In his first guest post, Michael Harrison considers the importance of learning outside the classroom.
Teaching and learning goes on in classrooms, doesn’t it? It is fairly safe to say that the majority of teaching (including English language teaching) around the world takes place in a classroom setting. That’s what they’re for, and anyone who has completed some form of teacher training will know that classroom management is a very important thing to be aware of. But the classroom isn’t (and shouldn’t be) the be all and end all. Here are a few reasons I think it is advisable to get out of there once in a while.
[Note – make sure you are aware of your institution’s policies regarding outside trips. It is always recommended to get the student’s or their parent/guardian’s permission before getting out of the room]
Another word/phrase that gets bounced around on initial teacher training (in particular for ELT) is realia, and its use in teaching. Basically, using a real life example of something to teach it. Are you looking at train/bus travel? Bring in some examples of tickets to teach the vocab. Are you writing CVs with a group of Business English students? Get a few sample versions (or even your own real versions) to show to the students.
But what about if the classroom is the realia. Or rather, the location where the learning is taking place. Are you teaching supermarket vocabulary? Go to the supermarket. Looking at rivers and wildlife? Get yourself down to your local waterway. Those examples might not be appropriate for every situation, but there should be something that teachers can do in their own context.