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Welcome to The Teachers’ Room. The show all about teaching practice. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up an armchair and relax. Learn something new, remember something fundamental or just have a giggle.

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The Teachers' Room

Using realia

Dan and Sian talk about 3 ways to use realia.

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Did you like that? Why not try these?

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Using realia
Realia means real objects. There are lots of ways you can use a bunch of objects to teach English – even if they’re just random ones you grabbed in the staff room 5 minutes before the lesson!

Arthur’s hat
This involves choosing an object and imagining and sharing its backstory. Think about where it came from, who owned it and how it arrived here. Be as creative as you can! This activity naturally lends itself to teaching or reviewing defining and non-defining relative clauses. Get the students to tell each other tales. –the best wins!

This is great for practicing narrative tenses. Hand out the objects to the students and inform them that while on holiday, they bought this gift for another member of the class. They are going to give it to them, but first they must come up with a bit of information on where and how they bought it. The more unusual the better! Get students to prepare a short narrative and tell their partners. The most interesting one wins.

Explain that your students are the survivors of an aeroplane or boat accident and have been stranded on a desert island somewhere. All they have to survive with are a bunch of random objects (which you reveal to the class). They must come up with imaginative ways of using these everyday objects as tools for survival. Get them to work in groups. The group with the most imaginative uses wins. This is good for practising gerunds and infinitives of purpose (for + ing  / to + infinitive)

Classroom management tip
With a student who is very enthusiastic, louder or quicker to the answer than many other students, instead of dealing with their answer as soon as they’ve said it, offer their opinion to the rest of the class to confirm or reject before revealing the answer. This integrates the rest of the group rather than ruining the suspense for them and avoids having to ask the louder student to quieten down a bit or stop dominating things.

To do

Try our quiz to see if you've picked up our tips.

The Teachers' Room Quiz

4 Questions

Check what you've learned by selecting the correct answer to each question.

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Get involved

Well, those were just a few ideas that we here at BBC Learning English had, but we know that you teachers out there have lots of fantastic ideas too, and we’d like you to share them with us and everybody else.

If you have a great tip or technique for using realia, or anything else, please email us at Your email could be posted here on this page, or may even be mentioned in our show.

We are also looking for video tips to include in the programme. In order to do this, please include whether or not you’d like to be included for video with your tip, and we'll get in touch with you. You could be rewarded with a T-shirt for your efforts.

End of Session 4

Next up is Learners' Questions. What will this week's Learner Question be? Whatever it is, Dan's here with the answer! Join us in Session 5 to find out.

Vocabulário desta lição

  • Using realia

    • Arthur's hat
    • Souvenir
    • Survivor
    • Classroom management: loud students