Sep 20

Thinking about Activities, Materials and Time

to share general feedback on the self-study plans (goals/objectives/activities/time) and highlight common problematic areas.

Time: 5 min

Students were given back their self-study plans. Words ‘aim’, ‘objective’ and ‘activity’ were put on the board. Students were asked to express their opinion on the differences between these 3 notions. When listening to students opinions, I reminded them that (adopted from

  • ‘Aims’ include new things/improvement that one will be able to do and there should be simple ways of checking this improvement. 
  • “Objectives” are the result of learning, i.e.what one will be able to do as the result of doing certain activities. 
  • ‘Activities’ are specific actions the person will do to reach ones goals.

Students had to look back at their study plans and improve them, taking into account the feedback and the differences just discussed. Many of students did not put any time or activities for their plans so the task for the next lesson was to put down time and activities and start selecting the material for working on one’s self-study.

General reflection
Many of students in both form still do not believe self-study is going to be evaluated, they continue either keeping silence and doing nothing or ask every time ‘why do we need it’ and ‘what is this we are doing on English lessons’, ‘you are not teaching us anything’. It feels really discouraging. Probably, I need to think more about motivating students for self-study. The first motivation I tried to use was connected with their results of diagnostic test but seems it no longer works. Reminding them about their exams also does not seem to work. In the form 10 the reply is – it’s still too far – or – don’t worry, we will pass the exam.


# Alexander Sokol 2011-12-03 18:39
Renata, a few things:
- anything you introduce should be integrated in the system of evaluation. You should clearly explain how it will work (better give them a handout) and then make sure you follow it;
- it takes a long time for people to understand that learning doesn't equal teaching. But it's important that we regularly bring this message across and support it with examples;
- it is useful to remind them that the key thing about language learning is doing something with them on a regular basis. If we don't, languages are just forgotten. And, of course, a few hours a week is never enough for this 'doing'.
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