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Fun Activities for Teaching Beginners in Immersion Programs

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Often teachers fall back on the direct method when teaching beginner students, as it is difficult to engage them communicatively when they speak little or no English at all.

Well, think again! Beginner students can be engaged with such simple tools as photographs and cellphones, which teachers often struggle to tear students away from.

This blog will explore communicative activities for teaching beginners in immersion programs and give you step by step guide to implement these activities in the classroom!

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1- A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Words

This activity is perfect for students in immersion programs because tourism is one of the reasons people study English abroad.

It also helps students develop a community with their classmates to exchange information on fun things to do in the city.

  1. For homework, ask students to take three pictures showing what they did after school.
  2. The next day students have to tell a story using the past tense, talking about what they did the day before while showing the pictures on their phones to their fellow classmates.
  3. This activity can take about 5-10 minutes as a great warm-up.

Read: TESOL in Canada: The Classroom Outside the Classroom

Read: 5 Effective Ways to Use Images with Beginners

Google that City!

This activity is also perfect for immersion programs where there are students from different nations.

  1. Pair students from different countries. Have them ask each other where they are from.
  2. Ask students to use Google to search the city where their partner is from and come up with 3 activities and one type of food to eat in that city. Write these instructions on the board and elicit the question to ask Google from the students before they start.
  3. Students spend 15-20 minutes researching and putting together a presentation about what there is to eat and to do in the city they searched.

Note: if you do not have a very diverse classroom, you can choose the cities for them.

Read: Intercultural Dynamics in the Canadian ESL Classroom

Best or Worst Day Ever!

Although this doesn’t use technology, it is a great activity for using simple past. This works really well with immersion students because it is very meaningful to their experience:

  1. Write the following adjectives on the board: best, worst, old, surprised, hot, tired, dirty, cold, angry, beautiful, ugly, funny, clean, hungry.
  2. Pre-teach any words students don’t know.
  3. Have students practice making 1-3 sentences with each adjective.
  4. Instruct students to reflect on their worst or best day so far living in their new country or otherwise just in general for a few minutes.
  5. Ask them to write a story about the day using the above adjectives using simple past. They can also add new words to their story that are not on the board.
  6. Students have to present their worst or best day to the class.

Read: Overcoming Culture Shock in TESOL

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