Keep calm and use technology

question mark

Use technology to problem solve

Image : ClipartPanda

It was the lesson after lunch last Thursday with the year 9s. We had been practising shopping and what to buy in different shops . I then put a conversation from their book up on the board and said I’d give them 15 minutes to look things up they didn’t understand. About 5 minutes into this it was clear they could not do it. First time for everything. This conversation has always come after the other things and been straightforward. Not last week. The students were simply baffled and unable to get a hook into it. It was the last lesson of the week. I did not want them going home for a weekend and thinking French was hard and horrible. We then spent the rest of the lesson learning numbers and shopping vocabulary on their language learning site. Perfect. I had the weekend to solve the problem. I could just leave it. Skip over the conversation and move onto something else. We have the whole French language to learn. Not hard finding something else. No, I decided I would use technology to present the material differently. I set the conversation up one line at a time on Powerpoint slides. Big writing. Dark text on a colourful background. Monday last lesson I started with this. We did the conversation one line at a time. We pronounced it. We worked it out. So far, so good. I had made a list of 40 words of the conversation and put it on their language learning site. They loved it. They spent 20 minutes getting to grips with the vocabulary and were learning it quite quickly. There was a lot for year 9s to learn. We stopped. I put the original conversation up on the board and I played the sound file of it. All eyes were on the board following the conversation. We then went back to our language learning site to do more vocab practice on it. No feeling of failure. No confusion. No disenchantment. I used technology to get them into learning something they had found incomprehensible. Now, next lesson, I can play the conversation, I can get a couple of students to read it out and then we can do our own version of the conversation. Familiarity does not breed contempt. It breeds success. If you are on familiar ground you will take the risks necessary to learn a bit more and push yourself a bit more. These students could have felt like failures but using technology allowed me to refresh and repeat in a way they could understand. I now have a PowerPoint I can dress up even more and make an even better learning tool. Students who were born in 2000 and after like interactive learning. I am learning I have to become part of that as a teacher.

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One Response

  1. […] is a follow up to the last post so you can see how we finished. I didn’t quite finish how I said I would in the post, but we […]

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