How Teachers Start Lessons

How many of us start lessons by asking students to put their mobile phones away? Probably too many. The vast majority of our students come to class with a computer more powerful than all of NASA had in 1969. NASA used their technology to put men on the moon with a rocket. Our students use their technology to fight zombies with plants. Doesn’t that sound like a waste?

 How mobile phones have changed the world

Mobile phones dominate how we interact with each other and access information. Phone usage continues to increase year on year, regardless of where you are in the world. Well, almost. There is one place where mobile phone use is almost always discouraged. I don’t mean North Korea. I don’t mean China Eastern airlines. I mean the EFL classroom.

 What about Your Phone?!

How long has it been since you last looked at your mobile phone anyway? Five minutes? Ten? Half an hour at the most? If our students are using their phones half as much as we are, we’d better figure out a way of helping them use their phones to communicate in English.

3 Ways to Incorporate Mobile Phones in Class

1. At the class level: forget writing, teach typing. Writing with a pen and paper is a 20th century skill. Our students need practice typing English with their thumbs. Turn writing tasks into an opportunity for students to send emails to you and each other. Youcan display these emails on your class IWB or projector screen.

2. At the center level: tell your center manager to invest in the Doceri app. This lets you link your tablet to your classroom computer which allows teachers to move around the classroom more and prepare board annotations ahead of time.

3. At the institution level: implement a BYOD (bring your own device) policy for students. The money saved from investing in tablets can be put into getting high quality Wi-Fi and training teachers to incorporate mobile devices in lessons.

Mobile phones are everywhere. Let’s make sure our students aren’t learning English in the North Korea of language classrooms.