ESL /EFL Teaching Tip: Productively Filling Time at the End of a Lesson

Do you find yourself with 5 or 10 minutes left at the end of the lesson?  It’s not enough time to start something new, but too early to finish the lesson completely.  Here are some things you can do to productively fill the time:

  1. Reflection on the lesson. In pairs, or as a whole class, students think and talk about what they learned, found difficult, found really useful, want to learn more about, etc.  This can be a great opportunity for peer-teaching!
  2. Reflection on the course. Students talk, in general, about their progress on the course or in your class so far.
  3. Preparation for the next lesson (or explaining what’s coming up in the course). If there is anything that would be helpful for the students to review or consolidate before the next lesson, it is useful to review this with them.
  4. Self-study tips (These can be shared by the teacher or the students). One way to do this is to ask students to think of one tip that they have found useful in their language development. Then have all the students stand up and mingle  to share ideas.
  5. Asking about future plans. This can be a nice personalized way to end class on a Friday. It is also useful for you to know what your students like to do, so that you can cater some of your future lessons to their needs/interests.
  6. Choosing language from the lesson to study further at home. For example, students choose 5 words from a reading text that they want to learn more about. You can then have students share their lists with a partner. You can also follow-up on this the next time you have 5-10 minutes left by having students share what they learned about the words on their lists. Give them a few days to do some research, though, and make sure the students know that you will have a follow-up activity involving their word lists!
  7. An extension on the previous activity. For example, a discussion on the topic of the activity, lesson or text.
  8. Model the homework. Do the first 1 or 2 questions from the homework in small groups or as a class. This can be a useful model – and students will appreciate having less to do after class!
  9. Setting up the next lesson’s first activity. Activate schema or set context for a reading or listening task, or pre-teach vocabulary before a speaking activity or grammar presentation that you plan to start the next lesson with. You can then do a quick review and get into the activity sooner the next day.
  10. Do a fun ‘filler’ activity. This would be similar to a warmer or ice-breaker.  It can also be a quick review activity e.g. hot seat, or a stand-alone game. This games can do wonders for your student’s motivation levels and also provide a nice opportunity to build group dynamics!

I hope you found these ideas helpful! If you have anything to add, please share your ideas in the comments :).



4 Comments Add yours

  1. liamjameshaddock says:

    Great tips, thanks!

  2. Thanks for the list 🙂 Usefull.

  3. You may find some useful stuff at my site

  4. Really interresting. Don’t waste lessons time.

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