Here are 5 ways that you can save time and money in your English classroom and improve your EFL/ESL lessons.
Hey English Teachers, do you feel like there’s not enough time in the day? Are you frustrated by the high costs of EFL/ESL materials and resources? I’ve taught English in Japan for more than 10 years, and been successful in starting my own Eikaiwa school, and there’s always a feeling that I can do more to help my students improve their English abilities in my lessons. I’ve spent years refining my methods and coming up with new ways to stay profitable, but I constantly feel like I’m restricted by time and money constraints in my English lessons. I’ve realized over time, however, that there are many small things I can do to save time and money, as well as make my English lessons more effective. Today I’m going to share my classroom secrets with you.
I will share some tips that have helped improve the efficiency of my lessons, from lesson preparation to classroom organization. I hope you can use some of the ideas in your own EFL/ESL classroom and English lessons to create a better learning environment.
Save time when preparing lessons
The following tips can help you save time and money when preparing for lessons.
1. Plan the entire curriculum in advance
These seems obvious, but for several years, I didn’t have a complete curriculum decided. I can’t count the number of hours I spent every week searching for flashcards, worksheets, or thinking of activities for my lessons. Now that we use BINGOBONGO Curriciulum cards, I spend no time planning the lesson content.
2. Hang your flashcards on the wall
Putting all your flashcards on the wall will help you save tons of time. Plus it makes your classroom more colorful and decorative. We use magnets on whiteboards or pushpin style hooks to organize everything on our walls. This way, if I’m in a classroom and need specific flashcards, I can just grab them off the wall. BINGOBONGO Flashcards are easy to make and a convenient size for decorating your classroom. I recommend making a set of flashcards for every classroom in your school so you don’t have worry about flashcards being used by a different teacher in another classroom.
3. Check homework when students come into class
If you think about it, kids aren’t the most efficient at taking out books, worksheets, pencils, or other things from their bags out during class time. So by having students take out their homework before coming into the classroom, we can save time. Even if it’s a only a couple minutes saved, it all adds up to give you more teaching time in the end. One huge benefit of using BINGOBONGO FUN!books and worksheets is that there is no longer a need for a separate workbook and textbook. All of the necessary images and vocabulary are contained on each worksheet.
4. Keep students’ books in the school and only give worksheets to take home
Taking the worksheet idea one step further, we found that by keeping the students’ FUN!books (with tear-out pages) at the school, we solve the problem of students forgetting, losing, or destroying their books. It also simplifies the homework process because we only give them the worksheet they need to do for that lesson’s homework. Parents also appreciate this because it’s easy to see what homework is required and whether it has been done or not at a glance.
5. Take away your students pencils/erasers/bags/etc.
When we first started, we had a list of things that we’re expected students to bring, such as pencils, erasers, color pencils, scissors and more. After seeing how long it takes kids to take out their supplies, however, we realized that it’s easier if we just prepare all of the pencils and supplies necessary for each lesson. This is also great because it gives students more opportunities to communicate in English by using expression like, “Can I use a pencil, please?“ “Here is your eraser.“ “Can I borrow your marker?“ You can’t argue with something that saves time and gets your students communicating in English!
6. (BONUS!) Use our free digital online flashcards (no app required)
Physical flashcards are great for teaching, but there are many ways to use BINGOBONGO Learning’s free online digital flashcards. Click a link and instantly transform your phone, computer, tablet or TV into a set of interactive flashcards. They have cool features such as the ability to turn on or off the picture, the word, and the sample sentence. They also have fun interactive audio features. You can change the voice for the word and target sentence, plus there’s a question using the vocab with complete answers. Teachers can use digital online flashcards in lessons, students can use them for independent study in a computer lab, or they can be used as part of homework assignments. We are constantly updating our library of digital flashcards, so check back often!
More time and money means a better English classroom
These are just a few ideas that might help you save time and money in your EFL/ESL lessons. No two teachers or classrooms are the same, but one thing is clear: the more efficient you can make lessons and less time you spend on unnecessary things, the more productive and fruitful your lessons will be. We hope you can use some of the ideas above or find your own ways to make a more efficient classroom.
Jeremy regularly gives presentations and workshops around Japan. He has also shared many of his ideas and experiences with numerous people through podcasts. You can hear selected podcasts below or check the following schedule of upcoming events and presentations to find out more.
Language School Owners Podcast: Self Publishing Your Own Curriculum
Language Kitchen Podcast 10 - A Story of Success as a Lifelong Learner by Huy Tran of Language Kitchen
★Upcoming Events and Presentations★
★JALT PANSIG Conference★
May 18/19, 2019
1. (TBA) Goodbye to the Days of Students Not Doing Homework
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- Problems with Games in ESL/EFL Classrooms (and Solutions) - February 4, 2019