How To: Teaching with Limited Resources

So you’ve got qualified, found the job, nailed the interview, acquired the visa and landed in your new home. What’s next? Your new boss, be they line manager, senior teacher or Director of Studies, will probably give you a quick once-round the school to help you find your bearings and see what’s what.

As you walk round the building, you find yourself beginning to panic. These classrooms are small, and they have blackboards so old that they’re more like greyboards. The teachers’ room seemed conspicuously lacking in things like flashcards, realia and textbooks. You’re starting to wonder if the school has an internet connection.

So you’ve got a job in a school with no materials…

What can you do? Here are a few ideas:

Don’t have a CD player?

Read the dialogues yourself, either live or recorded. (this has the side bonus of being inherently amusing to your students, as well as allowing you to easily focus on troublesome sections).


No photocopier?

Encourage note-taking, it’s good practice anyway (try and get hold of a flipchart and leave it visible so that the slower writers can keep up).


Not enough textbooks?

Use group work to alleviate this. Make sure you mix up your groups, and give everyone well-defined roles so discussion isn’t dominated by a few voices (it’s all good student to student interaction if you monitor well).


No realia?

Use the class itself. Realia are a great resource, especially when teaching children, they can really help to focus attention. In lieu of them, use the students; have them act out, role play and mimic, they’ll have a lot of fun doing it.