Whether you are into new year's resolutions or not, you might be looking for some new ideas to liven up your teaching. As we know, teachers are always keen to try new activities and we believe that sometimes a challenge or an objective can really spice up your teaching routine. If you need colourful and inspiring resources, we recommend you try reading. Reading classics, graphic novels, original stories written for language learners, magazines, plays, poetry, non-fiction and picture books. Here are our own resolutions. Some of them are for teachers, some of them are for your students, and some are for the both of you and your classes.
A winning tip
When you are setting goals and making resolutions, try visualising them. It works with any kind of plan, even if you are planning a big event, a challenge, preparing for a running race or an exam, writing down your objectives with some practical ideas will help you realise your objectives.
Our top 5 resolutions
1 Read a variety of genres.
Download our Reading Planner and challenge yourself to read as many genres as possible. Although it is not essential to finish every novel that you start reading, try to tick of a genre only when you have completed reading a book. You and your students can decide to read 12 pieces of literature this year, and remind yourselves that being an overachiever in reading is not a bad thing.
2 Discover new authors.
You might love crime fiction and have not read many historical novels. You might have read a lot of American authors, but you do not know many Australian ones. You might have been reading a lot of books for teaching and books for adults, but not many children's books or young adult novels. It is time to discover new names and new styles. Ask your students for book recommendations.
3 Talk about reading.
Last year, every Friday I started my lessons with teenagers asking the same question: 'What have you been reading this week?' It was important to make them understand that everything matters. If they read articles on the Internet, set texts for school, magazines, novels, they should say a couple of sentences about them. It is a good way to find out about your students' reading habits and preferences, and they can inspire each other. Remember that it is also important that you share your reading experiences and become a role model reader for them.
4 Create reading groups that stick together.
It might be one of the most successful projects you start, but to have a positive experience, you have to prepare and plot it well. Assigning students to groups just based on their gender or age. Students with different interests can inspire each other, and you can ask them to pick books for each other. Ask them to keep a reading group diary in a note book or on their mobile phones. The trick is to keep checking on their progress and make it part of your weekly or monthly routine.
5 Slow down.
We often need to rush through our teaching syllabus because our students are preparing for school or language exams, and it often puts a lot of pressure on both teachers and students. Although students tend to function well under pressure, they should be experience learning a language in a more relaxed and fun way as well. Slow reading, giving ourselves enough time to enjoy reading and telling a good story feels like a luxury these days. In the new year try dedicating some time (even 15 minutes will be a good start) to discussions, or just simply to reading together in class.
An extra tip for the most courageous teachers and students: Book Clubs
You will find ideas, checklists, steps, and a whole Book Club Starter Kit with role cards, schedules and quizzes on this blog. Check out these links:
- HELBLING BOOK CLUBS
- Book Club Starter Kit
- Setting up a Book Club
- 10 ideas for the first Book Club session
- Book Club and Reading Games
- How to deal with tricky Book Club situations
- Arts and Crafts Activities for your Book Club
Have you made any new year's teaching resolutions? We'd love to hear about your ideas.