Too often classes can be stale because they teacher just needs to teach vocabulary, grammar, or test preparation. Teaching from whatever textbook happens to be used in that particular class. I try to think of the textbook only as the foundation that my lessons are built on. For example, for IELTS or TOEFL students, that will be asked questions about their likes and dislikes. I teach them to search for native resources that can help them to confidently talk about their hobbies, goals and life.
For example…if a student is crazy about basketball, I would first put together a list of basic, topic specific, vocabulary to help the student to express themselves when talking about their passion. Starting with the names of their favorite teams/players in English, and including the names of the different positions.
Then I would assign outside reading from great sources like hoopshype.com, or hardwoodparoxysm.com. After each homework assignment, we dissect the new vocabulary and sentence structures from each article, and discuss the content of the article in-depth.
As a warm-up, I also like to show some recent highlights from ESPN or NBA.com. Grabbing the student’s attention and engaging them is critical in content retention.