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TEFL Masterclass – Warmers, fillers and brain breaks to engage learners and enhance learning

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Lydia Summerfield – Teacher Trainer & Academic Manager

Delta-qualified English teacher Lydia Summerfield has been fortunate to live and work in China, South Korea, Spain, Slovakia, and Malta. Teaching English has enabled Lydia to encounter people from various backgrounds and gain worldly knowledge. She has served as an Academic Manager at a summer school in Bath and participated in the British Council Prelim project, designing and delivering a 10-week training course for non-native English teachers. Keen on collaborating with fellow educators, Lydia constantly updates her skills and exchanges ideas. As a mental health first aider with mindfulness training, she advocates for teacher and student wellbeing.

What you will learn

This ELT Masterclass webinar centers on crafting engaging, dynamic lessons using the ARC framework and integrating warmers, fillers, and brain breaks to augment learning. It highlights the significance of balancing activities that stimulate students and foster meaningful interaction, alongside breaks that boost focus and memorization.

The webinar underscores the importance of diversifying activities and interaction patterns to sustain student interest and motivation, as well as integrating feedback and reflection for language skill development and progress monitoring.

Teachers are urged to adapt and borrow ideas, reflecting on potential techniques to try or share. Resources such as the British Council website are recommended for activity inspiration. Overall, the webinar offers valuable insights and practical strategies for creating effective lessons using the ARC framework, ultimately enhancing students’ learning experiences and promoting language development.

Workshop Summary

Introduction:

In this ELT Masterclass webinar, the focus is on creating engaging and dynamic lessons using the ARC framework, and implementing warmers, fillers, and brain breaks to enhance learning. The speaker discusses the importance of balancing activities that engage students and promote meaningful interaction, as well as incorporating breaks to improve focus and memorization.

The ARC Framework

The ARC framework stands for Activate, Review, and Consolidate. It is an effective tool to help teachers structure their lessons and ensure that students are fully engaged in the learning process. The framework consists of three stages:

  • Activate: This stage involves introducing new language or concepts to the students. Teachers should use engaging activities that encourage students to use the target language, such as games, role-plays, or storytelling.
  • Review: In this stage, teachers help students to recall and practice the new language or concepts. Activities should be interactive and provide opportunities for students to work together, such as pair work, group work, or problem-solving tasks.
  • Consolidate: The final stage of the framework involves reinforcing the new language or concepts. Teachers should provide opportunities for students to apply their learning in real-life contexts, such as debates, presentations, or projects.

The speaker emphasizes that teachers should vary the activities and interaction patterns in their lessons to maintain student interest and motivation. Teachers should also incorporate feedback and reflection to help students develop their language skills and monitor their progress.

Warmers, Fillers, and Brain Breaks

The speaker discusses various warmers, fillers, and brain breaks that can be used to engage learners and enhance learning. These activities can help to increase or decrease energy levels in the classroom, depending on the needs of the students, and can aid memorization and learning efficiency by reducing stress and anxiety.

Warmers and fillers can be related to the lesson content or be completely separate, offering a break from the main lesson. Examples of warmers and fillers include meditation, playing games like Simon Says, or engaging in physical activities that get students moving.

Brain breaks, on the other hand, are short activities that help students refocus and recharge their minds. These breaks have been scientifically proven to improve memorization and learning. Examples of brain breaks include defocusing exercises, jumping the line, or drawing activities.

The speaker also highlights the importance of incorporating the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) into warmers, fillers, and brain breaks. Meaningful interaction in the target language can motivate students and enhance their learning experience. Examples of activities that promote interaction include running dictations, sentence reconstruction, or discussing current events and images.

The speaker encourages teachers to adapt and borrow ideas from others, reflecting on what they would like to try or share with other teachers. They suggest various resources, such as the British Council website, for finding inspiration and ideas for engaging activities.

Conclusion:

This ELT Masterclass webinar provides valuable insights and practical strategies for teachers to create engaging and effective lessons using the ARC framework and incorporating warmers, fillers, and brain breaks. By adapting and implementing these techniques, teachers can enhance their students’ learning experience and promote their language development.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. What warmers/ lead-ins do you do before the lesson to ensure your students are engaged, feeling comfortable and ready to learn?
  2. What fillers/ brain breaks do you do during the lesson to keep students engaged and/ or to refocus?
  3. Why do you include these activities? What are the benefits?
  4. What’s your favourite warmer/ filler that you use in lessons? And why?

Recommended Further Reading

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