ESL Development 2: Things students like to do in class

Last time we looked at what students don’t like doing in the ESL classroom. Now let’s see what they actually like or even enjoy doing.

Students like…

1. Working in pairs.

2. Working in small groups.

3. Speaking on a subject they have prepared—preferably in small groups.

4. Listening in the lab or with a MP3 player.

5. Listening to a song with the lyrics or a gap filling exercise.

6. Being able to stop or listen again on their own to parts of a recording.

7. Having a one-to-one session with the teacher alone.

8. Having a one-to-one session with the teacher together with a partner.

9. Seeing the teacher laugh at himself or herself.

10. Being tested on an exercise by a partner and not the teacher.

11. Correcting homework in pair work using a key.

12. Being helped by a partner during pair or group work.

13. Asking the teacher a question without the other students listening.

14. Making a film with classmates in class or even outside of class.

15. Preparing a talk with when guidelines are clear and the vocabulary is given.

16. Working in a team on a project.

17. Having an oral test where the teacher gives immediate feedback.

18. Getting positive feedback from the teacher.

19. Being allowed to get up and walk around during certain exercises.

20. Being allowed to leave the classroom in case of a personal emergency.

21. Getting good marks for work well done and much investment in time and effort.

22. Realizing they actually can speak English!


And let me add "laughing" in the classroom when it isn’t making fun of someone. Students doing pair work will often be laughing at their own mistakes or appreciating in a "nice way" the slip ups of a partner. When the laughter is a way of bonding, sharing difficulties, trying to cope with a problem, explaining what they have written or imitating a speaker together with a friend, the laughter is positive, relaxing and even invigorating.


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