Three Student-Centered Activities

Three Student-Centered Activities
by E. Goojidmaa
According to the communicative approach, teachers have to use or create many kinds of student-centered activities.  Information gaps, role-plays, and games are good ways to make our lessons really interesting and thus more understandable. 
Here is a way to connect information gaps and role plays.  Before the role-play, students can get background information by listening to a cassette tape, fill in the gaps on their papers, and then read it in pairs.  After that, they can choose their roles and act out the scene.
Tic Tac Toe and Bingo always make a boring lesson livelier.  For example, the teacher makes a big chart with 9 squares on the board.  The class is divided into two teams, “X’s” and “O’s.” The teams choose a square and do the task written in it.  If the team completes the task correctly, the team’s symbol (X or O) is written in the square.  When there is a straight line of “X’s” or “O’s” in any direction, that team is the winner.  The tasks should be appropriate for the unit and grade level.  They would include such items as Make a question starting with who, Find the ________, Describe the picture, and Correct the mistake. 
In my experience the Fish Pond game is also very exciting for students.  I use this game at the end of each unit.  My students like it a lot, and sometimes they beg me to organize it even when I hadn’t planned to.
Here is the game as I use it.  In a small “fish pond” made from a box, place small pieces of colored paper in the shape of a fish.  On the back of each fish is a special task held by a paper clip.  Students are divided into groups and then catch fish with a small magnet on the end of a “fishing rod” made from a pencil with a piece of string attached.  Students then answer the questions or do what is required on each fish.  The winning group can be the one that has the most fish.  The game can be played with any unit or class as the tasks can vary according to the unit and the level of the students. 
It is possible for teachers to be creative in their classrooms and lessons.  I have found that using communicative activities has benefited both my students and me as a teacher.
E. Goojidmaa teaches in Bornuur Soum Tov Aimag, and is an EXCEL graduate.