This week turned out to be great fun. Discovering new aspects of tools which are familiar to you is like learning to drive a car with automatic transmission, or … to be more like a teacher … learning the new meanings of the word book, room, or hand. You thought you knew how to use something and it suddenly turns out you become a complete beginner. But what immense satisfaction you get when you master this new skill!
For the last couple of days I have been learning to play with PowerPoint, to exploit it for the benefit of myself and my students. Preparing a Jeopardy game for the first time and from scratch was similar to operating a brand new mobile with a manual at hand. Even my husband, whose English is much worse than my students’ (unfortunately), expressed his admiration for the idea of using this game in class. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time (the end of the semester is approaching at my university), I had no chance to attempt to develop a PPP interactive lesson. However, I am hopefully going to do it next week for the students of political science. Getting them engaged and stimulating motivation on their part are my two main goals for the short period of time left this semester.
The focus on interaction is directly linked to the second subject area this week, namely teaching large classes. Luckily, I have never had to face this problem and/or challenge. My classes were never bigger than 25 and now they are not more than 20 students at a time. However, many teachers have had to learn to deal with this situation. Personally, I notice two main difficulties: establishing contact with the students and assessment. The first one concerns the typical teacher-student and student-student relations in and out of class. Many students remain anonymous in such large classes, the teacher finds out about them only from written assignments or index books to sign. I cannot imagine not knowing my students by their names and not knowing what kind of people they generally are. How can you overcome this in a class with 300 students? And assessment poses an even greater obstacle. How many times can set written assignment not tog et lost in piles of essays to read? How many times can you do vocabulary tests to see what new lexical items they have acquired? How many times do you have a chance to talk to an individual student for than two minutes? I am truly lucky… but my colleagues who manage to handle at least some of the obstacles I enumerated deserve highest marks!
To finish up in an interactive way:
What makes a good PPP?:
a) the number of slides
b) the number of images
c) the number of questions asked by the students