Saturday, 18 October 2014

Those memorable activities


Most classroom activities disappear quickly from the memory, others are worth doing because they are just fun events and which, for that very reason, increase motivation for the subject and, in turn, may improve performance in the longer run.

Two examples from my own A-level teaching:

I regularly did a news broadcast video task with AS level classes. In small groups they would do a reordering of news items activity, then film a news broadcast using studio anchors and on-the-spot reporters outside the classroom. It took a while to get done and, I confess, part of me felt I could have been getting on with other language work. The results, however, were often very good and the students always enjoyed the task greatly. They would certainly remember it more fondly than much of the other work they did.

The second example concerns a group of very gifted upper sixth students, two of whom went on to Oxford and Cambridge. We were studying Jules et Jim, the novel by Henri-Pierre Roché and film by Truffaut. There is a delightful pastoral scene where Jules, Jim and Catherine (played by Jeanne Moreau) are cycling down a country lane. Catherine typically takes the lead whilst the director shows Jim admiring Catherine from behind. The two men view her as a goddess.

Well, three of my bright and resourceful students decided, with no prompting whatsoever, to re-enact this scene with skill and some wit. With hand-held video camera they managed a bit of their own new wave, improvised style. They brought the film in to school and we all watched it in class. I have certainly never forgotten that lesson and I bet they never will either.

Some activities are worth doing even if they do not produce a great deal of language acquisition.











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