Thursday, January 12, 2017

Teaching: Turned a Game into a Graded Quiz

 OK, I must admit that in my 9th grade group, only three students show up, but they are a nice enthusiastic three. I teach EFL, that's English as a Foreign Language, and I teach to very weak students. I had to teach them how to read when I began with them at the very end of October. I have a simple method, and it seems to have worked.

One of them knows English from home, but that just means that he understands the spoken word and can reply in kind. The other two are pretty new to the language.

They get four hours a week divided into three days, which means that there's a double lesson on one of the days. And, davka, that double lesson is at the end of the day when they are just too tired to stay attuned to what I'm trying to do. And the school doesn't let me do what I did in my other one, when I could combine the lessons without a break and finish earlier. When I complained, I was told to "play games."

Nu? I'm not the game sort of teacher. These students are so weak that they spend an entire lesson on a simple quiz which shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes. So the game time has replaced quizzes. In a sense they are quizzes, since I get them to translate words, and they compete to see how many words they've done by saving the little pieces of paper on which the words are written and then counting them at the end.

Yesterday I made a new version in which the two who didn't understand English could work together. There were thirty words. I told them if neither new the definition I would take three points off, from one hundred, and the remainder would be their grades. And for the English speaker, I told him that if he shouted out an answer when not his turn I'd take off three points per word. They all accepted the rules, and in the end the weaker students got a nice high 94%, and the English-speaker got 97%. And I was able to register additional grades for them.

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