Updated: Dec 28, 2018
Puppets are a fantastic co-teacher!
You can scrunch them up and shove them into a bag between classes, they are always ready to start work and puppets can help to turn around even the worst demo class.
But more importantly, you can use a puppet to introduce a second native English speaker to your lessons. You can pull out a puppet and use it to model new language or phrases that are part of the lesson plan. Kids learn very quickly from listening to and modeling language that they hear spontaneously.
Imagine teaching a lesson on greetings and you have a boring set of slides that have a the usual good morning, how are you? fine thank you and you...?
The student is fading fast and you can see the boredom creep over their face.
After a minute or so of teaching the lesson content, you can make a puppet rush into the screen and interrupt the lesson. You can have a natural conversation with the puppet in everyday English and watch as the student soaks up every word!
Before you know it, the student has just heard two native English speakers greet each other and go through a series of small talk questions and answers. Then the puppet can turn to the student and go through the same conversation again, with you guiding the student to answer correctly.
You can do this really naturally and randomly during the class. I like to call this 'stealth teaching' and tactics and routines to follow will be in future blog posts.
In fact, I'd say that puppetry takes up at least a third of my online lesson time. I use them for students aged 4 to 15 with great results. The older students can sometimes do the 'too cool for school' routine, but I can still usually manage to make them crack a smile (usually when the puppet insults me or makes a joke!)