Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Helping students be cool!

The sun had been boring into my classroom all day, and even with the windows open & blinds down, it was still a bit of a cooker...my students turned up looking like sad lettuce leaves too (it annoys me that kids here are not encouraged to hydrate properly - quite the opposite in fact).

One if my favorite examiner training stories that I didn't bore everyone with last weekend was the one about an examiner who wore a suit to examine YLE candidates in the middle of summer in an un-air-conditioned JHS. During the session he lost about a stone in weight and ruined all the flashcards. I'd found a fan in a cupboard but it blew all my flashcards off the table - much more fun :)



Anyway, the boys didn't need much encouragement to find an excuse to use the PC (on the cool side of the room). In this instance, using Quizlet in 'learn' mode to complete their picture dictionaries at the back of their text books. I know it sounds lame, but it is a variation on a theme, recycled 'easy' vocab (which they could read but not spell) and prevented them from simply copying - no learning in that...which probably will come as a bit if a shock to a fair few English teachers in the state system here in Nippon?

As long as the slowest lad was hogging the PC in "boring" mode, the others couldn't have a go at the games. Didn't take long for that penny to drop! "Help" is an underestimated teacher's tool, but one of the best - all the more powerful if peer-provided!

Sooner than he expected, it was his turn to be offering the prompts & being the go to guy. Is that scaffolding? Certainly lots of practice spelling out the words we found hardest!