8 Top Tips for Giving Your ESL Class a Review Lesson They'll Love
Review lessons are very important and often a wonderful opportunity to consolidate everything your students have learned. But let’s face it. They are usually very boring.
So boring in fact, that we don’t enjoy them, and students often feel they are not really doing anything productive. So, here are some tips that will turn your dull review lessons into razor-sharp learning opportunities!
How to Give Your ESL Class a Review Lesson They'll Love: 8 Top Tips
Don’t Go through a List
Of course, students need to review the vocabulary and grammar they’ve learned, whether you’re reviewing for a unit test or the final exam. Naturally, you’ll have a list of these items. But there’s no need to dump the list on your poor, unsuspecting students. Long lists of vocabulary words may scare them, even discourage them.
Instead, organize what you need to review into sets of easily digestible knowledge. Group the vocabulary into smaller lists. Practice grammar and expressions they should review. But don’t spend your review lesson checking off items from a single, seemingly never-ending list.
Don’t Blast Them with all the Grammar They Have to Study
Another scary thing for students is to suddenly realize they have several the past, present and future. Now this is something that is a lot easier for students to relate to! In your review lesson, you should review the grammar they need to know to talk about their past experiences, their present endeavors or future plans. More importantly, it will help them understand that they did not learn all of these tenses because they had to know them. They will know the purpose behind knowing these tenses.
Nothing eases the tension from an upcoming test better than a few relaxing games. But make sure that you play games that will help students review essential grammar or vocabulary. Here are some great examples, plucked right from our BusyTeacher website:
And while students love to review through games, you can’t base an entire review lesson on games. Or worksheets. Or a video. Or speaking tasks. Depending on your students’ level, there are any number of review tasks to choose from. How about reviewing key vocabulary with your young learners through a crafts project? Or reviewing expressions through a short play they have to act out? The point is a review lesson should not only be a time to complete piles and piles of worksheets.
Who says review lessons have to be serious and boring, just because an all-important test looms on the horizon? Tell your students that they will participate in a Quiz Game Show. Design a game where students can answer questions for points. A Jeopardy type of game works great for review lessons because you can choose the topics you want them to practice.
Take Questions from Students
This is really a great review activity, but especially if you have a group of adult learners who have been committed and attentive throughout the course. The day before the review lesson, ask them to look through their course material, and write down anything that they don’t remember, missed, or are unclear on. Take turns answering their questions and clarifying – chances are several students will have the same questions, so this will be a very productive time for all.
Have a Student Teach
The key aspect of a review lesson is that it is a re-view. They are viewing something they have already viewed in the past. So while some students may not remember certain points, or may even be a little confused, there are those who understand things quite clearly. Ask a student to clarify a point or answer a question from a classmate.
Introduce Something New
Let’s say most of us are already using fun games to review. Some may already be your students’ favorites, but there are others they’ve probably grown tired of playing. Why insist on playing a game they’ve already played all year long? For the review lesson, try to introduce at least one game or activity they have never played before. That should keep them on their toes!
The essential way to give your students review lessons that they’ll love is to think outside the box.
Think of all the times you had boring review lessons, whether as a teacher or a student yourself. Ask yourself: what would you have done differently?
And if you have some ideas of your own, please do share them below!
Claudia has been an ESL teacher for 20 years and has taught a wide variety of students from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, complete beginners to advanced students. This vast teaching experience has helped her write over 100 articles for BusyTeacher.org. When she is not teaching, she is also a freelance travel writer contributing reviews for V!VA Travel Guides' upcoming Uruguay edition, as well as travel articles and blog posts for a variety of online publications. She is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with her spunky 7-year old daughter and crabby 10-year old cat, Ulysses. Google +.
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