What Did Your Pupils Learn For Themselves?
Every time you think you’re getting somewhere, something or someone comes along to remind you that you still need to be doing more. Don’s Blog is one of these places!
In a recent post Don pointed out how much work his son had put into studying and learning in preparation for his driving test. Don finished by wondering: “…how do we make other types of learning as attractive?”
As I read the post, I realised that it contained a question I needed to ask my Higher English class. When I saw them, I told them about what Don had written, and asked them about the amount of extra work they do as preparation for all of their subjects. I won’t say I was surprised at what I learned, but I was disappointed. The question I put to my class was this: What can you tell me about any of the writers or texts we are studying that I haven’t told you first? In other words, how much extra study have you been doing?
My class had the good grace to be embarrassed as they admitted that they couldn’t tell me anything ‘new’… With Don’s post in mind, we started a discussion about why they valued the driving test so much. Quite unprompted, two different pupils said that passing the driving test allowed them “to go places”. The irony was not lost on me…
One thing that we did agree on was the need for me to set them some assignments which would force them to do ALL the work… and strangely, as well as helping them to hone their study skills, it will make my life easier as well as they will be doing the preparation…
So… why don’t you try doing something similar with your classes. Ask them for information about whatever it is you’re teaching but which you haven’t given/taught them. And then start asking yourself how you can encourage them to start becoming the independent learners you know they need to be… I’ll keep you posted how my classes are coming along!