Monday, February 15, 2010

The English board at school- what do I put on it?


If you've ever been a ESL teacher or ALT in your lifetime you've probably been tasked with keeping the all important English board at school up to date. This is a notice board usually in the corridors at school that has been dedicated for the purpose of educating all those little pupils passing by about English customs and language.


Well I was lucky enough to only cover 2 elementary schools per week whilst working as an ALT in Japan so I had time to do mine (I know other ALT's cover up to 10 schools at a time and simply don't have the bandwidth to maintain them)

Anyway if you're a new ALT and wondering what to put on your English board at school I've put this post together to help you! (I went through the same) Sometimes I used to have so much time on my hands I'd spend an afternoon putting it all up and then take a step back to admire my masterpiece! Hahaha

OK so here is what I put on my English Board throughout the year:


  • For a great self-introduction put up info about you (kids are always intrigued with you as a foreigner) postcards of your town/county, your national flag, your family tree with photos and pets (Japanese rarely have pets due to space)

  • Another thing you can do is put together a comparisons chart, I did England vs Japan and had a picture of knife and fork/chopsticks, milk tea with a biscuit being dunked/green tea, Queen Elizabeth/Emperor and Dangermouse/Hello Kitty (Admittedly Dangermouse was huge when I was younger, about 25 years ago, but the kids are never going to know that right?!)

  • Schools in England vs schools in Japan display. I had done a presentation about my niece Tegan's school as part of a lesson so decided to use the presentation for the English Board. I had included their timetable, what they eat for lunch, their school uniform and pictures of their school.

  • I keep a corner of the English board just for things we've been doing at English Club which includes photos and a write up (in Japanese)


  • If the school is happy for you to take photos during a lesson (or ask a teacher to do this) put up photos of various games you played in lessons so the rest of the school knows what each grade is up to.

  • Every month I put up a picture of something associated with that month both in Japan and the UK, ie for November I'll put up a picture of Guy Fawkes night bonfire & fireworks and then for Japan I'll put up a picture relating to the Shichi-go-san holiday celebrated in Japan. I'll also include a 1 or 2 paragraph write up (in Japanese translated by a willing teacher) explaining what this custom is and why we celebrate it.

Anyway I hope this helps any panicked ALT who has to start an ESL English Board at elementary school!


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