A (present) perfect lesson
There are a few ingredients I have found to be essential for a successful and effective lesson:
If I’m ever stuck for how to present a structure or a language point, I consider how to incorporate these elements and it usually works out quite well (if I do say so myself).
An example of this is this lesson on the Present Perfect vs Past Simple:
- Draw a map of the world on the board. If your artistic skills are of the same level as mine then you might consider printing one on an A2 or A1 piece of paper, but I find my students quite enjoy laughing at my attempts at illustrations – it can end up being a good guessing game warmer!
- On the map, using different colours, mark the countries you have been to and those you haven’t but would like to. For example, I would mark Thailand, China, the USA, England green because I’ve been there, and Mexico, Italy and Portugal pink because they are next on my list.
- Don’t tell the students what the different colours represent. Give them time to figure it out for themselves, which they always eventually do.
- Ask the students if they have any questions, which, again, they always do. You will end up with questions like – When did you go to Thailand? Why did you go to China? Did you like England? – with varying levels of accuracy. Answer the questions naturally.
- Once the students have asked what they want to ask, board examples of what you said which will illustrate the difference between the Present Perfect and the Past Simple – I’ve never been to Mexico but I’ve always wanted to go there; I went to Thailand 5 years ago; I lived in China for a year in 2007.
- Spend some time on the language focus – form, meaning and pronunciation.
- Let your students draw their own world map and ask each other questions about it. To add an element of purpose, your students can mingle and find out who has been to the most countries or the most interesting country – the options are endless.
And that’s it! If you find your students have not travelled much, this can still work as a Dream/Bucket list activity.