(And another white board, just for fun)
The setting: The students are 15 and 16 years old. They are in the third grade of middle school. They are highest level of their age group. Some of them are very independent learners, who take every opportunity presented them to use English outside of class and in the community as well as in the classroom. Others are less motivated, but equally hard-working. They just want to pass and focus only on the classes that help them prepare for exams. With me, they study debate. Today we were analyzing opinion paragraphs.
Some things I said today:
- “Please don’t copy another student’s homework. The purpose of this work is to help you analyze an opinion essay. If you copy from another student, you don’t get that benefit. It is better to turn it in late if you didn’t have time to finish it.”
- “You three need to buy notebooks. When I see those torn-off pieces of paper that I know you will lose, I think you don’t care about anything you learn in my class.”
- “Do you think this sentence is positive or negative? Why?”
“That’s a good analysis. You are right.”
A conversation between two very different students that I overheard in English:
“What’s your opinion about question number one?”
“I think the main idea is (answer).”
The first student leaned in to the second student when she asked her question. She spoke clearly and very slowly, respecting the second student’s level. She didn’t show impatience at the shyness, but gently guided and made a comfortable space for an answer.
I can learn from this: she got a result I wouldn’t have been able to get because she has a sense of what students her age need from their surroundings. She waited through the laughter with patience and persistence. And the answer came and it helped the whole group.