Archives de catégorie : éducation

Games for Language lessons

These are short language games, with little or no preparation. To be used as a starter or as a reward at the end of a lesson.

General precaution: As most of the games are known with many variants, it’s always a good idea to check the rules before they get started.

A few tips to make the activities entertaining:

  • Speed
  • Speed
  • Speed
  • Rewards of some sort. Glory is better than candies, and much cheaper.
  • Only a few minutes in a row. If the result is not perfect, it’s better to play the game again a few days later than to prolong it until the students are bored. By the way, it’s also much more effective for memorization to space the repetitions a little bit than to try to memorize everything at once.

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How to make a lesson look like a game?

Or learn to loose and have fun!

Some teachers believe that they just have to put some pretty colorful coating on an exercise to make it fun and transform it into a game. They’re just wasting their time. Look at the African children. They play football on disgusting waste grounds, with balls made of scrap. Their playgrounds are muddy, full of garbage, often smelly. But the waste grounds have one major advantage: there is no adult. As modest as those pieces of land may be, they are the property of the children, at least for a while. They become magical realms, thanks to the power of imagination. What does this have to do with education? We must ask the question, as we do no longer believe that the sidewalk is a 1000 feet high cliff. We’ve lost the magic power to change a stick into a flamming sword. Therefore, we must find some serious excuse to justify our plays with the children.

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Is it a good idea to play at school?

When I was a high school student, I had teachers who tried to recover their authority with educational games. I didn’t like them. They were bad players as well as bad teachers. However, at the same time I learned a lot of things during the great games I played with the Boy Scouts. So, what was wrong with high school?

I doubt that they’re playing in order to increase their attention skill. They play. And it’s enough!

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What is success?

Success is relative.

You succeed when you reach your objectives, whatever those objectives are.

If your objective is to please your guest, making a good cake is a success. At school you can be successful in doing an interesting presentation or in writing a very smart essay. You’re always successful in doing something. You can’t be successful in general.

The objectives of the students do not necessarily match the objectives of the school or the objectives of the teacher.

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How to make every student work? (Language lessons)

One of the most important concerns of a teacher is to make sure that all of his students are actually working. In this regard, the language lessons are particularly at risk, because oral activities take a greater part in them.

When you do an exercise in written, all the students try to answer the questions simultaneously, obviously some of them with more seriousness than the others, but, still, all of them have to do at least something to avoid troubles when it comes to the correction. And it’s not difficult for the teacher to walk between the ranks and to look after the children. During an oral lesson, the attention of the teacher is usually taken by the lesson itself. It’s less easy to awake the lazy students.

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How to motivate the students?

This is one of the most common questions in pedagogy. Sometimes it reflects a lot of anxiety.

This question is similar to this one: how to be healthy? It’s quite obvious that there is no straight answer. There are lots of things to do in order to be healthy. You need a good hygiene. You need some good daily routines, like enough sleeping time or a well-balanced diet. You may need medications sometimes. If one of your organs fails dramatically, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter if you loose your brain, or your liver, or your heart, or your kidney. The result is the same. Your need all of them in a correct shape.

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How to reward the best students while avoiding harmful labeling ?

 

Competition is often seen as a source of motivation. And… it’s true… to a certain extent. If you’re pretty lucky, organizing a competition between your students will dramatically increase the motivation of… the top ten.
You can also experiment a few drawbacks. A fierce competition tends to make nasty children and to prevent any cooperation between them, because the best ones will retain the keys of their successes. And obviously the worst students will not be encouraged to perform better. Nobody will ever strive to go from the 35th to the 32nd place.

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How to mark Mutiple Choices Questions in order to reduce guessing in the answers ?

The problem is quite simple. You should not mistake success rates for the marks you give to the students. A good mark is often defined by tradition to a precise number, for instance, in France, we consider that 10/20 is sufficient. In China, it’s 60/100. Each country has its own tradition. This is not the point. But you must consider the nature of the test. It’s quite obvious that getting a 50% success rate on a true or false test is an absolute disgrace, as it’s the score that you’d get through random answers.

 

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Le dernier recours

Il n’y a pas de droit absolu, pas même le droit à la vie. Ce qui est absolu, c’est le devoir du policier de tenter les autres solutions avant de recourir à la violence. Il n’est certes pas légitime de tuer un homme et je ne milite pas pour le retour de la peine de mort. Mais mon droit à la vie tient à au moins deux conditions: que je respecte la vie des autres et que j’y tienne moi-même. Si je suis en train d’assassiner mon prochain, me tuer sera de la légitime défense et je n’aurai subi aucune injustice en mourant sous les balles d’un policier. J’aurai simplement récolté les conséquences de mes actes. Si je tiens des enfants en otage et que je menace leur vie, le policier aura même le devoir de m’abattre. C’est devenu pour lui une triste nécessité.

On espère n’avoir jamais à punir. Tant que ça reste bon enfant…

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