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Primary teacher role play: writing with pen and finger to play a word game

Uploaded by Julie Alexander, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France)


This graduate class in education prepares learners for a teaching experience abroad. These pre-service French primary teachers will teach regular school subjects: English language, maths, geography etc. in English primary schools. This class is taught in English, but the focus is less on developing learners' language proficiency than on learning to teach other subjects to English learners. In this role-play activity, the learner at the IWB is organising a vocabulary game which she has designed for teaching 6 or 7 year old native speakers of English, while the other learners play the learners' role. In this extract she explains that teams will take turns to write up words which they find in the grid displayed, and we see one player from each team come to the board.  As this is the first time some learners are using the board, the "teacher" helps them use the pen or their fingers to write their words and show the correct letters.


Target language: English

Resource language: English

Native language of learners: French

Age range: 21+

Language level: B2 - Upper Intermediate

Educational context: Higher Education

IWB Features: Ad Hoc Annotation, Writing/pen tool (inc. handwriting recognition), Other

Teaching methods: Individual activity at IWB, Roleplay

Language area: Spelling, Vocabulary, Writing

IWB board used: SMART Board

Teacher comment

This was her choice. She decided on that particular game. [...] This is the kind of lesson that you could see in an English class. She used the right words - this is the most difficult part for French learners. To use the words that are going to be used in an English class - come to the board, etc, you know, classroom English. They're not used to using them. It's important for me to check that.

The second thing, the purpose, was to remain in communication with the learners. You see she's always present, she's near the learners, she never goes to the computer. This is a good criteria for the IWB. She uses the toolbar, she doesn't waste time.

My strategy is to encourage interactions. So the learners could ask questions to the teacher. And again, they do things together. Doing things encourages interactions between the learners. This is my purpose here. Of course you can learn words, the vocabulary, but it's much better to exchange, to interact.

Learner comments

Interviewer: You're primary teachers, you teach everything. Do you think the board is especially good for languages?

Learner: Well for any teaching I think [the IWB] will make it easier. Not especially for English but for any teaching I think, because if you are more motivated, it's more fun. You use all the senses, and I think that's the best way to memorize language. You do several things - I touch and I see and I hear - because she shows us that you can hear sometimes the word, writing and everything. I think mixing all of this makes [teaching and learning] better.



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About Us

iTILT is a European project on Interactive Technologies in Language Teaching which focuses on the use of interactive whiteboards in the communicative language classroom. If you have comments or questions about this project please contact us.