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October 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 5

ISSN 1755-9715

Teaching Off the Books

Giovanna Gullì has been working as English language teacher since 1992. She is currently a teacher at Liceo “Alessandro Volta “ Secondary school in Reggio Calabria , Italy. She is also a teacher trainer for  Italian as L2 at the University “Dante Alighieri” in Reggio Calabria. Email: giovannagulli62@gmail.com

 

Teaching outside the box is my  recent experience after O.Wilde’s literature class. In my teaching, creativity is not intended as teacher’s creativity but as the ability to awake students' creativity:  if you are well informed about your students' skills and learning styles, you can get the most out of English literature in an EFL class. After having given lessons in class, after flipped teaching(useful only to the most talented ones) you still feel unsatisfied,  your perception is almost of a failure because half of the group seems not to be interested in what you have presented, commented, analysed, translated for them in class, in such cases you should  turn  towards a Task-Based approach. Now your task is to plan cooperative digital pair and  group works, according to your sts skills like singing, acting, surfing the net, using new technologies, that way you can fulfill educational aims and allow them to detox from books and paper. Try to engage mixed abilities students in a project work with creative tasks hoping they carry out researches, stimulate their autonomy, they feel it is the last chance to preserve them from a destiny of bad marks; It could be considered a "recovery time", if you really believe that every student counts, you must give it a try .

Set out a blog page,( https://eachmankillsthethingheloves.wordpress.com / ) give them the password and let them feel free to post their products there; after a monodirectional teaching session, it is time to enhance motivation, increase cognitive skills, strengthen learning and solicit creativity. If you are lucky enough, as I am in this moment, and you have two girls which love singing and playing the guitar, give them two/ three stanzas of "The Ballad of the Reading Goal" to arrange and sing as homework, they will do it in the best way  possible.

If you know they love Facebook ask a group to create a FAKEPAGE (with the help of http://www.classtools.net/) on your author while another group creates a newspaper page (using https://newspaper.jaguarpaw.co.uk/generator) about the discussed topic (in this occasion it was the death penalty and The Church attitude towards it).

Another group will create two infographics with the help of https://venngage.com/ , selecting their favorite aphorisms, maybe they will surf the net, read, reflect and choose those closest to their personalities and beliefs, they have to justify their choices to the class next time they meet.

Ask a pair to organize "the impossible interview with Oscar Wilde" in his last years and to perform it in front of the class, for sure they are forced to provide evidence to prepare questions and answers.

In the end, a quiz show to have fun, a true /false test prepared using Kahoot: split the class into two groups, ask one to play the role of the TV presenter as you, the teacher, sit in the back to observe and take notes for the assessment time. This activity will stimulate their pride, curiosity, making guesses and inferences in a relaxed atmosphere.

 As I expected this group of students fulfilled my objectives in terms of knowledge and formative aims, I asked for feedback and asked how useful they think these activities are and to reflect on the acquired skills and on what they have learned.

As a result assessment could be a problem if your school has fixed evaluation criteria but it could be easily overcome by creating, on this occasion, rubrics using http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ .

 Perhaps the creativity of teaching lies in the eyes of a student looking admired his/her teacher presenting an innovative task, for me it is the student you look at with open mind while presenting his work persuaded to be fresh, bright and beautiful; this is the creative teaching to me bright and beautiful even when students do not succeed in getting excellent marks and, if it happens, it also becomes a little bit magical. 

Please check the Creative Methodology for the Classroom course at Pilgrims website.

Tagged Voices 
  • Teaching Off the Books
    Giovanna Gullì, Italy

  • Thank You Japan, Mario Rinvolucri , UK
    Mario Rinvolucri, UK

  • A Foreign Professor's Perspective of Teaching English in South Korea
    Louise Emma Potter, Brazil;Christopher Irvin, Republic of Korea

  • Quotes by Rushan Ziatdinov
    Rushan Ziatdinov, Republic of Korea