I’ve started with a new group of students this year. New faces. New language competencies. New motivating forces around why each is there.
It’s a cool but challenging mix of two secretaries, two accountants, and one tax lawyer.
So I’ve been thinking about what this classroom should be like in terms of a value added and personalized (read:relevant for all) learning environment.
My big questions/observations/reflections as I left our first class together on Tuesday of this week:
1. If I were my student, what would make me love getting up 1.5 hours earlier to come to this class?
2. 90% of this crew don’t find current content to be relevant or interesting.
3. There’s atleast one skeptic - and at first glance appears to be one of those bookies who loves to stick to the material no matter what.
- How will I win over the skeptic?
- How can I get these guys to drink the kool-aid and become raving, autonomous English students?
I think one pathway I will be walking down is that of dynamic content. I learned this last year: the classic “one size fits all” course material I’ve been using - and that most esl teachers use - is going to minor in my classroom. My new crew have already informed me that they don’t find it relevant.
If it’s not relevant, it doesn’t matter, and if I dare proceed along a forced march through the pages of this book, the classroom will become just that: a forced march. Zero passion. Zero fun. Zero “I love being here.” The classic ineffective classroom and it’s teacher.
Found an interesting riff around this today via gsiemens. elearnspace: Is Content King?
Really struck the idea of dynamic classrooms home to me - and the need to retool the way I work in the classroom. Coursebook dependence is static delivery.
So many language schools promise “personalized classrooms.” What that really means is that there will be a few students hooked up to the same firehose. Sure it’s personal in the sense that everyone in the classroom gets one-on-one attention from the teacher, and there’s greater possibility for interaction and practice. But personal should step up to RELEVANT for all.
Relevant. Meaningful. Useful. I love this.
Loved Kathy Sierra’s lattest post. It’s going to be fueling my preparation for this new class of mine.
Avoid the brain’s “crap filter.” - content is a key motivating factor. Most of my students are very highly motivated to learn English, but boring, uninteresting content can go a long way towards watering that motivation down.
“Even if a learner is personally motivated to learn a topic, if the learning content itself isn’t motivating, the learner’s brain will do everything possible to look for something more interesting.” (Sierra on talking to the brain first)
More to come. More to think and reflect upon. But I wonder about your thoughts and ideas around this. How are you creating passionate classrooms that matter to your “customers” / students?