Writing the review of a book written by Jane Revell is not an easy task. For one thing, she is one of the most respected and resourceful authors of our time. Besides, her ability to innovate and present us with so much relevant information is simply amazing. In her latest book, Revell does not disappoint her readers and admirers.
Energising your classroom is an extremely timely publication, as mental health and well-being become an increasing concern, not only among ELT professionals but also among students. Above all, Revell clearly explains, justifies and indicates how simple, short activities can help invigorate our lessons and how positive this is.
The book is divided into a General Introduction, five Chapters, a Post-Script and, of course, a References list. In the General Introduction you will find a concise but clear rationale behind the book and an objective explanation of how it is organised. The best thing about the introduction is that you have
the impression the author is talking directly to you and knows exactly how you and your students can feel during a lesson. The book certainly contributes to energising the class for both teachers and students. There are two other aspects mentioned in the General Introduction that I believe are really worth highlighting. The first refers to the fact that it is not possible to energise (or motivate) people, but that you can create an energising and motivating environment and thus encourage people. The second is that energising does not necessarily mean interacting with one another, or ‘jumping up and down’ in the classroom. As the author points out, it is important to cater for the needs of the so-called introverts, especially in a world that seems to be geared towards extroverts most of the time. In the introduction you’ll also find information on the five Chapters in the book.
Chapter 1 is dedicated to Energisers, designed to raise physical or mental energy, as the name suggests. Chapter 2, called Brain
Boosters, is dedicated to activities aimed at taking a break for a moment and doing something different. Chapter 3, Breathers, is about individual thinking (or non-thinking) time or, in other words, relaxation activities. Chapter 4 is on the students’ reasons for learning English and on helping them find their own motivation to do so. Chapter 5 is dedicated to teachers and to helping us looking after ourselves. All chapters offer a range of activities, some of which will consume very, very little time in our classes and which require minimum or even no preparation at all, but which will certainly have a positive impact on students’ learning. Finally, you’ll find an extra activities bank in the Post-Script, which can be used for warmers or fillers and a one-page list of References and suggested reading.
I have to say that analysing Energising your Classroom only increased my admiration for Jane Revell’s work and her willingness to actually help teachers and students feel better, the effects of which will go beyond the classroom. This is definitely a book to treasure.
One of the secrets of teaching language successfully lies in balancing routine classroom work with innovatite and creative activities in various areas, such as linguistics, pedagogy and cognitive psychology, and shows them practical ways of using key findings in these areas enrich their teaching.
|Elaine Hodgson has been an ELT professional for almost 30 years. She holds an MA and a PhD in Applied Linguistics and a DELTA (M1) certificate. She is also a tutor and supervisor in the Distance MA in TESOL for the University of Birmingham (UK).|