Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

The Value of Being “Forced” to Make Lemonade

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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.




One Comment

  1. Hola Colleen,

    Great post! You are really rocking 21st century teaching and learning.

    I am trying to incorporate more #authres myself. I’d live to know how everything goes and the students take on it.

    Glad this post was not about ‘dinosaur methods’…ha ha!

    Thanks for sharing!

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