Teaching teenagers is not so easy as you could imagine, they get bored so fast and as teachers we are always looking for new strategies which can trigger their motivation, boost their interest, writes Mariella Sorrentino in this guest post.
The etwinning project, entitled, ‘Teacher for a day’ was a successful attempt to make my students study English literature in a new and innovative way.
First of all, I abandoned the traditional role of knowledge transmitter to let my students become the real protagonists of their learning, planning and presenting lessons to their peers both in a synchronous and asynchronous way. After having chosen the topics of their lessons as teachers, my students built teams where they worked together and collaborated in a creative way. The web was fundamental as a source of information. Under my guidance, they learnt to rework , interpret and experiment with new apps such as Answer Garden, Kahoot, Mentimeter which were useful to create interactive activities to use in their lessons. It was necessary to transform the physical layout of the classroom, shaping its organization and creating different working areas where the students could use their digital devices (mobiles, laptops), interacting and reinforcing their social skills.
BYOD (Bring your own device) methodology allowed for the learners to overcome logistic and instrumental problems, to facilitate the planning activities of the teams and the management of interactive lessons using electronic devices. Technology was fundamental to transform the physical setting of the classroom, eliminating the traditional layout with parallel rows and giving space to a new and flexible space to let the students participate in collaborative and cooperative activities. In addition, they could experiment and try new devices to present the results of their didactic plans supported by digital presentation tools and finally to manage their online lessons, connecting with peers from Turkey, Hungary, Poland and Serbia.
Here are some of my students’ comments, which give an idea of the impact the project had on them:
“Being a teacher for a day has been a great experience. Thanks to this kind of role game, I’ve learnt to put myself in a teacher’s shoes and I can say without a shadow of doubt that it is more difficult than what I was expecting. I’ve learnt to use my language skills for something new,
which is very formative and useful.”
“I think that this experience was pretty good. I’ve learned a lots of things, but first of all I’ve improved my English! Me and my classmate have worked a lot, we were like a team, we both had different parts but we worked together and that was amazing.”
“The project ‘Teacher for a day’ has helped me improving my English and my social skills. In fact, the fundamental skills or qualities required for this kind of project are teamwork, speaking in public and good knowledge of the English language, as it is the only means of communication. Furthermore, my classmates and I had fun trying to plan the lesson and claiming to be the teachers, we really enjoyed ourselves, it was a great experience.”
Mariella Sorrentino has been an English teacher for about 20 years. She really likes her job and is always looking for new ideas to make lessons more engaging and ones that motivates her students. She has a degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures and has taught in different types of high schools. As a coordinator of Comenius and etwinning projects, she has the possibility to collaborate with colleagues from all over Europe increasing her skills and sharing experiences with them. She strongly believes that the integration of IT in didactics is fundamental nowadays, that’s why she has integrated digital tools into her lessons.
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