Physical Activity in the Classroom
Do you have bored, sleepy students? Yes? I used to.
Then, I started designing activities that got students moving around the classroom.
Here are a few of the reasons why this works.
New Partners by Moving Around
Students will usually pick the same partners every class. Making your students get up out of their seats forces them to interact with some different people and hear different accents, grammar and vocabulary when they’re doing ESL speaking activities.
People who don’t necessarily know each other that well will more likely speak English to each other because it would just be awkward to go against the teacher’s wishes with someone they don’t know very well!
Wake Up through Physical Activity!
Have students get up out of their seats helps out the sleepy people. Standing up and walking around breaks up the tedium of the sitting and is a good way to have a mini-break in class but still get your EFL students to speak English.
Moving around the Classroom is Fun and Novel
When students have to walk around the classroom, interacting with their classmates, they get excited about it for some reason. I’m not really sure why but I see a lot of smiles and laughs.
Maybe it’s the novelty of actually speaking English to each other in a way that is non-threatening and pretty chilled out. Or, finding out a few random bits of information about their classmates.
Error Correction and Follow Up is Easy
I can walk around, give some feedback and supervise in a less obvious way.
Usually at the end of the activity, I’ll give some group feedback. I noticed by the end of the semester all my classes were much better at this type of thing because I gave them feedback each time (or maybe it was just that they had practiced it!) For example, I would say:
“You were very good at talking to everybody, but I heard a lot of you speaking Korean!”
“Your speaking was very good but why did you write your answers in Korean? It’s time for practicing English, writing and speaking!”
“I heard lots of English but pay attention to the grammar a little more. Here is one of the biggest mistakes I heard: …”
Practical Speaking Activities for Your ESL Classes:
For even more ideas to use physical activity in the classroom, check out this book on Amazon:39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults Many of them involve having students up and about, interacting with lots of different people.
Physical Activity in the Classroom: Have your Say!
Do you like to get your students out of their seats and moving around the classroom? What kinds of activities do you use?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.