Thursday, July 1, 2010

I can't tell you! has a teacher training section and under it, they have "20 teaching tips."  They are simple, and many of them are obvious to an experienced teacher but it would be helpful for a newbie to review this list.  I checked out #12, eliciting student responses. 

The author makes the point that she will almost never just give answers to the students.  Instead, she'll get the students to help each other with things like, the past tense of a verb.  Or, when she introduces vocab, she'll give hints about it and get the students to guess.  Her reasoning is that you don't want to end up spoon-feeding the students because this won't be helpful for them. 

My thoughts: I will almost never directly give the students anything.  The students here have studied almost all the stuff that we do in class before and it's just a matter of putting it together and being able to remember it in a coherent way.  So, I will often just put charts/forms up on the board and get them to sketch in the details.  For example, talking about appearance.  I'll put up, "Height" "Weight" "Hair color." Then, I'll get them to list a few things under each category, giving them hints if they leave out any of my target vocabulary.  Students are genuinely interested in a chart with nothing in it.  There's a little element of excitement.  If you put up a board full of text, it seems overwhelming and students will lose interest quickly. 

In my classes, if students ask a question of some sort, I will always say, "What do you think?"  It's too easy for them to just ask me for an answer without really thinking it through.  I will refuse to give them an answer until they make at least one guess.  I know it frustrates them sometimes but the students learn I will eventually give them the right answer and will also give them praise if they guess the right one, or give them a hint if they're close so they're willing to do it.  I want my students to genuinely think things through. 

No comments: