Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Plenty of time... A teacherly back-to-school-ramble! (Part 1)

Freddy Mercury sings "No time for losers, cos we are the champions..." (See the previous post.)

As much as I love the music of Queen I have to disagree with this sentiment! I have plenty of time for anyone who loses, of doesn't gain the grades they want in exams or fails to achieve in any other project they have set their sights on completing.

No, (I can hear all you realists out there harking on) I'm not a deluded 'everyone can win' type (not exactly) or even worse, 'every student deserves an 'A+'.
"That ain't gonna happen!"
(And anyone who tells you otherwise is a bare-faced liar!) 

I believe that everyone can do their best and achieve what they want if they are determined to. That goes for just about anything . (No, George, I don't mean that if you really want to, you can surf the Milky Way. That is a fantasy not a goal.)

First of all, have a look at this video. It's about ADHD but more importantly about how we learn and how we judge learning/passing/winning or whatever label you want to put on it.

(Thanks to Colin for sharing this so I can share it with you.)
You know which part I like the most? (One of many!) The bit where Sir Ken says 'Don't Copy! Because that's cheating!...Outside of school that's called collaboration.' It reflects something I always tease my classes about.
"If I could enter you in the exam as a group, you'd get straight As!"
It gets a laugh more often than not and students know full well that I'm not angry at them. Some of you might be tutting at my unruly classes but remember collaboration is a really important life skill to learn. "It's the stuff of growth." 
That put me in a bit of a sticky, hypocritical situation as the thing is I have to 'train' my students to pass exams where 'collaborating' most certainly doesn't go down well. What I try to do is to make the fun bits fun and get through the necessary, pen-on-paper, hard work, so let me quote Sir Ken again, "Our Children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth." (Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist) 
and use his idea of  'divergent thinking'. Use all this lovely 'genius' you had as a preschooler and answer this question:
How many ways to learn English can you think of?
Throughout September, I'm going to post some sites where you can find interesting things to help you learn English as well as all kinds of other hints and tips for helping you listen, speak, read and write better. Hope to be of some help...

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