When we learn to teach English, we are taught endless strategies and techniques on personalization. Our instructors tell us that our students will learn better if they make the language their own.
When we begin teaching, we are often faced with enormous classes that are anything but personal. The individual is lost or isolated in a large group. Younger students solve this problem by creating smaller cliques within the group. These small focal groups often become disruptive.
So, what can we do?
One excellent solution is using a large group mentality and structure in our favor. Learning a foreign language is a high-risk situation. The individual will make many developmental errors along the way. Some people, the risk takers, will participate and speak up and not worry whether their pronunciation is correct or their structures are perfect, but the majority will crawl into their shells.
So, how will the large group mentality work in your favor?
Introduce choral repetition. Not just listen and repeat, but many varied choral activities.
Present a new expression or exchange. Have students listen and repeat. Then have students repeat as softly as possible. Have students repeat over and over (practice makes perfect) by growing increments of sound. How loud? As loud as your neighboring teacher will let you.
Remember when YMCA was all the disco rage? Maybe not. It’s from 1978, but it was uploaded on YouTube in 2010 and has had more than two million hits. What do people remember? Besides the costumes. The hand and arm movements. Incorporate arm movements into your choral repetition. What country gave the world the stadium wave?
(3) Gradual progression
Begin your wave in one corner of your classroom. Have five students begin an oral text or dialogue. Build by adding diagonal rows of students to the oral activity until the entire class is speaking. You can do this from the front to back or side to side.
(4) Multi (tude) dialogues
Perform a class dialogue. Have all the women in the class read the female role and all the men in your class read the male role.
Have one row be Student A and the facing row be Student B.
Train your class to speak clearly in unison. Mark the rhythm by clapping. Make sure they imitate the intonation patterns from your audio correctly
Recite as much as you can. Use jazz chants, nursery rhymes, and poetry.