How do you engage students in group classes and make them FUN? It’s not an easy task, especially when you’re teaching legal English. Nowadays there are increasing expectations, especially among younger students, to move away from ‘boring’ books and instead use fun tech-tools in legal English lessons. But with many websites, tools and platforms out there, which ones to use?
- brainstorm ideas to understand students’ existing knowledge pre-teaching
- create quizzes to test students’ knowledge post-teaching
- produce polls to get course feedback from students during or after the course.
This tool was recommended to me by a fellow legal English teacher Natasha Costello, who I co-presented with on the topic of small talk at the European Legal English Teacher’s 2019 workshop. In our workshop session ‘Talking Together, Working Together: Using Small Talk to Build Relationships in Legal English’ we presented various fun ways to teach the important soft skill of small talk, and some activities involved Mentimeter.
This blog post gives an overview of one feature on Mentimeter – ‘brain storming with open ended questions’ and explains how you can use it in your classes. You can also watch this video below explaining the usage. Finally, this is not an advertisement or affiliate product, I’m not getting paid to write this post I just think Mentimeter is a great tool and want to share it with you!
What is Mentimeter?
Mentimeter is an online tool that allows student-teacher interaction in real-time. Teachers create surveys, open-ended questions, quizzes and more, and students submit written answers via their mobile phones or other smart devices. These answers appear immediately on the teacher’s screen which can be projected to the class. For the teacher, it’s a great way of using the latest cutting-edge technology, to find out a groups’ writing level and knowledge of a specific topic at the beginning of a lesson.
How does it work?
Step 1: As a teacher, you should sign up for a free account on the Mentimeter website.
Sign up to Mentimeter for free
Step 2: Create your first activity, click ‘New presentation’, enter a title and click ‘Create presentation‘.
Create new Mentimeter presentation
Step 3: Next, you will see that there are many different types of activities you can select. For brainstorming I recommend choosing ‘Open Ended’.
Open Ended question on Mentimeter
Step 4: Type in the question you would like to ask students. When Natasha and I presented on this, we used this activity to get students brainstorming ways to start conversations for networking and small talk. You could write:
- How could you start a conversation with someone you don’t know?
- In what ways can you introduce yourself?
You can customize the result layout. I recommend using the ‘Flowing grid’ or ‘Speech bubbles’ options for this exercise. Then when you are ready to present to the class click ‘Present’ in the top right-hand corner.
Mentimeter custom options
Step 5: Ask students to get their phone, go to www.menti.com (pay attention it’s not mentimeter.com that’s the teacher’s site!) and enter the code given on your presentation. On the student’s phone, there is no need to sign up, pay or give any details, they just enter the code for your specific activity.
Student instructions on Mentimeter
Step 6: Next the students can type their answers to the question. The students don’t need to be worried about being embarrassed about their language ability because the posting is anonymous.
Good student answer
Inappropriate student answer
Step 7: The students’ answers will be projected on the teacher’s results screen and this can be projected to the class so that all the students can see.
After receiving enough submissions, these answers can be used as the basis for a class discussion.
In this particular activity based around small talk, the teacher could explain the difference between informal and formal language, grammar mistakes, or use of specific vocabulary or collocations. You could also ask students to role play a small talk scenario where they use some of the phrases they have given on Mentimeter.
What online tools do you use?
Have you used online tool s in your legal English classes? Have you tried Mentimeter before? Let me know! Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on Youtube in the comments section or here in the comments section below.