Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday's Torch Story

If all the students who slept through lectures were laid end-to-end,
they'd be a lot more comfortable.
~ Unknown

At the risk of being booed off my "stage" by all the real teachers out there, I may have the opposite problem - students who are too motivated. Is that even possible?

As you may remember, I put together a CD of 14 songs and made up worksheets with the lyrics for all of those songs. Every other week we learn a song and a significant portion of those classes is devoted to having the students work in small groups to translate the lyrics into Spanish (their native language).

I think (hope!) that this exercise helps improve an important skill (the ability to translate) and makes the English vocabulary more memorable (because of the effort necessary to complete the activity).

Some of my students have started working out the translations ahead of time and come to class with the activity basically complete. Isn't that great?

Well, yes, it is!

Except for the fact that then they sit there, with nothing to do, for the 20 minutes or so that the rest of the students work on their translations...

Last week we did "The Little Drummer Boy" and I asked the ones who came to class with the translation already done to help the others.

It turned out to be a bit more "telling" than "helping" - but we can work on that... ;)

These same students have also started pumping me for information about the topics of the non-song weeks. For example, next week our topic will be "parts of the body" and I can easily imagine that they'll come in with all of the vocabulary for the major external body parts already worked out.

BUT - this time, I'll be prepared! I'm putting together several different worksheets and will break the class into groups to compile English vocabulary. I'll let the other students work on the external body parts (arm, leg, hand, foot, head, etc.) and assign them the worksheet for major internal organs (lung, heart, liver, stomach, brain, etc.)!

I bet they won't have worked those out ahead of time! ;)

So, of course, all this motivation is just wonderful - it's one of the special benefits of working with adults who are there because they want to be, not because they have to be. And I want to do everything that I can to encourage it! And to make sure that they can still be challenged during class, without leaving the other students behind...

As "problems" go, I guess this is a pretty good one for a teacher to have! :)


MD said...

Gwen, are you sure none of your students are reading your blog? I guess you will see it if someone turns up with the list of internal organs as well ;-)