I feel that our lessons should be designed in a way that gives the students more of a choice over the content, including things they value personally. We should try to give up absolute control and let the students take charge of their learning. If we allow them to make their own choices when it comes to, for example vocabulary, the lessons will become more memorable and student centered. We should try to encourage the learners to collaborate on projects rather than follow the teacher. In other words, we should try to do less to achieve more.
Here´s a lesson idea that encourages group work and autonomous learning in the context of qualities of a good classmate.
Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults
Aims: To enhance students´ knowledge in the lexical field of adjectives of personality /To encourage group work and autonomous learning/ To encourage creativity in the classroom
Time: +/- 1h 20 minutes
Materials: Bilingual dictionaries/Card/Coloured pencils or board pens/CD player for the background music
1. Ask for a volunteer (be patient – someone will be up for it sooner or later – just wait) and ask him or her to sit with his back to the board. Write a name of a famous person on the board so the whole group can see it. Explain that the objective of the game is for the volunteer to guess who the person is. Each person can shout out one adjective they would use to describe the secret person with. If it goes for too long, allow for some more detailed clues (facts from the person´s life, etc.)
+/- 5 minutes
2. Put the students in groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to reflect on the previous activity. Questions you might want to ask them:
· Did you enjoy the game?
· What was the most challenging part of the activity?
· What kind of difficulties did you experience when taking part in the activity?
· Would you like to repeat it in the future? And so on.
Have a whole class feedback. Someone will probably mention the lack of vocabulary (in this case, descriptive adjectives) as an obstacle to their active participation in the game. Ask the group what they could do to make this stage easier. Elicit: use a bilingual dictionary.
+/- 5 minutes
3. Tell the students that today they are going to work with bilingual dictionaries and create `What makes a good classmate?`poster. At this point, you might choose to show them an example:
4. Have the students work in groups and ask them to think about what it means to be a good classmate. Have a brief class feedback and ask them to give you a few adjectives they would use to describe one. If they can´t come up with the English version of a word, encourage them to look it up in a dictionary.
+/- 5 minutes
5. Give each group a time limit of 45 minutes to finish their posters. Have them work in groups and look up the vocabulary/adjectives of personality in a bilingual dictionary. Monitor closely to make sure the conversation is happening mainly in English – you can allow them to relate to their L1 but only when looking up the vocabulary. Put the CD player on (you know your class – try to choose something they would like: ask!).
+/- 45 minutes
6. Have each group present their posters and create a wall display.
7. As an idividual follow up homework, you could ask the students to write an essay on the same topic: `What makes a good classmate?´.
Here are some posters created by my B1 teenage students:
Have fun creating!
The following blog post was inspired by TWIST ´17 conference motto:
DO LESS TO ACHIEVE MORE!
If you wish to find out more about the conference, check out the link below:
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