What went wrong with this lesson?

A very interesting lesson today for the 3ème class (average age 14/15).

I introduced the next activity, a dictation and then played them the text that was on the course book CD. It was tough, and fast.

After a couple of listens I had already noticed that about a third of the class was having a pens down strop/strike.

Next step, a two minute brainstorm in pairs on strategies to succeed this task, which came up with the following:

1. Write down key words

2. Record the CD with our phones

3. Take it in turns writing phrases with partner

I then played the recording once more and gave them 15 minutes to complete.

After five minutes I could see that I still had four pupils still on strike, so I asked them to note down why they thought this wasn’t a good exercise and what we should do instead. They replied:

– Even Valseska (American pupil) thinks it’s too fast, that says it all.

– You can’t call it a dictation if you let us work with neighbours/record/use dictionaries etc.

– There’s no point in doing it if we can’t write all the phrases

As the bell rang, most had finished and we’ll check it  (well they will) with the text up on the whiteboard next lesson.

What would I change?

In retrospect I shouldn’t have said it was a dictation, that really threw some pupils, who clearly thought I wasn’t playing by the rules.

We should have looked at strategies before listening.

Perhaps we could have ellicited keywords from a first listening and written them on the board.

I must admit that I’m still surprised that such a lively group found this exercise so hard, and had such trouble “thinking outside the box”. nobody suggested copying the best pupil in the class, or stealing a look at the teacher’s book, or using a spellcheck.

Was I unfair? Not giving any goalposts when they assumed we were playing  a federation standard match?

How can I encourage independent learning in a postive atmosphere when I know some of them feel that I “desert” them when I refuse to cave in and spoonfeed the answers?

 

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About fabenglishteacher

I've been teaching English for a few years now and this blog is part of my never-ending quest to make learning English more fun, and easier for my students.
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