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Published: November 19th 2012
Students here learn only one way; lectures and rote and copy.
You as the teacher are the sage on the stage; you stand and deliver and speak, and request them to write notes.
They will keep eyes downcast; participate in closed questions with a yes/no or nod and shake of head.
If they are disinterested they will put their head on the desk and sleep and use phones quite openly.
One person may make notes for a group and then they will happily copy that other persons work, quite openly and unashamedly.
They all write with their right hand, they are told to and that is that; even though some of them are natural lefthanders at sports etc.
As this is university and they are adults and responsible for their own learning I let the sleepers sleep on. We take rolls for attendance and the student’s maturity level for first year uni is similar to end of junior high school.
Girls go arm in arm around campus, there are few boy/girl pairs evident, 6-8 in a dorm room, no frills.
Now I know as a teacher that there are
other learning styles and some of these learners may well be kinaesthetic or visual learners instead of just aural. And some of the best teaching I do is when I draw out information from the students in class discussion or group work, so over the last 6 weeks I have tried to introduce a little bit of a teaching/learning revolution in my classes.
My first attempt at pair work was a dismal failure when I asked the students to speak to the whole class in English. They were so challenged and embarrassed by that.
My second attempt where I set a group task to a “seated together” group of students, and asked them to collaborate on an idea and write on the board was very successful.
Third and fourth attempt of exactly the same type of activity was also successful and allowed me to see a little of what the student knew.
Emboldened by this success this week I have planned and launched the revolution.
Today in the first period, I conducted a group activity, with the group’s written response to be put on the board, familiar, comfortable and
no big deal now.
We have been learning about child development and play based learning and without any practical aspect I feel that somehow we have missed the point.
So Period 2 the quiet revolution starts. Stage One of the Revoltion
I have collected 2 big bags of everyday items over the past 6 weeks, bits and pieces, odds and ends and divided the class into 3 groups and asked them to set up a dramatic play area for kindergarten children. Each group had a theme; home, restaurant and shop.
They were faced with the pile of STUFF and they rose to the challenge. I asked for it to be aesthetically pleasing and inviting and they really understood and enjoyed the task.
Revolution Stage 2
In addition to this I taught 2 songs in each lesson that could be used in the early childhood sector, all in English but basic ones such as “Heads and Shoulders Knees & toes” with the students requested to stand and participate and sing. No translation was provided with the students learning as small children would.
normal;">Revoltion Stage 3
Seed play- no sand available, too cold for water and pumpkin seeds readily available I used the basins, bowls, and some implements from the dramatic play to set up this maths/science play. Again the students were divided up into 3 groups and there were 4 basins of seeds and equipment for them to experience first-hand play and learning. Lots of smiles and laughter and real enjoyment.
Stage 4 of the revolution occurs tomorrow with cornflour paint and finger-painting and prints.
Wonder if I get stopped at the border when I leave?
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