It was not very long time ago. I was given a class full of students who were about to repeat elementary level for the third time. In addition, I did not have anything to use as the other materials were used in the previous elementary modules. How do you think I felt?
I have to admit that it was not a good feeling at first. As a teacher utilizing coursebooks (not being the slave of them) for a very long time, it was a challenge for me. I did not know any single thing about the students and their proficiency levels. The only thing I could do was to check the objectives and come up with a rescue plan after borrowing all of the elementary books from the library.
The first week was the most difficult one. Getting to know the students, understanding their proficiency level and also motivating them to continue learning English was not very easy. Having analyzed their needs and interests, I created a class wiki.Each student had a page on the wiki. I told them that their pages could only be edited by themselves. They received feedback from me or the other students and edited their feedback after that. We used this wiki for productive tasks and as learning portfolio.
The next step was to create tasks for the students to work on. I used our school Moodle for such tasks. The students had a recording task every week. They were eager to carry out these. The students were also asked to find links for learning or practising English. They shared these links with me and their classmates.
In the last weeks of this course, I asked some of them to prepare vocabulary quizzes. Most of them took this seriously and produced great quizzes. In other words, they contributed to the materials development process
We also made use of the following websites in our course:
Now, it is the last week of the course and looking at the feedback sessions I had with them I can say that they are really happy to learn in this way. They also came up with alternative uses of these tools and language learning tips. I am going to share them in another post.
As a teacher, I can state that I also learned a great deal from this experience since it was a dynamic process and students were really involved. It also boosted my and my students’ motivation and turned a real challenge into an opportunity.
Have you ever had that kind of experience? If yes, how did you survive?