Part of the problem of designing a great English wall seems to be breaking through all the noise. Students are inundated with information from posters lining the walls of the schools. So we ALTs have to figure out ways to attract students to the location. And we got to figure out how to stand out. Here are some of my ideas.
1) Use a Rubik’s Cube to Draw Students In
There is something magical about Rubik’s Cubes that force people to pick them up and try to solve them. If the students notice the Rubik’s Cube then the are more likely to notice the other content you have diligently prepared. I think other games/puzzles will work well too.
2) Post Memo Pads and Pens
Memo pads and pens give students something to do while at the English wall. Even if the content is old, they can still write a new message. Since attracting attention is about being out-of-the-ordinary, I like to post memo pads like this one shaped like an apple.
3) Make Packets that Will Flutter
In addition to being helpful for conveying more information about something, these packets will flutter as students walk by, catching their attention and making them more likely to notice the wall.
4) Get Personal
It’s really no secret that stuff about you or other teachers on display is some fascination to students. A friend of mine likes to post information about other ALTs in the city (with their permission, of course). Along those same lines, I’m thinking it might be fun to try to introduce all the teachers in the staff room like this.
5) Use Recurring Sections
Just like a newspaper column, sections on your board that you update periodically will get your students coming back for more. “Jobs that Use English” is one section I’m trying out new this year.
I remember putting hours of time and effort into my first English wall displays only to find that barely any students were checking out what I had put up. It was through this discouragement that I realized that, like anything else, we got to make our material stand out if people are going to take notice. So I hope these ideas are helpful to you if you are having any similar problems.
Surely there are other great ideas out their for attracting and keeping an audience of students, so please post your ideas in the comments section.
It’s not much, but here’s an example of my full English wall display.