The Traditional Classroom Setting
EF provides students with state of the art classrooms. Comfortable chairs, big windows, heating, air conditioning, interactive whiteboards, cupboards, everything you need to create a fun and relaxing atmosphere for your students to learn. Classrooms are spacious enough to engage students in a vast array of fun and educational activities from “Run to the Flashcard” with young learners to debate clubs with the older and more able teens. In the classroom, students can engage in conversation about jobs, school, practice colors and numbers, allowing them to put into practice what they have learned from their textbooks.
Part of the content of every good textbook designed for the ESL classroom most likely will include a section on food and drinks. In the classroom, students will be happy to share ideas and talk about their favorite food, but what if you could enhance that experience and get them to actually try the food they are talking about? Would you bring a blender into the classroom? Well, that wouldn’t be necessarily safe, plus the classroom is not exactly designed for it, however, a great number of schools at EF have a classroom called: the ChEF Station.
The ChEF Station
The ChEF Station is an amazing multi-purpose room equipped with multimedia equipment, cooking gear (oven, microwave etc) and a working table where teachers can take their students’ learning experience even further!
Having a ChEF Station is a great tool for teachers. So, what can teachers do in a multi-purpose room like the ChEF Station? Like the name of the room suggests: ChEF Station, it’s an ideal place to combine the great fun of cooking and learning. Teachers can prepare lessons that revolve around preparing a dish or if the students are learning about tastes, then the teacher can prepare a lesson in which students actually taste different food items that they would have to describe using the target language.
An Example Lesson – Juice Club
A great example of how cooking and learning come together in the ChEF Station is a “Juice Club” held by EF Shijiazhuang’s DoS and his elementary level students back in January. Unit seven of the HF1A book (pre-A1 in the CEFR scale) students learn about fruits and to use formulaic expressions to express preference such as “What juice do you like?” “I like apple and kiwi juice”. After completing the workbook and plenty of practice in the classroom, the students spent one hour in the ChEF station letting everyone know what their favorite fruits are and making juice mixes with the help of their teacher. As a teacher, preparing this activity was very simple, all it required was getting the materials in advance, the school reimburses the teacher for any expenses incurred and then all is left is delivering an amazing lesson the students will definitely enjoy and have a chance to use the target language in a real life situation.
Cooking with English and Beyond
Since the ChEF station is after all a multi-purpose room, there is a lot more teachers can do other than cooking with the students. Around Easter, it’s a great place to dye eggs; it’s a great place for science experiments like a classic volcano made active with baking soda and lemon juice. With an excellent work surface, it’s also ideal for arts and crafts, learning about animals and what you can or can’t do at the zoo. Then go to the ChEF station and have students build their own zoos or complete cool animal themed puzzles.
While the success of a lesson will depend on the delivery, preparation and dedication of the teacher and countless other factors, having different kinds of classrooms definitely helps to add a great deal of variety and enhance the students’ learning experience at EF.