Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Curb your routine

I read a couple of interesting articles yesterday. The first was an opinion piece by John Worne about the drop in the number of British students taking second languages at university. The second was another John, Fanselow this time, reflecting on his idea of teachers breaking rules. The latter piece advocates a lot of self-observation (by videoing lessons) and challenging the routines (or self imposed rules) we adhere to in the class. The former espouses the benefits of learning a second language.

With those two articles in mind, I tried to do a lesson using the John Worne piece as a source and the Fanselow piece as inspiration.

Normally when I prepare a reading activity, I start off with some discussion questions. Trying to break this rule, I started with vocabulary I extracted from the text. Normally, I do vocabulary as matching - this time I tried to do it as guided discovery. Not sure if this is better or worse, but shook me out of my routine a little bit. Plus, I got to use a picture of Larry David.

I tried to also add a research element to the reading - encouraging the students to investigate the author and a source referenced in the piece. I normally do this as a complete lesson - this time I just threw it in quite casually, a minor part of the lesson.

The writing element I also made quite unstructured, using the Twitter idea I described in an earlier post. There is something fun about writing with a limited number of letters/words. For instance, today, in class, we were looking at essay exam questions and we had a competition to see who could boil the question down to the fewest number of words. Surprising how engaged they were with this.

I finished it with a bit of grammar (wish for regrets), again lifted from the text. The idea of the lesson is that there are quite a lot of elements to it.

Click here for the Lesson PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment