This is a guest post provided by the English Skills Learning Center in Salt Lake City, UT.
Is your desk covered in sticky notes with lists of things to do? How about your next trip to the grocery store? As literate learners, we often remember things by making a list. On the other hand, emergent readers remember things by oral repetition and all second language learners require repetition to obtain and retain new vocabulary and sentence structures. It allows students to produce more language and gives them time to think of what will come next. Especially when following through a textbook, it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that our students have mastered a topic and the vocabulary that goes with that lesson when we’ve really only scratched the surface of their retention.
Here are six tips for using repetition in your lessons:
- Use the last ten minutes of class as an opportunity to review what you did earlier in the lesson. See how much your students remember. This can help build their confidence while also giving you good information about how much to review at the beginning of the next class.
- Don’t be afraid that repetition is “too boring.” Get creative and have your student build up to using new vocabulary by starting with TPR, moving to an oral drill, reading the words in context through a short reading and finally using them in dialogues and role play activities.
- When teaching a dialogue, write the whole dialogue on the board, erase a few words and have the students repeat with a partner. Then erase a few more and repeat until nothing is left on the board.
- Keep a stack of flashcards with you and pull them out every once in a while. To keep the vocabulary fresh in your students’ minds, try charades or concentration rather than just reviewing the words orally.
- Use different interaction patterns to make repetition more interesting. One way to do this is to line up students in two rows, facing each other. Have them practice the dialog with the person standing across from them. After everyone has finished, have one row move down and the other row stay so that each person is standing in front of a new partner.
- Do a review lesson about every four lessons repeating activities from your previous lessons. This will help you measure if you are moving too quickly through material and if the students are retaining the things you teach them.
Repetition can be a valuable tool in the ESL classroom as many of our students are busy with their daily lives and may have limited exposure to English when not in class. How do you incorporate repetition into your lessons to boost student learning in the classroom?
Learn additional tips for helping ESL students and earn free professional development credit with Reading Horizons Free Webinars:
This post can also be found on Reading Horizons Curriculum Manager's, Heidi Hyte, blog: ESLtrail.com