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Whiteboards Make Language Teaching More Effective

Whiteboards are valuable classroom tools when teaching a language, says an English language teacher trainer. The trainer, Dr. Dianne Tyers of Advanced Consulting for Education, offers advice on optimal use of a whiteboard to enhance language teaching. She notes several reasons why use of a whiteboard can help students better learn a language. Those reasons include:

  • Giving students the visual side of language, so they can hear and see words and grammar;
  • Supporting different learning styles, especially for students who are primarily visual learners;
  • Allowing fluidity in teaching, so the teacher can adjust to student responses, and not be tied to a pre-written presentation such as a PowerPoint display;
  • Re-enforcement of the key points of a lesson.

Organize the Sections of the Whiteboard

Dr. Tyers suggests that language teachers organize their whiteboards in a consistent manner. One method could be:

  • Upper left corner – Lesson objectives
  • Upper right corner – Lesson vocabulary
  • Lower left corner – Homework
  • Lower right corner – Lesson grammar
  • Center space – Working lesson

She offers some other tips on use of the whiteboard during lessons:

  • When writing, use print letters and not cursive.
  • Before the lesson, write something on the board, then go to the back of the room to make sure you can read what you have written.
  • Try not to turn you back on the class, so your interaction stays with the students and not the board.
  • Designate different color markers for different purposes. For example, sentence subject words could be in black; verbs could be in red, etc.
  • Make sure not to write on an angle.
  • If you have a magnetic whiteboard, take advantage of it. For example, you could post a picture of the word or words being taught.
  • Make sure the board is clean. (EVERWhite boards are super easy to keep clean and to keep bright and white.)
  • Test your markers before the lesson to ensure there is enough ink in each of them.

Get more details on Dr. Tyer’s advice at her step-by-step YouTube presentation on the role of whiteboards in teaching education.