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The Importance of Repetition

Many students who live in a non-English speaking country may have few opportunities to speak English outside of class. Their only exposure to English may only be their one hour class once a week, which means it may be difficult for students to retain and remember English words and grammar. Therefore you need to continuously repeat the same words and questions again, and again, and again, and again, in order to make them stick. This does limit the amount of new material that they can learn in a year, but it will benefit the students in the long run. Check out this article to learn more about how to use repetition and keep your lessons fun and interesting.

I usually try to dedicate the first ten or fifteen minutes of every class to reviewing old material. It's also a great way of warming the students up and getting them into English mode.

Repetition is very important for helping the students remember the material. The only problem is if you were to repeat the same material over and over again (exactly the same way that you taught it the first time) you'll probably drive yourself insane, then drive the students insane, which would only make you more insane. Therefore you need to constantly come up with new ways of showing them the old material so that the students don't get bored. Here are some great fun ways to keep their interest and make them review without even knowing it.

Daily questions

Asking the same daily questions at the start every class will help them to remember. Here is an example of some popular daily questions.

  • How are you?
  • How's the weather?
  • What day is it?
  • What's the date today?
  • What time is it?
  • What did you eat for breakfast?
  • What did you do on the weekend?
  • Do you like.........?


Breaking out an old song at the start of class as a warm up is a great way to review older material and get them ready for English. If you're short on time you can also just play old songs as background music before class starts, or when the students are busy doing their workbooks. You won't believe how much better they can remember the material when they are constantly hearing the same songs every week. You can learn more about using songs in class here.


Playing games using old words and grammar is a great way to help them study without them even realising. Playing the exact same game every week is a little boring for students, but don't be afraid to pull out an old game every once in a while to help kids review. You can learn more about using games in class here.


Reading a story book is also a great fun way to help reinforce their English skills. When picking a story book, try and chose one that doesn't have too many words or grammar that the students haven't studied yet. Younger children often enjoy hearing the same story again and again, so don't be afraid the read the same book more than once. If you don't have any story books, you can check out the great online collection at Oxford Reading Owl.

Conversations between students

Downtime between classes, or when the students are doing craft and activities, is a great time to practice easy conversation questions between you and your students. Asking them simple questions about what music they like, as well as what they did on the weekend, is a great chance to break out those questions that you haven't used for months.

Lots of teachers consider having to talk to the students when they don't have to tiring and troublesome, but actually it's a good opportunity to learn more about students and their interests. This can actually help you when it comes to planning activities in the future, and the students may actually respect you more if they can see you as a real human being, and not just someone who stands at the front of a classroom for an hour every week.

Know any other great ways to repeat and reinforce vocabulary and grammar? Feel free to comment below!


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  2. Great post. Absolutely agree with the need to repeat past lessons. Butterflo

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