|Surprise! It’s me!|
For teachers of English, we are constantly reviewing approaches and techniques as an alternative to commonly predicted forms of teaching and we sometimes have to incorporate more experimental styles of language education. With this in mind, ELTChat focused on the incorporation and element of surprise in the classroom, on Wednesday 28 November, at 9pm GMT. The chat offered participants the opportunity to share tips and techniques to develop for potential future classroom use.
Just a few words to say thank you to Marisa for allowing me the opportunity to write up my very first ELTChat summary on my blog. It was very interesting to read the transcript and read the progress of the discussion.
Why Use Surprise in the Classroom?
- SueAnnan: I think surprise stops the lessons becoming humdrum.
- AnnLoseva: Unexpected turns of the lesson keep students wide-awake and it’s fun and refreshing!
- AntoniaClare: I think surprise keeps students awake, alert, engaged, therefore ready to learn.
- MarjorieRosenbe: Adding surprise elements wakes everyone up. Students don’t learn if they are asleep.
- pjgallantry: I feel novelty and surprise aid memorisation, but students then still to work on consolidation.
|Wordle of the latest ELTChat © 2012|
Based upon the above reactions from regular ELTChatterers, it was noted that surprise would stop possible lessons becoming boring with improved motivation which would alert and engage learners. However, theteacherjames tweeted: “I’m struggling to see much benefit to surprising students. Isn’t there also something to be said for reliability?“. James has a point with reference to reliability and predictability but many others saw the potential of developing some form unpredictability in the classroom. Nevertheless, what tips and suggestions were recommended during the discussion? Read further for some very interesting and engaging ideas to implement surprise in the classroom.
Surprising Tips and Techniques
- VickyLoras: I like scenarios with students. For example, I come in knocking on the door and pretend I am a colleague/problem – they love it!
- Lauraahaha: Sometimes a nice surprise is to take the students outside the classroom (where possible).
- Antoniaclare: I like to use stories or anecdotes with a twist, in fact I think every text / lesson needs a new angle to keep sts (and Ts) interest.
- MarjorieRosenbe: We draw lines on board and guess whose is longest, etc. Then I pull out tape measure-sts love this.
- pjgallantry: which is a more memorable example of past continuous: I was having a bath when the phone rang, or I was talking to my friend when the cat exploded?
- KerrCarolyn: I love circular writing. Great collective activity. Prepares for real life. Few reports in business are work of just one
- eltknowledge: Has any1 mentioned the ‘silent conversation’ yet? Walk in2 class and not say a word and write the instructions on the board. Shocks sts!
- miss_Trika: Sometimes I surprise my sts bytaking them to the garden and they love it.
- Lauraahaha: I like exploiting things that surprise even ME (e.g. strange laugh from class next door, colleague entering our room by mistake)
- SueAnnan: I also move the tables around sometimes to make new groupings.
- leoselivan: new seating arrangements certainly break a routine and adds a surprise element.
- pjgallantry: another way to shake things up is how you make groups – e.g. say apple, banana, orange etc and tell ss to become bunches of fruit!
- Antoniaclare: I like using an empty chair and sts need to introduce me to the ‘character’ they invent, he gets a name, life etc
- Antoniaclare: Academic writing? get sts writing sentences or paragraphs on posters on the walls as they walk around, filling in sections
- jankenb2: 5secondfilms (see video embedded below)
- muranava: The Other Things Matter
- muranava: A Comedian Who Faked Mexican Accent (a story during the chat which prompted the sharing of this news article)
- hartle: Englishlab Discussions (a Facebook Group)
- teacherthom: Notes from a Shetland ESOL Classroom (the sharing of an ELT blogger’s website)
And we forgot to mention the idea of wearing silly hats when we enter or bringing in props. I used a stuffed animal, the Philly Phanatic, which was the mascot of the Phillies baseball team for years. I included 'Phil' in worksheets I wrote along with Richard, my pet gorilla: The students got so into this, they bought me a stuffed animal gorilla which stil watches over my office and sewed special clothes for Phil as his were getting a bit worn after being thrown around the classroom to get them talking. Will put photo of the two on Twitter.
Just to let you know that we’ve shortlisted this blog post for this month’s TeachingEnglish blog award and I’ll be making a post about it on today’s TeachingEnglish facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TeachingEnglish.BritishCouncil, if you’d like to check there for comments.
Thank you ever so much for shortlisting my blog post for this month's Teaching English blog award. It is greatly appreciated.