It goes without saying that any good beginner level (and many elementary) coursebook has a picture appropriately labeled to tell the students what everything is. If it's aimed at general learners, it'll be the kitchen or the bathroom or perhaps all the rooms in a house. If it's aimed at Business English students or ESP learners, it'll be common instruments they probably come into contact frequently.
But here's the thing... why use someone else's picture when your students actually live in houses, work in offices or manufacture on site?
My tech-tip to bypass the coursebook or rather personalize it, if you wish, is this:
1. Ask students to take photographs of the room they need to describe or refer to in common speech. In the example above, we've used an office. By the way, these were taken with Torsten's mobile phone.
2. Get your students to load the pictures up into a Powerpoint document.
3. Ask them to now work in groups to share each others best guesses at what things are before checking their dictionaries (online/on the phone/in hard copy).
If you're working individually, as I am in this case (not many beginner level students in Germany!), talk through the items together, ensuring that the student does most of the work, using words he's already come in contact with before and look up others together, rather than you giving him all the answers.
4. Ensure that your student(s) do all the labeling themselves.
5. If you're working on an online platform with students, you can also jpeg the slides and upload them into a common album.
Why is this such an amazing resource?
Aside from the fact it's a very personal photograph and therefore has a real and immediate relationship to the learner and his needs, you can use these pictures/Powerpoint slides, repetitively, to
- practice articles
- practice this and that, these and those
- practice prepositions
- discuss functions of items
- review vocabulary
Have you ever tried anything like this? How did it go? Do you think that the pfaffing involved is setting something like this up is prohibitory (it took us about 10 minutes to go around the building snapping pictures... about 5 minutes to load the pictures from his phone into Powerpoint but then I needed to teach him how to make boxes and label, that was about another 10 minutes - I'd refused to give the instructions in German) - we did this about a month ago and his feedback was that he knows the words because he 'sees' them whenever he looks at things in the office now.
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