Saturday, December 17, 2016

Posters in Speaking Class

Last week, I had a speaking class with my pre-intermediate students about environmental problems. In their speaking book, there are three pictures about different environmental problems which they have to identify and discuss the causes of each. Having done this, I asked them to choose one problem from the pictures and prepare a poster about it (I owe this idea to Emma and Gary Pathare) including a title and main points. To make it more challenging, I asked them to include a drawing and solutions to the problem in the poster. 

In fact, I was reluctant to have my students prepare the poster; I was wondering if it would ever appeal to my adult students. However, I gave it a shot; and to my surprise, they were quite interested and worked in pairs enthusiastically. While working on the posters, I monitored them and threw out some suggestions and corrections to keep them on track. With a time limit of 15 minutes, they produced interesting, unique posters with meaningful drawings. 

Now the posters were ready, I allocated five minutes to the students to prepare a short informal presentation about their posters. One representative from each pair came to the front and talked about the problem, causes, and solutions and most importantly explained the drawing. The whole class listened attentively and gave feedback on the posters. Finally, the class voted for the best poster which included a title, clear key points, and a beautiful, meaningful picture. 

The task was a success as it deviated the students from the coursebook for one complete session and involved them in planning, discussing, drawing, and presenting. I was blissfully happy to see them use the target language in a creatively productive way. 

Using posters in class is easy and involving. Other topics you can use the poster activity with are: holidays, hobbies, dream house, etc. which are high frequent topics in many coursebooks. As a follow-up activity, you would ask your learners to prepare a poster about their dream house, for example, using related lexis and structure from their main lesson.   

Try the poster activity in your class and let us know how it goes. 

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