As a teacher of EFL, your board is a memory tool for things you want your students to remember. It is also a helpful tool to keep you on track with the lesson. What should your board look like? In what way can you organize it? How can you get the best use of it? In this article we are going to give you some tips to consider when using the board or while writing on it.
1. Stand right:
While writing on the board, stand sideways without hiding what you are writing and keep eye contact with your students.
2. Prepare your text:
Prepare beforehand what you are going to write on the board. You can imagine an A4 paper as your board and write on it your text in advance, and then copy this prepared text to the classroom board. Be focused and write as quickly as you can.
3. Keep it neat:
Try your best to make your writing look neat and clear. You can walk to the back of the classroom and check how your board looks like. Your writing should be big and straight enough. If you think something is not clear enough, do rub it out and write it again.
4. Keep students’ attention:
While writing, keep your students’ attention by reading the key words and phrases aloud. You can also pause for a while and ask a student to read what you have written.
5. Give clear instructions:
Tell students exactly what you want them to copy and at which time you want them to finish copying. After you finish, stand back and let them complete copying. When time finished, say “Stop copying. You can continue copying when I finish explaining”.
6. Organize your board:
Divide the board into three sections: the left one for key vocabulary and phrases, the right one for questions or home assignment, and the center for main structures or language focus. Try to leave a space under each section for temporary items that you can rub out as you go along the lesson.
7. Make important features noticeable:
important features are the points which you want your students to distinguish and remember such as auxiliary verbs, irregular endings, pronouns, contracted forms, … etc. You can do so by underlining them, using different colored pens/chalk, circling them or even making them italic.
8. Use tables for prompting:
Build these tables with students, then use them for controlled practice that are aimed at achieving accuracy such as substitution and transformation drills.
9. Use diagrams, mind/word maps and time lines:
You can use these aids on the board to clarify time, space, quantity or to increase the stock of vocabulary.
10. Stick items on the board:
You can use the surface of the board to display all sorts of items such as posters, flashcards, pictures, … etc. and have students to come out to the board for oral work pointing to or talking about these items.