LEARNING ENGLISH THROUGH HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES

I’ve always been fond of hands-on activities in class. They encourage such a lifelong love of learning. A way for young students to learn and understand by doing instead of just retaining information by reading or being exposed to lecture classes. So, why not trying when teaching English in the bilingual classroom?

English Language Learners can benefit so much from this proactive approach in order to acquire skills, knowledge and vocabulary within a meaningful context as well as increasing their learning experience, motivation, enthusiasm and self-confidence as a range of abilities and learning styles are catered for.

Here’s an example of one of the many hands-on activities we carry out in class.

Last term Y1s ( 6 year-old Spanish pupils ) just wanted to know what happened to the puddles in the playground as the water was evaporated after playtime. Due to a driving question ( Where did the water go? ) children started to ask more questions and formulate a variety of hypotheses with some help. Scientific vocabulary was introduced along the track. There was not need for them to memorize a long list of meaningless words for a test. Then, small groups carried out a mini water cycle experiment in class ( see the picture below). At the end of it, students were able to explain both written and orally what happened to the water in the plastic cup as sessions were delivered totally in English.

From my own experience, this educational method that directly involves students, by actively encouraging them to do something in order to learn about it, has countless advantages to enhance linguistic competences. Not to mention the effects of learning through a cross-curricular approach.

Reading rockets: Hands-on activities
http://www.readingrockets.org/article/13352

British Council Bilingual Project:
http://www.britishcouncil.org/spain/en/bilingual-schools-project-0

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