Re-invigorating my teaching
After a very busy period out of the classroom in summer school management, I have recently returned to the chalkface. Prompted by a self-appraisal and a subsequent mentoring session with my principal ( and a few beers with a couple of other EFL friends), I have been thinking of ways to challenge myself, reinvigorate my teaching and stimulate my students. I have always found that ideas from Pilgrims have matched my own teaching style and have thus transferred with success to my own classes.
The idea I have been toying with ( though not started yet) was to bring an element of chance to the selection of activities. Could I take the Contents page of a Pilgrims ideas book, ( such as Humanising your Coursebook), cut up the ideas and then each week pull out five at random that I would then have to fit into my weekly teaching.
Would the students notice the difference? Would it be a challenge or just impossible? Would the chance selection ( rather than looking for a "match") refresh my own teaching? I was thinking of calling the experiment something like Pilgrims pot-luck planning or random Rinvolucri!
All the best
You probably know the Edward de Bono technique for unblocking your head when facing a hard problem. Take a dictionary and shut your eyes. Open it at random and place a finger somewhere on the open pages. Now relate the word there in whatever way you wish to the original problem. Like you, de Bono invokes the principle of randomicity as a creativity technique.
In Breaking Rules (Longman 1988) John Fanselow advocates noticing what you are doing in class and then doing something different, no, not something better, just something different.
I know a couple who are both EFL teachers. She tells him a bit about her class, which he does not teach, and asks him to prescribe some text or exercise for her to do on Thursday morning. The rule she has established for herself is that she will do what he suggests, irrespective of whether she agrees with it or not. She tells me this has had a powerful anti-treadmill, routine effect.
Have you yet tried out what you suggest in your letter? If so how about an article for HLT?
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