BOARDBOARD BASICSWe have come a long way from the individual chalk slates held by individual students in aone-room school house with dirt floors, a choking pot-bellied stove, curtain-less windows,and one person knowledgeable enough to teach manifold subject range to a class of all agespacked into one room. Blackboard learning was one of the first tools (after hundreds of years of sticks in the dirtlearning, etc.) that had a particular educational appeal. That is, blackboard learning was andis still effective as a visual aid for visual learners, those in the largest learning style groupof all.When using traditional boards keep in mind the following board basics. • Your students should have a clear, uninterrupted view of the board. Be careful that you dont block learners sitting at the sides of the room. When you write something on the board move away quickly so that students can see what you have written. • Especially with classes of Young Learners you need to develop the ability to write on the board with eyes in the back of your head. Dont turn your back on the class for too long. Good teachers have the ability to write on the board while still keeping a sharp eye on their students! • Write clearly on the board and make sure that you have written words/text big enough for everyone to see from the back of the class. With chalk and blackboard make sure that you wash the board often so that the writing stays clear. With a whiteboard make sure that the pen you are using is in a colour that everyone can read - black or blue are best. • Practice writing in straight lines across the board, particularly if you have students who are not used to Roman script. In some languages letters may look slightly different or handwriting styles may be different. Point out the differences to your students and make sure they can read clearly what you have written. • Check what you write as you write. Many students have visual memories so we must be careful about accuracy of spelling and grammar, especially if we intend students to copy it down in their notebooks to learn. • Check with your students that they are ready for you to clean the board. If you are waiting for some students to finish copying or doing an exercise dont leave the others twiddling their thumbs. Ask them to make a personalized example or start the warm-up for the next exercise orally.
Organizing your boardIf your board is messy and untidy then what your students write in their notebooks will bemessy too. • It is a good idea to divide your board into sections. Have one part for use during the lesson which can be cleaned off and re-used. Use another part for important information which can stay there for the whole lesson. For example, you could write up a list of the basic aims/activities for the lesson so that your students know what is coming. Tick items off as they are achieved during the class. At the end you can review the lesson aims for students to evaluate what they have learnt. • For older learners you could write up other important information - key grammar points or vocabulary needed for the lesson, or test dates etc. With Very Young Learners it is better to write this kind of information at the top of the board. Leave the lower part empty for you and the students to write on. Remember they probably wont be able to reach the top half of the board.What we can do with the boardWe can use the board in many ways in the classroom, not just for writing up newvocabulary. You can use your board for giving instructions, reinforcing oral instructions.For example, just writing up the page number and the exercise on the board in a large classsaves a lot of repetition! When doing group work or project work use the board to organiseyour class - write up a list of who is doing what in each group. • You can write up messages, exercises, short texts or items for correction from oral activities. Colored chalks or pens are very useful for writing up dialogue parts. • Use your board to provide records of new words, structures, how a word is used. Or brainstorm new vocabulary with the class in a spidergram. With more advanced classes you can provide a record of a class discussion, or give help with planning for writing e.g. for exam tasks.DisplayingYou can use the large surface of your board to display all sorts of items - posters, picturesand flashcards. Use large pictures for class oral work but have students come out to theboard to point to or talk about various items. Magazine pictures can be used for a variety oforal activities. Flashcards can be used for many games apart from simple matchingactivities. • Try to encourage students to come out to the board to choose, select, order or describe pictures. All of these will make your classroom more interactive and avoid too much teacher talking time.
• You can display other items such as authentic materials - e.g. maps, adverts, photos, as well as learners own work. Remember that you dont have to stick to the board. • You could display items around the room, particularly if they are not large enough for the whole class to see at the front. Ask your students to move around and look at the materials.Playing gamesWe can play many different games using just the board. Teachers need a repertoire of boardgames as warmers, fillers or lesson-ending activities which require no preparation. • Apart from the traditional games of hangman, and noughts and crosses (answering questions for O or X) you can play many others. • ‘Pictogram can be played with all levels (Draw a picture and guess the word). With younger learners spelling races are very popular. • Word games are an excellent way of settling classes and revising vocabulary. Use anagrams or jumbled sentences or for Very Young Learners words with missing vowels.Using visualsYou dont have to be a genius at drawing to use pictures and drawings with your students.In fact, the worse the drawings are .. the more fun! Try to master basic stick men and faceswith expressions, especially if your students are young learners. • Drawing pictures is an essential skill for explaining texts and stories to our students. Practise story-telling with basic pictures on the board. Remember you can ask your students out to the board to draw too - this is a fun activity at whatever level. You can create picture stories with your students and use these for further oral or written work. • Other visuals which are useful to draw are large-scale pictures such as maps, a plan of a town, a plan of a house/school/new building etc. These could be used with stick on cut outs to provide a wealth of language practice.Final tipsTry to make your board as interactive as possible. • Ask students to come out to draw, write, present or even work. You could allow one group to work at the board when doing a group task. • Use your board as support for your voice - to give instructions, examples and feedback.
• You can use board activities as an aid to discipline - settle a noisy class for example by giving a quick copying exercise or word game. Write a childs name up on the board if they are talking too much instead of just telling them off. • Your board is an organizational tool too. Use it as a memory store for things to do or keep you on track with a lesson. Remember the more organized you are on your board, the more organized your students will be too.BOARD EVOLUTIONWith visual learning styles outnumbering verbal, kinesthetic, sensing, intuitive, and otherless frequently extant styles, blackboard learning has been augmented by educators usingslide shows, reel-to-real films projected onto pull-down screens, DVD materials, andcomputer hardware and software presentation tools.Blackboard learning went through a revolutionary (or evolutionary) change whenwhiteboards with erasable markers and easels, presentation pads, and markers were thoughtto enhance the learning experience. But the internet changed traditional blackboard learningfor good.Without eliminating it as a tool that continues to be effective for a majority of learners, thenet capabilities and resources spawned a new kind of learning tool--distance learning.Actually these facilities have not really created a new tool (as distance learning has existedfor hundreds of years) and they have not replaced effective learning/teaching strategies. These technological advances have enhanced and supplemented and made more availableand accessible blackboard learning. In fact, one online system is called the BlackboardLearning System--one which allows learners to study in a virtual classroom, watching theclassroom lectures and sessions by closed-circuit and other media online; which enablescontinued learning by chat, email, and forum discussion with peers and tutors; whichadministers and requires online testing; and which provides supplemental materials such asQuicktime movies, downloadable video-recorded lectures, and numerous interactivesoftware systems. Blackboard learning isnt going anywhere. It is instead going throughexponentially enhanced phases that enhance the learning experience for all.Source:http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/using-boardhttp://agonist.org/LearningCenter/education/traditionalblackboardlearningtotheumpteenthpower.html