Tuesday 3 November 2015

What else do I not know about...

I came across this piece by Mike Griffin today. It's a fun activity that takes a short, teacher-written piece and spins it in clever ways, playing on the teacher as outsider. For a start, I find this interesting as for most of my teaching life, I've worked in the country of my birth so it is fun to see how other teachers working abroad can exploit their "foreignness" in the classroom. One of the few times I did teach abroad, I used to do this activity where the students had to work in groups to choose suitable local TV shows for me to watch. Sounds a bit rubbish but it used to go down well. Now, it is a very different dynamic - the students are the ones that I am trying to help navigate through a strange new environment.

The other thing that caught my eye was Mike's casual reference to a Flesch Reading Ease rating. If you've not heard of it before, it is a tool to determine the level of difficulty of a particular text. I used it on my last post (shameless plug) and got a score of 66.4 - the higher the score, the easier the text. It seems like such a useful tool for:

  • making sure readings aren't too easy/difficult
  • grading articles - find out what the initial Flesch score is and then tweak to try to get the number up (or down) a bit 
  • motivating students - seems like you can show progression with this scale: "Look, you were struggling with articles in the 70s, now look, you're flying through the 60s"
I've been a teacher for over 10 years now and I'd never heard of this. It made me wonder about all the other interesting teaching type things I know nothing about - things that other teachers use and don't make a big deal out of but which are really interesting. And rather cheesily, this made me think about CPD and how most of the good stuff comes from other teachers who find something and figure out a way to use it and are then good enough to share it. 

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