We learn in different ways. Some like to work in a crowded room with lots of activities - others like to study in privacy in quiet surroundings. A few don't care much either way, and learn everywhere or nowhere.
At school our options of designing our own learning landscapes are limited. We sit in classrooms or computer labs with other students and have to work according to the instructions given by the teacher. But there is an important lesson to learn in this context as well. We learn to be considerate, pay attention, focus on tasks and, not least, to co-operate. These social skills are very important in our later careers.
The classroom obviously has its limitations, but there is still considerable room for adaption. We may go for many open class discussions, a lot of pair work, week plans, or project work. We may work out a detailed day by day plan and learn in carefully planned sequences. Some like the teacher to talk them through various topics - others want to work things out themselves, even though that often takes a lot of time. One class may love role plays, others may hate them. Some love pair-work but end up pair-chatting, lost somewhere on the Internet (which may be fun but does not contribute to a good learning environment).
If you base your learning on digital learning tools, it is especially important to agree on a set of rules; otherwise things will often get out of hand.
When discussing the dos and don’ts of next school year, we need to keep in mind that the curriculum provided by the national educational authorities is a cornerstone in that discussion. Also, the educational background and experience of your teacher needs to weigh in heavily. The teacher will obviously be grading your efforts in the subject, and he/she is an expert at teaching English.
The responsibility for maintaining the quality of the teaching lies with the teacher. However, obtaining a good learning environment is a two-way street of giving and taking, and adapting the teaching to suit the needs and requirements of the student is important. In my experience with teaching, I have had students begging me to just tell them what to do instead of endlessly discussing it. After all, students disagree amongst themselves as well, and discussions may get intense. Other years I’ve heard that I need to listen much more closely to what the students want. No two years are alike, and no two classes are alike. What worked one year, failed another year.
One key issue that my students and I often fail to assess correctly, is how much time projects take to finish. Students often lack competence in assessing what it takes to complete a project, and I sometimes fail to clearly define when things have to be finished. It is often advantageous to start with a small project to get the hang of things.
In the end, experience tells teachers to vary their teaching and keep an open mind to students’ requests. It also tells us that it is sometimes necessary to put one's foot down when there are conflicting views.
In the table below you may fill in your preferences and requests when it comes to learning the English language.
Read the statements below and underline the alternative that you agree with.
Please, print out table in the link collection.
|I need to learn more English||no||some||yes|
|Learning English can be fun||no||some||yes|
|English classes are often too easy||no||some||yes|
|I like pair-work||no||some||yes|
|I like group discussions||no||some||yes|
|I like class discussions||no||some||yes|
|I like to take part in oral presentations||no||some||yes|
|I can work well in a noisy classroom||no||some||yes|
|I can work well on my own||no||some||yes|
|I like to be told exactly what to do||no||some||yes|
|I like the teacher to decide what we should do in class||no||some||yes|
|I like the teacher and students to decide together |
what to do in class
|I like reading aloud||no||some||yes|
|I like reading||no||some||yes|
|I like audio books||no||some||yes|
|I like to work on bigger presentations/projects||no||some||yes|
|I like to work with smaller and varied tasks||no||some||yes|
|I like to listen to the teacher talk us through topics||no||some||yes|
|I like the teacher to make notes on the blackboard||no||some||yes|
|I like to create my own tasks, quizzes etc||no||some||yes|
|I like to plan how to carry out my own project||no||some||yes|
|I like to write creative stories||no||some||yes|
|I like to write factual texts||no||some||yes|
|I like to do grammar tests||no||some||yes|
|I like to decide who I will work with||no||some||yes|
|I want the teacher to check our homework||no||some||yes|
|I want the teacher to put some pressure on me||no||some||yes|
|I want the teacher to be strict on those who don’t work||no||some||yes|
|I want many graded written tasks||no||some||yes|
|I like project work that includes out of school activity||no||some||yes|
|I like to watch films about various topics||no||some||yes|
|I like to get informal feedback from my teacher||no||some||yes|
|I like to us digital tools such as photo editors, |
video editors and web editors in my school work.
|I’m familiar with the use of computer software and the internet||no||some||yes|
|I need help to structure my work on the internet|
or else I will waste a lot of time
Here you can write anything else you want your teacher to be aware of: