WORLD ISSUES & PREFIXES      Take your students around the World, teaching them all about issues and different prefixes, and how they are related!

Take your students on a journey around the world, learning about World Issues and prefixes, and how they are related to eachother!

Prefixes can be confusing to some students, but a lot of ESL settings simply pound grammar rules into students minds without giving an explanation on why words can have a completely new meaning, just by changing the fist two letters of the word for example. “Cycling” and “Recycling” are two completely different words that really have nothing to do with eachother.  Students who feel confident knowing that the prefix re- always means “again” or “to repeat”, may feel they can add re- to any word to give them their desired meaning, as in this example, not exactly the case.

I decided to make a Prezi on some of the most common prefixes used in the English language, with an example for each one. This may be challenging for the lower level students, but will really expand their vocabulary. Students will find it actually a lot easier when communicating certain words; saying “Irresponsible” instead of “not being responsible”, or what I’ve actually heard my students say personally: “Not good on time with homework, I play on computer too much”,  can be greatly condensed to, “I was being irresponsible and didn’t do my homework”.

Water shortage is a huge problem, especially in the Middle East. The word, misuse, will explain to students why this is happening.

Water shortage is a huge problem, especially in the Middle East. The word, misuse, will explain to students why this is happening.

Prefixes make English easier to communicate, and gives ESL learners heaps of confidence when they begin to understand and recognize them instead  of just memorizing different words. I really empathize for my students who just will learn 5 or 6 different versions of a single root word, such as use, and have to learn the different meanings to  misuse, over-use, re-use, dis-use and maybe even pre-used. Sounds confusing, huh? Imagine you are learning a new language and you have no idea these words have remotely no connection to eachother, just the meanings of the individual words.

Just like mentioned previously though, some prefixes can be a little misleading. These are learned over time, and the complex ones are avoided by early learners until the confidence catches up with them. This lesson is a nice introduction for mid-to high level learners on how prefixes can change and expand their whole understanding of the long, confusing English vocabulary. Some students may be completely surprised to know that words such as “illegal”, which I think almost all of my students are familiar with, has an “ir” prefix, and that this prefix means “wrong”. I’ve been surprised to know in the English classrooms this is completely avoided.

If you can’t tell by now, this is sort of something that irks me. My students understanding and just general confidence could be greatly expanded with this knowledge, so I find myself to be a little passionate about teaching this to them, and don’t feel it goes over their heads. With this lesson, if you really stress the importance of prefixes then I feel it can be a very successful and helpful lesson for your students as well. The slide showing all of the prefixes is by far the most important one on the Prezi, it should be stressed and attention on this particular should be heightened. On the worksheets, students will be challenged to use their English deductive reasoning skills. Please make sure the prefix slide is shown first before trying to have them answer the questions on the worksheet. I definitely encourage group work for this one. (One particular question, the one with “regular” and “irregular” will be one that might have your level students really struggling on).

Students will learn about preserves, like this one in Australia!

Students will learn about preserves, like this one in Australia!

The World Issues aspect of this lesson will hopefully broaden some student’s mindsets and awareness on a variety of topics all over the world. It’s possible that even in your classroom, some of these topics will be an issue personally affecting some of your students, so their interest levels might be even more peaked. I understand their are issues on this lesson crying for far greater attention and understanding, so please understand this was not done in any kind of hierarchical order of issue importance. I really hope your students enjoy it and approach the final question, number 6 with understanding and a guided approach.

Overall, I loved this lesson personally. It was a combination of one of my passionate areas of interest of teaching English, and I didn’t feel confined to one topic as I showed issues all around the world. IT should be interesting to learn what some of your students say about these issues! Maybe you can even learn from them! Feel free to contact me for any questions related to this lesson as well @

Link once more to Prezi:

(Worksheet: Ecoesl-prefix )


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