For many of us who teach we know how important it is to get all the concepts taught properly and to make the lessons interesting and enjoyable. But what I want to talk about here is more about the added value a class or school can have simply by adding social fun events.
At our school we regularly have social events every month, e.g. football, bowling, etc, and these occasions certainly bring people together, particularly the new ones who don’t know the city well and are keen to meet new people. But the other thing that is important to note is that even though our courses are only 4 weeks long each, within those four weeks the class somehow gels and there becomes an atmosphere and connection with both other students and the teacher that is unique and special to them. Sometimes (as we teachers know), simply adding another person into the group (good or disruptive) can add a whole new flavor to the team. So we try to keep additions only for the first week. After that week, it can be very difficult for these new students to fit in.
So saying all that, this new concoction of a class we have created becomes something special, and needs to be maximized by the teacher. So a great idea we often do is (as there is also an exam every month) we like to offer students the chance to celebrate too. Some teachers enjoy the whole cake and gifts thing, but often it is just a chance for students to get together with each other in a fun way, have a few laughs and of course practice their English.
So here are some interesting ideas to celebrate with your class:
- Cake and drinks
- Mystery gifts (each person gets the name of another in the group and has to buy them a $5.00 gift)
- Have lunch in a restaurant together
- See a movie together
- Have a photo-shoot of the group doing crazy fun things in the classroom (or outside)g. standing on their heads, pulling faces, etc. (Using mobile phones so they can all share the pictures later)
- Have a pot luck lunch in the classroom
- A picnic in the park
- Classroom team games in English with prizes or cups
- Give out crazy awards to every student (by the teacher)g. Loudest talker, funniest smile…etc.
- Make a scrapbook of pics throughout the course of activities done and hand out to everyone with a best wishes card that everyone signs, and everyone gets a copy of.
So anyway – life can be very serious for our students with study and exams so this is a great chance to loosen the whole thing up. Everyone knows everyone so it’s not like it’s an icebreaker activity, if anything it is the opposite, trying to bring everyone back together to create a one-time memory for the future.
Any other ideas?