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Diploma in Tesol Joyce N.



5. Discuss the range of visual aids available to the language teacher and how
they can be used in the classroom mentioning their suitability for different
The teacher needs to have a wide range of resources in the classroom for his/her
students´ development in the learning process. And these resources must include
pictures. Things that we see have an enormous importance in affecting and giving
us information. The importance has to be made on giving the students “a reason”
for listening, reading, writing or speaking. There are many teaching aids available
to a language teacher. Teaching aids are resources and equipment available in the
classroom and those that can be brought in by the students and the teacher. They
include visual aids like Blackboard or Whiteboard, Flash Cards, Word Cards,
pictures, Realia, overheard projectors, computers and internet, games and puzzles,
models and the teacher themselves. A teacher selects and uses the aids after careful
self-examination about the aim of the lesson and the age group of the students. The
visual aids can be grouped into those that can be used for elementary, intermediate
and advanced students. Beginners can be taught using the blackboard/whiteboard,
flash cards/word cards, charts, pictures, games and puzzles. Intermediate students
would learn well employing the use of books, magazines, realia, computers and
videos in addition to the aids used to teach the lower level. Advanced students are
taught by the use all the visual aids available to both the beginners and
intermediate students and also are taught with overheard projectors, internet
research and the dictionary.

Black board/White board:

The blackboard is one of the most useful of visual aids: It is a versatile piece of
teaching equipment whether it is the traditional black board or modern white
board. It is a versatile piece of teaching equipment whether it is the traditional
black board or modern white board. It is always available in classroom, and it can
be used for many purposes without special preparation.
There are three main principles, which teacher should take into account.:- i)Write
clearly and big enough for all the students to read what is written on the board. ii)
Stand to a side and not hiding what you are writing. iii)Talk as you write in order
to involve students as much as possible
Diploma in Tesol Joyce N. Santhosam

Boards provide an important point for the whole class and its activities. It can be
used as a note pad where teachers write things as they come up during the lesson,
these might be words or phrases the students do not understand or that teachers
want them to remember or learn. Some teachers use different colored chalks or
pens to highlight or show the different parts of their lesson. Boards can also be
used to draw, thereby, helping students to understand ideas and words. Another
activity is to ask students to come up to the board and fill in the blanks in a
sentence. Teacher have to get the students’ attention by giving them activities that
would get the students involved or interested and this would help make learning
interesting. Handwriting on the board should be clean and easy to decipher.
Teachers should organize the board into columns to avoid scribble and clutter on
the board. They could keep the left hand side of the board to write in new words,
the right side could be used to write the lesson plan while the middle is reserved
for the activities like games, grammar explanation and drawings. The board can be
used to play a number of games like describe and draw. This is an activity where
one students describes a picture and the other draws it without looking at the
picture. Teachers’ can have some words and their meaning written on the board in
columns of either side and ask the students to take turns matching the word to its
meaning. They can also play word games where the teacher writes a four or five
letter word and coin a new word with the last letter of the previous word. Here the
students could be divided into teams or groups and made to play making it
competitive and interesting. Teachers should not constantly turn their back to the
class and write on the board for a long time as it can be de-motivating and cause
students to be restless. It is ideal to involve the students with the board as much as
possible to create interaction and involvement. When the class is over, as a
courtesy to their colleagues the teacher should clean the board and leave it ready
for the next lesson.

Pictures/Flash cards/Charts/Images/Magazines/Realia/Games:
The use of pictures by teachers have always helped to stimulate the students and to
accelerate their understanding and learning. Pictures are used for a variety of
communication activities. Pictures can be in the form of flash cards or those taken
from books or magazines. These can be held up for the class to see. Some teachers
also like to draw pictures on the blackboard or whiteboard. They then ask students
Diploma in Tesol Joyce N. Santhosam

to label them for better understanding. Flash cards are extremely useful when
teaching young children vocabulary, grammar or for cueing different sentences.
Flash cards should be small and must be held up one after the other. They can
have simple drawings, words or phrases. Word cards are similar to flashcards and
used in the same way as flashcards. There are many activities a teacher can do with
these cards, like sets of word cards can be used to match pictures cut from
magazines. Both flash cards and word cards are mainly used with children and
adults who are unfamiliar with the Roman script. It is very useful to have a
magazine picture library in class. It can be built up easily. Pictures can be cut out
of greeting cards, brochures and catalogues. Large pictures are ideal for presenting
to the whole class while small ones can be reserved for group activities and pair
work. Pictures last longer when mounted on cards and protected with a plastic
sheet or film. Charts are used for listening comprehension, presenting and
practicing structures and picture composition. Charts usually illustrate a scene or
tell a story in a sequence of events in four pictures. Charts can be bought from
stores or the teacher and students can make their own. They are generally larger
and have more detail. It could also be a table of words, grammar rules or diagrams.
Pictures and charts aid description and discussion activities.
Realia are real objects that both from books, magazines or newspaper cuttings. It
is used to teach vocabulary, build dialogue, share information and for games and
puzzles. Children in primary school take objects that are dear to them to school for
“show and tell”. Children are encouraged to bring objects pertaining to the lesson
and also those that are interesting. This however, should be done with discretion
and must be appropriate in terms of lesson, as a stopgap to break the monotony of a
lesson or when a teacher is asked to “hole the fort” in a strange class. Games are a
useful part of many lessons; they aid motivation and add to the pleasure of
speaking and learning. Some of the popular games played in class are Crosswords,
Steps, Word finder, Kim’s game, Word bingo, and Icebreaker.

The Teacher as a visual aid:

A teacher should realise that he/she is the best visual aid for effective teaching and
not the power-point or overhead projector. Teachers use mime and gestures to
clarify meaning and create context. A teacher can pull a sad face, pretend to sleep
and drink and demonstrate word like frightened to the students with ease.
Exaggerated mime and expression make meaning explicit. For example:
Diploma in Tesol Joyce N. Santhosam

indifference can be shown by shrugging of the shoulders, flying can be shown by

using the hands of either side to move up and down. Although gestures are
generally accepted it should be used with care. Some gestures do not have
universal meaning and what may be acceptable in a situation or place may not be
appropriate in another. Gestures, which are widely used, are pointing to students to
make them participate in a lesson. This gesture should be used with care as it may
come across as aggressive or make it obvious that the teacher has failed to
remember or learn the student’s name and as being less than respectful of their
identity. However teachers are the ideal aid to provide comprehensive input as they
know the students and can react appropriately in a way no other aid can.
Language teachers use a variety of teaching aids to explain meaning and
construction, engage students in topic or as the basis of the whole activity. We
have looked into a number of aids that can be helpful to the teacher for both
practical and motivational reasons. Apart from all the aids mentioned the most
useful aid a student can ever have is the dictionary. A teacher’s role is not only to
impart knowledge, but also to mold the student’s personality and character.
Teachers may use many metaphors to describe themselves, some consider
themselves to be like actors as they are constantly in front of an audience, some
call themselves orchestral conductors because they direct conversations and set the
pace and tone. Others compare themselves to gardeners who plant the seed of
knowledge and watch them grow. Whatever the image or view the teachers use to
describe their profession, within the classroom, the role changes from one activity
to another. All roles however aim at facilitating the student’s progress and if the
teacher is fluent at making these changes effectively the performance of the
students will be greatly enhanced. No teacher knows absolutely everything about
the language, what they should be able to offer guidance as to where students can
go to look for that information. Teachers should employ the aids to make the
students use the resources available to become independent learners and resist the
urge to make them reliant. All the visual aids available to a teacher should be used
prudently in the right combination so as to not rely completely on electronic aids
alone as it is susceptible to malfunction or unavailability. However over-reliance
on one of the aids or on the teachers themselves can place excessive demands on
one or the other. It is hard on teachers to constantly be motivating, amusing, and
continuously offer varied voices, gestures and expression. Therefore employing a
good combination of the range of visual aids available while teaching a basic and
important teaching skill.
Diploma in Tesol Joyce N. Santhosam