Yesterday we had a teacher only day at Whangaparaoa College where we had guest speakers Steve Kent and Danielle McKenzie, Olympians who talked candidly about goal setting and their experiences of achieving and failing. It was good to hear that these amazing achievers had experienced failure but had learnt from these experiences. They talked about setting smaller goals which they could achieve in a smaller time frame. They also explained that if they failed it was important to evaluate what had worked, what didn’t and then set another goal. I enjoyed hearing about what they had learnt and how they had moved on from failure.
Our learners also presented, in a variety of ways, some research that had been done within the school about what teachers were doing well and what did not work for learners. They presented this in 2 role plays which were very entertaining and challenging as well. One role play showed a class sitting in groups with a teacher who began the class with a video, and then explained an activity for the class to do. While learners were completing the activity, she roamed around the class chatting with learners and answering questions and checking what they were doing.
The other role play saw the learners seated in rows and the class begin with a teacher droning on and on (very funny). He then sat behind his desk to read a book while the class worked from textbooks. Before long, a couple of learners began fighting so he yelled at them and sent them off to the Deans.
Another way of presenting information was through the use of a Powtoon video and a video of interviews with several learners. I really enjoyed the variety of presentations which brought to life the data that had been gathered in a fun and entertaining way.
It got me thinking, what I learnt was that our young people enjoy variety in the classroom. They prefer a range of activities and ways of presenting information. It was the learners who had brainstormed how they were going to present the data we had and it showed us all the ways that many of them like to learn or be engaged.
What I am going to try is starting class with a video of something that is relevant to the learning. This could be a My Talking Avatar presentation to introduce a unit of learning, a director speaking about a film we are studying or a news item about an issue in a text. After a class discussion on what we have seen, I will explain the activity for the lesson and then let my learners get started. I’ll roam the class and answer questions etc. In the last 10 minutes of the lesson, we can play a game or do a quiz that is relevant to the activity.
I know that this won’t always work for every lesson but it is something that I want to try to see if it is a successful formula. My goal is to engage and motivate as many learners as I can through this structure. I feel nervous saying this because formulas don’t always work in teaching but it is important to set the goal and see whether it is achievable. If not, I will have learnt some important lessons and I can evaluate what worked and what didn’t and make another goal.