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A unit on teaching equipment and aids.
Teaching aids can be used to make lessons more interesting, effective and less dependent on the textbook.
Resources commonly found in classrooms and study centers:
1. White / black board
All board work should be planned and organized. A board plan can be prepared in advance. Boards can be used for many things. They draw and hold the attention of students effectively.
Basic principles for board work:
- Start with a clean board
- Write legibly and neatly
- Use the correct writing tool
- Keep the board clean and easy to read
- Section of the board
- Highlight different language points or to show irregularities and differences in language (by using different colors / underlining / circling)
- Adjust the size of writing to the board
- Only put requested and essential information on the board
- Erase what is no longer needed
- Avoid unnecessary capitalization
- Accuracy is essential as many students will write down everything that they see on the board.
- Involve students in the writing process
- Clean the board at the end of the lesson.
2. Interactive whiteboards (IWB)
Many different models available. They all require a connection to some form of computer or laptop.
Important point to bear in mind:
- Test and have a back-up plan
- IWB training
- Lesson planning with an IWB
- Making your own IWB lesson plans
- Using IWB as a screen
3. Overhead projector (OHP)
Their use is diminishing with the advent of the computer. They are useful for showing pre-prepared overhead transparencies (OHT’s).
Advantages of the OHP
- Focuses students’ attention
- OHT’s can be prepared in advance
- OHTs can be placed on top of each other to show emerging patterns
- Placing OHTs on top of each other allows the teacher to write on top of a text without writing on the original OHT
- Parts of the OHT can be covered with paper
- OHTS can model grammar and present vocabulary
- OHTS can be used for timed reading , gap fill exercises, etc.
- A perfect tool for feedback after writing exercises
- OHTS can be filled and reused
- Teachers can take their time over writing OHTs ensuring legibility.
Disadvantages of the OHP
- Classroom needs a surface that is not bleached out by direct sunlight
- Some OHPs can be rather complicated or troublesome to set up effectively
- The classroom needs to be of sufficient size to allow for effective projection.
- The classroom may need reorganizing to allow for an uninterrupted projection path.
4. Visual aids
There are many different kinds of visual aids for the classroom. The most common are realia, pictures and photos. Whichever visual aids you use, make sure they are big enough to be seen and unambiguous to make them effective.
Visual aids can
- be used to illustrate meaning more quickly and effectively than through verbal explanation.
- bring the outside world into the classroom and add variety and interest
- attract attention and help with the memory process
- stimulate discussion and elicit language
- be used for prompts in communication games
- be used in hand for presenting new vocab items
- set the context
- be produced by the teacher
- be used for a small part of the lesson or be left up.
5. Worksheets and work cards
They can be bought from a publisher or made by the teacher, and are particularly useful in the following situations:
- To adapt published materials
- To act as prompts / cue materials
- To write your own exercises with authentic material
- Communication activities
- Reading and grammar exercises and cards for presenting new vocabulary
We can laminate them to keep them clean and undamaged.
6. Cassette recorder and/or CD player
Very useful tool. A simple piece of equipment, however as a teacher we need to make sure we are familiar with it and know how to work it. We also need to set it to the appropriate volume level.
Listen to the excerpt you will use in advance to make sure it’s clear and complete.
7. Videos and DVDs
Many principles behind the cassette recorder and/or CD player also apply to videos and DVDs. Make sure the monitor is big enough and is in the correct place for all students to see clearly.
Videos and DVDs can be used for many things, for example presenting information, giving background to a topic, various forms of dialogues and interactions, building listening comprehension skills, etc. Many course books have video s to support the content.
Using video material can be very motivational for students, but they should always have a purpose or task. Some advantages over using cassettes or CDs:
- Students can see as well as hear and therefore videos are easier to understand
- Video holds the students’ attention more
8. Video camera or video recordings on smartphones
One of their major uses is to record students during an activity and then playing it back to them for analysis and discussion. Students could also use it to record a film as part of an activity or project.
Make sure the equipment is used correctly.
9. Dictionaries (in computer or book form)
A good dictionary will help students produce language and look up meaning, pronunciation and usage. At lower levels dictionaries that translate between English and the native language can be used. However, for higher levels the use of English - English dictionaries for language students should be encouraged.
10. Course books
The advantages and disadvantages have been discussed in a previous unit
11. Resource books
There is a wide range of research books. They are useful for adapting supplementing and replacing material from a course book
Necessary for copying materials that aren’t contained within the students’ course books. Make sure copies are clear and attractively presented. Avoid wasting paper.
Are becoming a part of the English language classroom, but often only available to the teacher in the classroom and not to the students. It shouldn’t be overused, or they will lose their impact and effectiveness in the classroom.
Computer-Aided Language Learning (CALL) is developing fast and the main uses for the computer in English Language teaching include:
- Word processor
- EFL CDs
- Reference tools
- Videos / video clips
- Podcasts / MP3s / audio clips
14. Online resources
There are many online resources. These include but are not limited to:
- Literature & poetry
- General resources
- Teaching resources
- Learning resources
This unit feels outdated. Possibly, this just seems to be the case to me, because all the different places I have taught at always had a lot of modern equipment. So far this is the least useful unit.