Saturday, 24 September 2011

how do you fight boredom in the classroom?

As a teacher, my worst enemy in the classroom is boredom. If my students don’t understand what I’m saying, they’ll ask – or I’ll notice and try to fix things. If they’re shy, angry, tired, or just puzzled, I’ll help. But if they’re bored, there’s no way out. They won’t listen to me, they’re actually not with me. And if it’s me being bored – it happens to teachers as well – I’m not with them and no matter how experienced I am, a barely-there teacher is the worst possible teacher.

Now, you cannot possibly come up with something new, engaging, challenging, every single time. But European projects (eTwinning, Comenius, self-financed) can. That’s what they do for me: they actually bring people in my classroom – new pupils, new teachers, plenty of new ideas. Interest comes from novelty, learning comes from sharing.

It’s funny to see how the partners, thousands of kms away, are actually with us all the time. I can remember the warm feeling experienced during a History lesson, when one of my pupils suddenly came up with a bunch of questions “What are they doing now? Are they studying this as well? Our same History?”. A reflection started from there and has never stopped since.

Conferences, meetings - and awards as well - came through the years. We met other teachers and students, experienced different teaching styles, different ideas and realities. My teaching developed and widened, as I met and shared ideas with lots of teachers, experts and especially with pupils.

You can’t enter a community and keep unchanged, and this applies to the pupils as well. A bored student/teacher is isolated, while in a community you’re never alone. Via Comenius and eTwinning, the whole school system (including parents) could experience the power of team working and the importance of building bridges between individuals. Now we don’t just have lessons, we make experiences. And “experience” and “boring” just won’t go together. “Experience” means actually being there – together.

Now, here's the funny way Dr. Diana Hicks represented the student's school day:

What about you? Do you agree with her? And how do you fight boredom and keep your pupils involved?
Looking forward to reading your comments!


[more about this in my articles in Voices of eTwinning - European Schoolnet 2011]

Sunday, 4 September 2011

materials for children

Dear LLT Friends,

I uploaded in the TNG TwinSpace some new materials which could be useful if you teach in a primary school.

As I teach Italian languague too, I put some materials that I was given in Florence during a Comenius teacher refreshing course.
I met there Francesca Lo Re, who taught Italian languague in France, and she had a workshop with us with many good ideas. These exercises are connected to "i vestiti di Marianna", a fairytale. The writer is Roberto Piumini. You can easily find the text on the web too. (I didn't upload it because of the copyright).
I also uploaded some materials that you can use in the classroom. For example in a languague lesson, but not only... (I think the structure of a lesson doesn't depend on the languague). They could be useful when you teach the colours, or parts of body, animals. I like them, because children can colour them,we can make some activities together,and in the case of animals they can use their creativity to find new animals too. Here maybe it could be funny to work together with your Art colleague.

I don't know how you organise your timetable; in our school the primary school teachers are free to organize it (except the Physical Education lessons and foreign languagues because they depend on other colleagues). Now I have every Fridays two Arts&crafts lessons, and a Reading activity.
I would like to have some "project days" to motivate my pupils. It is the first time I can try to set a project with them, this way, because they are now 8 years old, and in the third class. Hope, we will have a lots of new adventures and fun.

Have fun with your pupils too :-)

Hugs, Mónika