What happens when your ‘traditional’ way of doing things in class doesn’t “fit” with the times or the situation? I confronted that this week. In prepping my Japanese 12 students for a debate on the value of a school uniform I traditionally take a few days to introduce and practice the patterns/structures that they might need.
Unfortunately this year’s unit (or fortunately!) begins 3 days before we start a 2 week spring break. What to do? Compounding the time frame my class of 18 is being reduced to 9 next week due to other school programs and trips. How did I react? Well it was a classic case of the 5 steps of ‘grief’ – there was denial it was happening, there was rage at my program being inconvenienced, there was bargaining with the teacher taking the majority of my students away, a bout of depression and then finally accepting it was going to happen – so what was I going to do about it?
I finally realized that I had been given a gift. I was being forced to face my ‘previous’ style of teaching and could use the tips, tricks and tech that I have gathered from my #langchat PLN to do what I needed in a much more modern way.
So now…on Day 1 we’re using #authres (authentic resources) to gather information on uniforms. The ‘grammar’ we’re needing will be woven into the project – and the key concepts introduced via video the night before in ‘flipped’ lessons. Comprehension will be checked via student ‘decided’ homework. Finally on Day 3 students will use a ’round table’ format to discuss scenarios and reasons to explain their choices – with a twist of adding some 21st century features. My absent students can also complete the activity and, instead of participating in the round-table can narrate (using a 2.0 source) the visuals.
So thank you teachers for taking those students out of my class. I may not have been a pretty sight as I worked my way through the process but my students are certainly going to enjoy the lemonade we’ve made.