REALIA in class

Hello everyone, it has been a while since our last post. What we want to focus on today is the use of REALIA in the ESL classroom.


REALIA is a great way to connect the theoretical use of English to real life contexts.


What is REALIA?

REALIA is basically the use of real life objects as the focal point of learning. This can be with real objects (toys, plants, food etc).


Why use REALIA?

The upsides of using REALIA in the classroom are well-documented and numerous. It allows teachers and learners to learn using all of their senses including touch, smell and even taste instead of focusing on the usual speaking and listening tasks. 


Learning can become monotonous if learners only use flashcards or grammar exercises, why not try something new?


The benefits of using REALIA?

REALIA helps students and teachers to put English into context. They can use role-play or experiments to expose themselves to real life language in the classroom and also elicit commonly used English.


When we use objects in class and relate these objects to experiences, it can also make learning more memorable! 


How can we use REALIA in class?

The best way to make good use of REALIA is to set short and simple tasks to show the learner how English can be useful in real situations that they will find themselves in (the supermarket, train station, shopping centre etc). Allow learners to experience the objects, to touch, smell and even taste them when appropriate.


Try some of these tasks:


A clothes shop

Students can use real clothes to ask for different sizes and styles and they can buy and sell clothes.


A restaurant

The learners can act out the roles of the waiter/waitress and customers to order and serve food.


A supermarket

A great way of learning food vocabulary is buying and selling real food in a staged supermarket. They can ask for a bag and the prices of products.


A train station

Students can discuss travel plans, timetables and ticket prices.


REALIA in listening tasks

From personal experience, we know that the teaching of listening and practicing listening skills can be dull when everything is focused on exam based tasks. Why not try using real videos from films, series or podcasts. This way learners will be exposed to extracts from real audios that natives listen to. It is easy to use short extracts from these audios to focus on target language and not become overwhelmed. This is especially effective with teenagers and adults.


The key to the process is preparation. If teachers review and prepare the REALIA materials effectively and have clear learning goals, it will ease the integration of REALIA into the learning experience.


We hope these tasks seem useful to you as the teacher and can inspire you to use REALIA in your classes for the benefit of all involved.


So, what are you waiting for? Give REALIA  a try and your classroom will come alive!

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