Thursday, May 31, 2007

English teachers: what do you put in your English Corner?

School is back and everybody seems to be too eager to get started in the right way--- teachers especially. Grade school and high school teachers from both private and public schools are putting their thinking caps on in order to make their classrooms most inviting and conducive for learning. All over the land mentors are spending precious time and money cutting out, posting, pasting, encoding, etc. visual materials that will turn the classroom into a one-stop information station.

In fact, the whole school campus comes to life as school personnel prepare it for the coming back of students. Bulletin boards are made alive by helpful information and even the canteen is once more turned into a place of business.

To make everything happen, teachers are given their individual tasks to take charge of one corner in the bulletin board and they are left free to beautify it.

My concern in this corner has something to do with a teacher from China who started a discussion about what should we put in the English corner? I have a few suggestions here. Bear in mind your target audience. Who are they? Whose attention are you trying to capture? Grade schoolers? High schoolers? Whoever they are, always make sure that your corner is attractive because it makes use of color, graphics, and good lay-out. Bear in mind that today's generation no longer stop to read bulletin boards. You put up some announcements there which don't get to be read because they don't stop to read them anymore. Why? Because of the way they had always been presented---boring---colorless, artless, dull. In other words, you have first to work on the visual aspect of your corner by using lots of color and graphics. Always think in terms of the lay-out and design you see on TV and the internet. The visual aspect of your corner is supposed to make your audience stop and hopefully, read what you got in there. So it is not enough to just make them stop and take a look. It is as important to also make them READ your content because this is the main objective of the English corner---to help improve the students' command of the English language.

Let us see what you can put in there which would greatly benefit your students. A bulletin board that gets regular updates also gets to be noticed more. Just like websites or weblogs. Why? Because if you only update once a week or once a month, in the long run, students will no longer be interested to see what's new there because anyway they will assume to see and read the same things. I suggest that you do your updating of some areas daily, some parts every other day, some weekly, and maybe some monthly. I have here a few suggestions on what you are going to put in there. You decide which ones should get a daily update, weekly, monthly, etc.

1. Word bank-- this is where you introduce a new word with its pronunciation , use, and meaning. The new word should also be used in correct sentence.
2. Grammar check---feature a gross grammatical error and correct it (be sure to use nice funny graphics to attract their attention)
3. How's your spelling? Feature a constantly misspelled word, mark it with a red X and put its correct spelling alongside it and mark with a checkmark.
4. bookworm of the month or week---coordinate with your librarian and feature one student who has borrowed or read the most number of books---post her name and photo
5. watch your preposition--- feature just one everyday
6. English speaker of the week--feature a student's name and photo who uses English as her means of communicating with others on campus
7. My best work---feature the best compositions of students in this area.

8. Hey, watch your stop! An area meant to give lessons in punctuating by giving emphasis on the punctuation mark.

There are many other interesting stuff that you could use. For those of you who have suggestions, please leave your comments here.

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