Czech EFL

Let the Czech check it out

Monday, October 31, 2005

Amazing student

At the beginning of each of my courses I introduce some classroom questions/requests useful for student - teacher interaction such as "Sorry, could you say that again?" and go on to dictate a short text while the students are expected to use the questions. It's a sort of drill really!

As a kind of learner training though I thought it's a good idea to tell my students something about one of the most amazing students I've ever had and so I put together the following text:
Amazing Student

This is a story of a Malay lady in her late forties. Her name is Sharipah and I clearly remember when she first came in the classroom back in Malaysia. She was very insecure and after the class she didn't feel she could carry on for long because she couldn't understand much.

But guess what? She managed to stay on and after a year she could handle English speaking customers! She is definitely the most grateful student I've ever had.
After the dictation I get the students to refocus from any spelling errors or new vocabulary and elicit how they think she managed to achieve that. Their ideas, I realized, nicely reflect their own view of the perfect way to learn a second language. I go on then to stress that different learners may learn in different ways and we discuss how THEY would like to learn in and away from the classroom. Finally, I draw their attention to the last sentence, which is actually a sentence frame, and ask about the best teacher they've ever had.

However, the most important thing about the whole activity is likely to be something which I didn't plan for and so it emerged somewhat unintentionally. Some of my students pointed out that it's in a way their own story. They could relate, mainly because of their age I suppose, to the story of a middle-aged woman who managed to succeed against all the odds. I could see they derived a sense of "Yes, I can do it TOO!" from the story and so it was a nice way to round off the lesson.


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