Incorporate news articles in your English teaching – this way both the student and the teacher will be entertained – double fun and maximum efficiency!!!
In the past 15 years as an English teacher the most important thing I have learnt is that you must make the student interested and motivated to speak English.
Of course making them speak about themselves is always a safe bet but we need more than that. Why not speak about controversial issues that interest everybody? This way they can learn English using authentic texts and we can exchange points of view and share our opinion.
These ’news lessons’ have been a great success from the very first moment especially with young adults and adults.
How to do it?
First of all, you need resources. I normally use the BBC website, but all other quality news websites are fine. On this site you can choose articles that interest your students and you. You can email them to the students directly. I especially recommend the Features and Analysis section.
Another good option is OneStopEnglish. This website offers articles on three levels with additional exercises, which means that you can use them with lower level students as well. Thanks to the well-written exercises they are ideal for self-study, too.
My recommendation is that students read the articles prior to the lesson. During the lesson you discuss the topic and read the more difficult parts of the text to focus on some special grammar structures and vocabulary. Then the student can summarize the article and add some comments. It is also useful to ask for a written summary and put together a vocab test that they can do in the lesson or as homework about a week later.
My experience is that people enjoy expressing their views about topics that are controversial like economy, international politics, wars or social issues. If you have a group, you may even trigger a heated discussion. And, what is also very important, you as an English teacher can also learn a lot from people of different areas and professions and enhance your knowledge about the world.
In my opinion teaching English is just as much about learning about life as it is about teaching a language. Have fun and teach English!!!!