exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Teacher Tricks
A couple of my students were starting to use more and more Spanish in the classroom. That, in turn, was causing the rest of the class to get lazy about it. So I introduced a competition: "A Week Without Spanish." The rules are simple. If a student needs to speak Spanish, he or she must first ask permission. That gives me a chance to push them to try to figure out how to say what they want to say using English. If a student speaks Spanish without authorization, he or she gets a mark next to his or her name. So far, so good. I'm hearing far less Spanish. Half the class has no marks at all. I'm going to reward the winners with candy. Bribery always works.

Today I encountered another problem. Two students decided to doodle in class instead of participate in a discussion. Sometimes it's hard to believe I'm teaching adults. But instead of playing bad cop, I put their artistic urges to better use. I had one of them sit with her back to the board and describe her bedroom. The other had to draw the bedroom on the board. The whole class got a kick out of it. It's nice when you can find a creative solution.

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