By D77

Not too bright

The last day of my teaching week again and it's back to class 'D6' (this is now my third Wednesday morning sunrise D6 Blip so it's becoming a bit of a ritual).

Today's lesson was in advance of the the second monthly 'quiz' (where everything they've learned in previous month is tested), with the marks counting towards their end of year results.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in today were the tense, worried faces. Students don't like tests, especially if they're not too bright. This lesson was a revision/review one and proved one of the most difficult since starting teaching.

It went a little something like this:

Grab an Arabic/English dictionary and write the word worried on the board in Arabic.
Laughter and round of applause for the teacher (seriously!).

Explain that there is no need to worry as I'll review everything they need to know for the quiz.
Blank faces.

Write on the board exact page numbers and worksheet references in which to find the answers to the mock quiz I'm about to hand out.
Blank faces.

Give out mock quiz and tell them they have half an hour to help each other to study their notes and find the answers to the questions.
Extremely worried faces.

Monitor progress constantly.
"Teacher, no understand".

Highlight specific question, find answer in the book and point to it.
"Ahhh teacher."
10 seconds later...
"Teacher, no understand".
"Teacher, no understand".
"Teacher, no understand".

The students have absolutely no study skills. They can't fathom that when a class finishes, that's just the beginning of the learning experience. They never refer to their notes and certainly don't grasp the concept that answers can be found through the simple task of reading them.

It is really difficult to try and change a lifelong attitude (hindered, in no small part, by the Oman education system) to learning that started at age 5. I still haven't worked out how to do it.

All I could offer today was encouragment and perserverance, in abundance. Eventually, after a good hour of study tips and advice, it started to sink in for about half the class, which is a miracle.

To end the lesson, I created a 'pelmanism' (where you have pairs of images face-down and you pick up two at a time; if they match you get another go, if they don't you turn them face-down again) game using Powerpoint which tested their recognition and spelling of key vocabulary.

Boys against girls. What a laugh. The whoops and cheers whenever one team matched two images were deafening! I designed it so that all the squares, before disappearing to reveal the image underneath, had letters on them for the teams to pick. At one point the boys asked for squares 'F' and 'U'.

"F U teacher, F U".

I didn't even bother trying to explain why I was laughing ;)

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this is becoming a regular Wednesday feature of mine (sunrise blip with blurb about this class). You can read the others here and here.

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