Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers
TEFL Techniques: The Weather Forecast The UK is blessed with ‘weather’ rather than ‘climate’ – i.e., like Forrest Gump’s famous Box of Chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get! Countries that have climates mostly know what the day’s weather is going to be like: it’s summer – it’ll be hot and dry, and it’ll probably rain at four in the afternoon; it’s winter – it’ll snow for three and a half months. Granted the climate is changing around the world as you read this, but you understand the principle? In the UK we can have four seasons in an afternoon! Our winters vary, our summers vary even more.
One day we can have several degrees of frost, and the next, the wind changes and the sun shines and warms our world up by fifteen degrees. This is fun – yes, really. Living on a large island on the eastern edge of a large ocean brings unpredictability to the sky that we Brits love. What to wear? How to second guess the forecaster? Will it rain today? Should I wear sun-screen?! I admit we Brits are obsessed with the weather, and therein lies a great teaching tool for my students of English as a Foreign (EFL) or second (ESL) language. I start every day with a comparative weather forecast. The student’s home town forecast goes on the board, as does our local one. Think of the words we can learn together, not only weather words (which are different every day!), but comparatives by the bucketful (warmer, colder, wetter) and lots of strange English expressions – ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’, to give you one example.
Our forecast also allows the student to talk about home, and I have found the forecast has kicked off some excellent conversations. It becomes a daily ice-breaker, adding structure to our session from the start. More advanced lessons could involve looking at different forecasting methods and analysing them: listening to the radio, reading the paper, watching the television, considering folklore regarding the weather. The four key skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking can all be exercised by the weather: how about getting a small group to prepare a TV weather forecast sketch for you? What’s the weather like where you are?
Andrew is a qualified TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher, with 15 years experience of the global Automotive Industry as a Sales manager with an International component and systems supplier. For more information about learning English with Andrew at his home in the UK, visit the Lets Talk 2 website. http://lets-talk2.com/_wsn/page2.html