Choice in the classroom

(I’d like to take a short break from earthquake introspection today)

Choice in the classroom

I had a great teaching experience today. It’s so simple that it’s probably not worth writing about, except that it made a big impression on me so there is a slight chance it will also prove useful to others. I was teaching one of our ‘advanced’ classes, made up of promising students that we select and recruit from our general student population (advanced classes are invitation only). This particular class has four girls in it, three junior high school second years and one third year. They’re a great bunch.

We just finished a textbook (Listening Starter 2, published by Compass), and had to decide what to use next. I had something I want to use, but without really having planned to, I pulled out three possible options and introduced each one, then asked the students what they thought. We ended up having a short, to the point, focused discussion about which textbook they wanted to do next, and why.

It wasn’t the one I had chosen.

This is fairly basic stuff. Give the students choice, make them responsible for their learning, give them more autonomy, etc. The thing is, I clearly wasn’t doing it as much as I could have. My students today showed me that they are mature and responsible enough to make these kinds of choices for themselves, and by allowing them to make that choice I maybe managed to convey to them how much I respect and like them. I think I ended up learning the bigger lesson.

It was a great end to a very long day of teaching.

16 Apr 2011, 10:59pm
by goodandbadjapan


This is something I need to be much better about. I tend to choose texts for my students, but I suppose if I’m honest it’s more about what I am comfortable using than what they would choose. That these kids are still in junior high and able to make choices that you presumably think are good ones is great. I always suspect I will be met with a ?????? type response. Maybe I should have more faith in them!

That’s my standard reaction, but I might try more of this ‘choice’ thing in the future. I think I like it 🙂

It was one of the best conversations I have had with a class, on a human level, ie it wasn’t a teacher and four JHS kids, but rather a bunch of people talking.

16 Apr 2011, 11:01pm
by goodandbadjapan


That ????? was where I typed ‘dore demo ii’ but I guess the site doesn’t recognize kana. Actually, ????? fits in quite reasonably!


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