When ESL teaching supplies are in short supply

Teaching supplies and materials are scarce when you’re ‘in the sticks’. Rural ESL teachers often find themselves miles from any suitable shop, Internet connection or library. As a result, a little bit of creativity and innovation is required to come up with a plan for providing effective and exciting lessons.

Draw on Your Surroundings

What you can find easily at hand may be employed in a variety of ways, with the added benefit of ensuring the lessons are relevant to your students. Try teaching using everyday items to provide instant writing prompts and props to use in role-plays. Various locations around the school can be interesting settings for stories and dialogues to take place. Finally, encourage the students to communicate more with you, by asking them to explain their culture and beliefs with objects they have at hand.

Use the Imagination

If you do find yourself in a very rural area, chances are that your students are very eager to learn about what’s out there in the rest of the world. Get them to act out role-plays in which they show what they know or imagine about kids of a similar age in other countries. You can then use these role-plays as a discussion point to teach them a little about other countries and cultures.

Get Them to Create Materials for You

When you come to the end of a topic or unit, review everything they’ve learned and see where they’re lacking by asking them to test each other. Each individual or group of students can come up with some kind of quiz or challenge for the rest of the class to complete. These can also be kept for another class, or for the following year.

A sparseness of conventional teaching supplies and resources doesn’t have to mean that your lessons are boring and uninspired, innovation and imagination will take you a long way toward making your lessons memorable.


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