Hope you all had a nice weekend and could enjoy the snow which fell Friday night – it was like a winter wonderland here on Saturday morning! Did you know that in the UK, you are liable if someone falls over AFTER you have cleared away the snow, the exact opposite to the law here … but we know from Brexit, driving on the left and their hesitancy to use the metric system that the Brits always have to be different!
Now I was idly going through my Facebook feed on Saturday morning (you may think I’m old-fashioned but I follow a lot of English teachers 😊), when I came across a post from my friend Ron on student-driven learning. Instead of preparing a lesson, he had given his students a photo of his beautifully organized spice rack (particularly Indian spices) and asked them to come up with a lesson. At first I thought he was being a bit lazy, but when I read on, I knew exactly what he what he meant by letting his students plan their learning in a real-world-like setting. I immediately thought of a million things you could do with a spice rack (apart from sorting it out which I urgently need to do) from talking about your favourite spices, how you use them, where you buy them, how they are made etc. etc. Just translating them is a lesson in itself. I’m looking forward to hearing about what his students actually came up with. I’ve always thought the best lessons are those driven by students and will never forget baking a birthday cake in English with a student who was a busy Mum and stressed when she arrived at her kitchen lesson as she still had to make one for the next day. I immediately gave her an apron and asked her what kind of cake, what do we need and how can we improvise! We certainly had a lot of fun and she busily wrote down all the new vocabulary she was using.
You may like to listen to the following TED talk with Shelley Wright on the topic and the fantastic results she got when she let her students plan their learning.
So if you’ve got ideas about something interesting we could actively do in your lessons, don’t be afraid to ask me, I’m all ears! As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
By the way, Ron called his post “How to spice up your teaching” (notice the pun (Wortspiel)).