I don’t know about you, but for me things always get so busy at the end of the year. For teachers I think it’s especially crazy as we not only have to tie up classes and tests for the year but we also have to rehearse presentations, plan parents meetings and write numerous report cards. Now I’m not complaining because I know that this is part and parcel of the job and I’ve decided now for some time that I’m definitely in the right profession.
So let’s reflect; if it wasn’t for the report cards and parents meetings when would we really sit down and think carefully about each and every student we teach?
And when doing so, do we really consider the whole child or simply their intellectual skills and whether they are learning or not? There’s another thing too, should we write only the positive things and leave the negative observations out?
I believe that with care and tact it is our job as teachers and educators to tell the truth about our students and pass over as much information as possible.
Teaching any child should always be seen as a partnership between the educator and the parents or guardians. It’s not an easy task believe me but the only way to real growth and healthy development is by being open minded and getting down to the basics.
This year in our little school we have tried to implant a regular observation scheme of our students. We put together a list for the semester and have tried to observe two students a week. We not only watch them during class but also at break time. We watch the way they learn, the way they play, the way they behave with their friends even the way they eat! There are three teachers so we then have three different visions or observational points of view. It’s SO interesting. It takes time but the rewards are three fold.
If this is not your teaching situation at all there are other ways of getting to know the students you teach and a wealth of information within them that any curious teacher can tap into.
Let’s say that you’re a private teacher, teaching small groups or even one to one. Below is a simple game that you can do with your students that involves all the four skills and a few other more psychological ones to boot! Teaching private students does have an element of closeness that a larger classroom doesn’t. Why not try it?
Tell your student that you are going to play a game. Explain that you are going to give some instructions and that the student has to follow them. Give them ample time to complete each task and repeat where necessary. Help the student and give positive feedback
- Draw a circle and in it write your name.
- Now draw two lines under the circle and number them 1, 2.
- On line one write the names of the people you live with.
- On line two write another name that you would like to have.
- Draw a square and in it write your date of birth.
- Now draw two lines under the square and number them 3, 4.
- On line three write your favorite season of the year.
- On line four write your lucky number.
- Draw an oblong and in it write the name of someone you admire.
- Now draw two lines under the oblong and number them 5, 6.
- On line five write why you admire the person above.
- On line six write something you are good at.
- Draw an oval and in it write the name of the book you’re reading/ have read.
- Now draw two lines under the oval and number them 7, 8.
- On line seven write the style of story you prefer.
- On line eight write the name of a hobby you have.
- Draw a triangle and write the name of your favorite room in your house.
- Now draw two lines under the triangle and number them 9, 10.
- On line nine write down a task in the house that you hate doing.
- On line ten write down a task in the house that you love doing.
When you have finished you will have a nice personal profile of your student that you can use in your conversation class or as a guide to know what kind of classes and content to prepare for future classes.
The drawing element should help the student to relax and therefore feel less inhibited with their answers. I have used this game on many occasions and it has always been a success. You can also change the format and questions to suit your way of teaching. Brazilian students are usually so open hearted and really enjoy talking about their lives.
For you the teacher, it’s a real gift of information and maybe a helpful hand when writing a final report! Enjoy!