Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Getting a student's attention while teaching online can be challenging, and lots of teachers will suggest incorporating a puppet into the class. But, how can you use puppets, and why do they help? Well, let's take a look at five reasons why you should be using puppets in your online ESL class. 1. Puppets Are Fun!
Puppets are magical characters that naturally intrigue and fascinate young learners, making them a valuable tool for language learning. Learning English, most notably for lower-level students, involves a lot of repetition. Simply holding up flashcards and asking students to repeat words back to you gets boring very quickly. For many teachers, the challenge is to find fun ways to get students to repeat language again and again without getting bored. Puppets can are used to do just that. Young learners light up when introduced to puppets, and by giving your puppet a name and some characteristics, you will be surprised at how quickly students will be willing to repeat new words and speak in English with you. 2. Puppets Help Shy Students
In almost every class, there are one or two students that are a little younger or naturally shyer than the others, and getting those students to speak can, at times, be challenging. But, fear not because a puppet can help. Students believe that puppets are real and will quickly form a unique connection that is different from the relationship they have with adults. Because of this connection, you will be surprised at how willing your students are to open up and try speaking in English. They may start by merely whispering into your puppet's ear, but after a few classes, you will find that they are far more comfortable speaking in English during.
3. Puppets Help Model Language Puppets help show our students how language should be used. In the classroom setting, you might be able to use a teaching assistant or one of the stronger students in the class. But when teaching online, it's much hard to show students how to use the new language you are teaching. By using a puppet, we can show how a question is asked and the correct way to answer it in an engaging way that is clear and simple to follow. You can then have your student practice that language with the puppet by taking your role in the conversation. 4. Puppets Build Confidence Sometimes you encounter students who lack confidence and are too afraid to try speaking English in case they make a mistake. By introducing a puppet into the class, you are already helping students create that unique bond, and naturally, they become more willing to try. You can demonstrate using your puppet, that it is okay to make mistakes and that if you do, you can ask for help. By showing this in your class regularly, you help your students feel more comfortable and more confident. 5. Puppets Bring Story Telling to Life Young learners love stories, and you can make storytime even more engaging by introducing a storytime puppet. Your storytime puppet can tell the story or become a story helper by turning the pages and highlighting a few keywords. But storytime puppets are also great tools when checking comprehension. Your puppet can ask questions and pretend not to understand things.
So there you have it, five reasons to start using puppets with your young ESL learners. Have you tried using puppets in your ESL class? Let me know your experiences in the comments!
For fully accredited TEFL courses, check out i-to-i for a range of TEFL certificates
For teaching opportunities around the world, check the i-to-i jobs board here