Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to get students to do something they don't want to do

This is my secret for you...I'm not sure if I should really be spreading it around the blogosphere. Anyway, if there is something that you want the students to do, that cannot be turned into a game and really isn't that fun but is nevertheless good for them, you should do it at the end of class. Things like short writing assignments or an important grammar concept worksheet. Then, when they are finished, you can check their work and if it's acceptable, they can go home a bit early. I usually warn them beforehand that if the work is not quality, they'll have to do it one more time. This is a good thing to do for the following reasons:

1. Motivation. Who doesn't want to go home or go eat lunch early?

2. It's fair for the better students. If you know English already, why suffer through tedium if you know the stuff already. You can just finish fast and go.

3. It helps the slower students. I can usually sit with them at the end of class and give them some 1-1 attention, which they desperately need.

4. It's a good way for me to check if the students have actually understood the lesson.

One warning. If you have homework or news for the next class, tell them before you assign the little lesson to them. Once everyone starts to check their work with you, it gets chaotic and it's too late to convey any information.

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