Something I did when I was working as an Assistant Language Teacher at a junior high school in Japan was to make a serious attempt to create an English atmosphere outside the classroom. My objectives were to expose my students to Canadian culture, to build relationships with them, and to create opportunities for interaction.
Some of the things, which I initiated in collaboration with my Japanese colleagues, were to put up English labels for rooms and objects throughout the school. Some examples were Classroom, Math Room, Science Room, Music Room, Gym, Principal's Office, Staff Room, Nurse's Office, Washroom, clock, door, entrance, exit, fire extinguisher and so on.
We then set up an English Bulletin board so that I could share information about Holiday and Cultural events celebrated in Canada. The information was also translated into Japanese to help the students process the information. We also put out an open invitation to students to start an English diary with the purpose of helping them to learn to write in a second language.
Some other projects, which we were working on, were to set up an informal English club and create an English room filled with English resources, newspapers, magazines, music and games. The items I mentioned are only some examples. Other activities you might consider implementing are broadcasting school updates, the weather report and playing English music over the P.A. system during breaks and lunchtime to promote listening skills and designating certain areas of the school as English only areas.
Perhaps, you might just give it a try and be pleasantly surprised with the results as I was.
Copyright (c) 2005 Stefan Chiarantano- All rights reserved
Categories: Teacher Articles