others, but let’s face it; it is still a school subject. It is graded, it requires studying rules, memorizing vocabulary, drilling grammar, etc. Where is the fun in that? It is important to make the studens realize that learning English can be fun and that it is not only a school subject.
3. Fun breaks the ice and promotes speaking
All the icebreaking activities are supposed to be fun to make the students feel relaxed. We want them to be relaxed, open, willing to share their ideas, to express themselves. Do we want them to feel that way only at the begining of the school year or a course? Definitely not! Break the ice all year around.
4. Variability of your lessons
Listening, reading, speaking, writing. The four pillars of any language learning. All of them can be taught in an engaging way using a variety of materials. Teaching a language is much more than a coursebook and a dictionary. So much can be learnt outside the classroom, outside the cliché of read the text, fill in the gaps, answer the questions, learn the vocabulary. Learning a language can be more natural, spontaneus and entertaining activity.
5. All the great activities and resources
Simulations, role plays, group work, quizzes, games, drama, projects, presentations, competitions, videos, TED lectures, podcasts, worksheets, flashcards and many more. When utilized correctly they are not only a source of knowledge but they capture the students attention, foster creativity and contribute to a well balanced, engaging lesson.
6. Attention span
We are all familiar with the attention span theories. Different psychologists and reaserches claim that the attention span can vary from 10 to 90 mintes depending on factors such as the age of the students, time of the day, emotion, enjoyment and motivation. We can’t influcence all the factors, but there are some that we can influnce, namely emotion, enjoyment and motivation.
Teacher is the director of the class and the leading actor. Teacher gives orders and motivates the rest of the cast to give their life performance. When in a classroom you are in a role. You are on stage. You have power over your students in more ways than you think. And with great power comes great responsibility. (comics are a great teaching resource as well – The Oatmeal Grammar Comics for example)