Using Breaks in English Teaching
Breaks are not only beneficial for students’ well-being and learning, but also for teachers’ effectiveness and creativity. In this article, we will explore different ways of using breaks in English teaching, both as a pedagogical tool and as a means of enhancing the learning experience.
- Brain Breaks:
“Brain breaks” refer to short, structured pauses during a lesson to engage students in physical activities, games, or brief mental diversions. They can help students stay focused, reenergize, and enhance overall learning. Here are some ideas for using brain breaks when teaching English:
- Quick Vocabulary Review: Have students stand up, form a circle, and take turns saying a word they’ve learned in the lesson, providing its meaning or using it in a sentence.
- Mini Charades: Give students a word or phrase, and have them act it out without speaking while their classmates guess the meaning.
- English Songs or Rhymes: Play an English song or teach a simple English rhyme for students to sing along with and enjoy.
- Stretching or Yoga Poses: Incorporate a short stretching or yoga routine with English instructions. This can help release tension and refocus the mind.
- Breaks During Extended Lessons:
For longer English lessons or workshops, scheduled breaks are essential to prevent fatigue and maintain engagement. Ensure that students have time to rest, hydrate, and relax during these breaks.
- Using “Break” as a Teaching Tool:
Break Down Complex Concepts: In English teaching, especially with complex grammar rules or vocabulary, break down the concepts into smaller, more digestible parts. Provide explanations, examples, and practice exercises step by step.
- Use of Break for Pronunciation: When teaching pronunciation, emphasize the importance of breaking words into syllables and practicing each one separately. This can improve students’ ability to articulate words accurately.
- Break for Interactive Activities: Incorporate interactive activities and group work where students can “break” into smaller groups to practice conversational English, discuss topics, or complete projects together.
- Structured Breaks for Assessment: During assessments or exams, consider allowing students short “breaks” between sections to relax and refocus.
- Break for Cultural Insights: Teach about cultural “breaks” or customs, such as tea breaks in British culture or coffee breaks in American culture. This provides language learners with practical knowledge of daily life and customs.
What are some other ways to use breaks in English teaching?
There are many other ways to use breaks in English teaching, depending on the purpose, the level, and the interests of the students. Here are some examples:
- Break for Creativity: Encourage students to use their imagination and creativity by giving them a break to write a short story, a poem, a song, or a comic strip in English. They can use prompts, pictures, or words as inspiration. Then they can share their work with the class or in small groups.
- Break for Reflection: Give students a break to reflect on their learning process, their strengths, their challenges, and their goals. They can write a journal entry, a letter, or a feedback form in English. This can help them develop metacognitive skills and self-awareness.
- Break for Fun: Make learning fun by giving students a break to play a game, watch a video, or listen to a podcast in English. They can choose something that matches their interests and level. This can help them improve their listening skills, vocabulary, and fluency.
- Break for Culture: Expose students to different cultures and perspectives by giving them a break to research, present, or discuss a cultural topic in English. They can learn about festivals, traditions, food, music, art, or history from different countries or regions. This can help them develop intercultural competence and critical thinking skills.
- Break for Movement: Activate students’ bodies and brains by giving them a break to do some physical activity in English. They can follow a dance routine, do some yoga poses, play a sport, or go for a walk. They can also use English commands or instructions while doing the activity. This can help them release stress and improve their memory and concentration.
I hope these ideas are helpful for you. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. 😊
Can you give me an example of a cultural topic that is suitable for English learners?
Sure, I can give you an example of a cultural topic that is suitable for English learners. One possible topic is:
- The influence of British culture on other English-speaking countries.
This topic can help you learn about the history, literature, music, art, and values of different English-speaking countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. You can also compare and contrast how these countries have adopted or adapted aspects of British culture, such as the language, the legal system, the education system, and the sports. You can find some information and resources about this topic in the following links:
- British Culture: An Introduction
- British Cultural Influence in North America
- British Cultural Influence in Australia
- British Cultural Influence in New Zealand
- British Cultural Influence in South Africa
I hope this example helps you. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. 😊
How can I make a lesson plan based on this topic?
To make a lesson plan based on a cultural topic, you can follow these steps:
- Choose a cultural topic that is relevant, interesting, and appropriate for your students. For example, you can choose a topic related to your students’ own cultures, or a topic that compares and contrasts different cultures. You can also choose a topic that relates to the content area you are teaching, such as history, literature, or art.
- Define the objectives and outcomes of the lesson. What do you want your students to learn and achieve by the end of the lesson? How will you assess their learning and progress? You can use the SMART criteria to make your objectives specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
- Plan the activities and materials for the lesson. How will you introduce the topic and activate students’ prior knowledge? How will you present the information and engage students in meaningful tasks? How will you check for understanding and provide feedback? You can use a variety of strategies and resources to make your lesson culturally responsive, such as:
- Using multimedia, such as videos, images, or podcasts, to showcase different aspects of the culture
- Incorporating authentic texts, such as stories, poems, or articles, that reflect the culture
- Providing opportunities for students to share their own experiences and perspectives on the culture
- Using cooperative learning structures, such as jigsaw or think-pair-share, to promote collaboration and dialogue among students3
- Differentiating instruction and assessment according to students’ needs, interests, and abilities
- Implement the lesson and monitor students’ learning. During the lesson, observe how students are responding to the activities and materials. Are they engaged, motivated, and challenged? Do they have any questions or misconceptions? Do they demonstrate understanding and mastery of the objectives? Adjust your instruction as needed to support students’ learning and provide feedback.
- Evaluate the lesson and reflect on your teaching. After the lesson, review the outcomes and assess how well the lesson met your objectives. Collect evidence of students’ learning, such as their work samples, reflections, or test scores. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson and identify areas for improvement. Reflect on your own teaching practices and how they influenced students’ learning. Seek feedback from your students, colleagues, or mentors.
I hope this helps you create a lesson plan based on a cultural topic. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. 😊