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The Power of Review

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One overlooked part of the teaching process is review. Even if your coursebook has some review built into every unit, your students could still use more review to consolidate what they've learned. Furthermore, the more material you present from outside the coursebook, the more you really need some good review. Any book on memory skills will tell you that in order to retain material, you must encounter it several times.

Below are a few suggestions for some review practice. Some of these might be familiar, but all should help your students keep what they've learned. (For more suggestions, I recommend Chapter 3 - "Reviewing" from The Standby Book edited by Seth Lindstromberg, as well as Chapter 5 - "Reviewing" from Planning from Lesson to Lesson by Tessa Woodward and Seth Lindstromberg)

1) You can simply put the words, phrases, or sentences you want students to remember on the board, and elicit definitions. This is a good way to end the class, although not the most exciting way to review.

2) Another way is to make a test out of it. Erase the board, and write at the top "TEST YOUR MEMORY!". Ask students to call out anything you wrote on the board earlier in the class, and you write it down as you hear it. Try to experiment with different writing styles, colors, sizes of writing, etc.

3) Write the words you want to review on the board, but with the letters scrambled, so that students have to rearrange the letters to form the words. For phrases and sentences, you can scramble the word order and have students put them back in the proper order.

4) Bring some large poster-size paper to class. Put the students in groups and have them make posters of the vocabulary based on topic, theme, category, or function. Encourage your students to be as creative as possible, and put the posters up on the wall (if your school permits) at the end of class.

5) Have a student come to the front of the class. Whisper a vocabulary word to him or her, and have him or her mime it to the class. The class must guess the word.

6) Have a student draw a visual representation of a word on the board, and let the class guess which word.

7) Finally, you can put the items to be reviewed on the board briefly, then erase and ask students to write down as many as possible.


Hall Houston
Fortune Junior Technical College
Chishan, Taiwan

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