I’m currently teaching a B1 Intermediate class, 20 hours a week. As you may have experienced, students at intermediate level have sometimes lost their focus when it comes to learning English: they know that they can get by with the language they have, and it can be difficult to find the motivation to continue studying.
My group asked me if we could look at some more meaty discussion topics this week, and while I was searching for some prompts, I came across the excellent Talking Points series of worksheets from tefl.net. One of them was about ‘Learner Motivation‘ and it seemed like exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.
At the same time, I remembered a talk from TED.com by Matt Cutts, called ‘Try Something New for 30 Days‘, which is helpfully available with subtitles.
I decided to combine these and throw in a few more discussion points, dividing the students into four groups and the tasks into four ‘stations’. Students moved around from one station to the next every 10-15 minutes. They watched the video using my iPad, but if you don’t have access to anything to play the video on, you could ask students to watch it before the class or give them that section for homework.
I had a paper version of the Powerpoint presentation, not including the first two slides or the last one. To save paper, you could print them as 2-per-page handouts (on the print screen, find the ‘print slides’ option, then select ‘handouts, 2 per page) which should be big enough for students to see clearly.
[To download, click ‘view on slideshare’. You may have to log in (not sure), but it’s completely free. You should then be able to click on ‘download’ above the document.]
Students could also be given the option to work through the presentation themselves, and think/write about the topics at home, ready for discussion in class.
With 10-15 minutes per station, none of the pairs did more than the first three activities from the ‘Learner Motivation’ sheet, so once they had all talked about every topic and we had discussed the final slide as a class, we went back to activity four and looked at how students could motivate themselves to work on their English, especially to learn vocabulary and to do their homework.
The students were motivated and enjoyed discussing the topic. They were particularly interested in the video and the motivational quotes. We started the week with this lesson, and they have mentioned it again and again, especially the phrase ‘Carpe Diem’.
So seize the day and enjoy this lesson!