Sunday, June 25, 2006

ON TEACHING: "Reviewing the School Year: Failure and Successes"

Success #1
I feel good about the way I used the large flip chart to go over each week’s lesson plan. Since this was the first year I used the technique, I was unsure about how effective it would be, but, looking back, it’s clear that it was an important, positive step in my teaching. Most of all, the flip chart gave the students a picture of a methodical and orderly course of study. It made English class seem well-organized. When the students looked at the chart each day (we went over it briefly on a daily basis), they perhaps said to themselves, “This class is well thought-out and structured, which means I’ll probably learn a lot.” Occasionally throughout the year, I also flipped back through the weeks, which gave the students a view of how far they had come and what they had accomplished. It’s fun to pause at a lookout point on a steep trail just to gaze back down the path you’ve traveled, and it’s equally enjoyable for my students to look back and see the route they’ve traveled in their English studies. I must admit that I have never done that kind of “re-viewing”, and I’m glad I finally got started this year. Next year, I plan to continue using the flip chart, but I may put fewer details on it and not spend quite so much time going over it each day. I find that “less” is usually “more”, and the flip chart would probably be more effective if only key words and phrases were on it. Trying to do too much is an old curse of mine, and I must remember that when I’m designing the flip chart each weekend.

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