The Untouchable(s)

on Sunday, 11 April 2010
If you have students who have problems with simple English syntax, how can you train students to do activities i.e. choral speaking or debates? Here is the path I took to make sure that students get things done quick and efficiently.

That's right. Last minute panic. Not for me, but that's the idea you have to screw into your students when they are given an activity or task that requires quick completion. Personally, I didn't really feel quite comfortable with this type of approach because I like it that my students are stress-free. You know, my suggestopedia (refer to previous blog).

Based on my short observation, getting students all panicked and having a sense of urgency is beneficial in its own way. It's not the only way but it can certainly be utilised to great effect. I tried it out in one of my activities and it was certainly effective in getting their brain functions into high gear.

So how do I create this last minute panic situation? Simple, as the arbitrary power among the students, I give them a do or die situation. Tell them the severe immediate consequences that will be enforced if they do not come up with something in the next 2 minutes.

I swear, if any of you do not come up with a version of a rooster call when I want you to, I can promise you certain elimination from this group.

Boom! Everyone starts cockle-doodle-doing away like me going into a barn-sale with my best (and worst) roosters. You even get the voiceless roosters trying to call out the morning alarm at her very best even though she never had a voice before.

Smart you say?

Well, it's not the last minute rule that is hard to come up with. Anyone can come up with elusive threats. Trust me, if there is one thing that teachers can do awesomely well, it's threats. BIG GINORMOUS threats.

The difficult part is the build-up before the threat. As a teacher, you must be clever in creating an environment and condition where everyone believes dogmatically that you are the divine power. You have to make sure that at the snap of your fingers, students get in line and sell their soul to the devil for a dime.

Of course, I don't wish for them to sell their souls to the devil.. unless by the devil, you mean me... course.

So, in order to do that, what I do is clear demonstration of prowess. Trust me, nothing gets your students more hyped up and confident when they know their in good hands. You must show that you are the penultimate example of awesomeness. You are the one they aspire to emulate. You are the only source of guidance and solace. That is difficult. That is not just difficult, it takes time. You must create this situation with constant demonstration of your ideals and ideas to make something work.

Demonstration is crucial not just to show that some things are attainable but also to eliminate the possibility that some students just do not know what is the benchmark of your definition of success. Show it to them; show them that it is attainable with their current ability and knowledge. Show them that if they fail to reach it at that moment, you are there to ensure that they do. Make sure that they get the message that if they can't reach it, it is the lack of their participation/enthusiasm that is the factor; not the flaw of instruction on your part.

Make your position untouchable and unquestionable. It is difficult but well worthwhile when done.


Why should the students believe they can reach something when you are not showing that it can be reached?



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