Friday, September 25, 2009


What a surprise….

Today during a lesson with my year 12/13 we had a very interesting and surprising conversation.

I found a French text from a very old book at the back of a cupboard. The text was dated from 1972 (well before I was born!!!) and was about Education.

The author was arguing that schools should prepare students for their future life and that students should learn what they need and what they feel like learning to prepare them for their future instead of being taught what teachers think what students should know. As I said the text is more than 35 years old.

The whole class then started to discuss the text. One thing leading to another, the students started to criticise the way they are taught and said a few things which surprised me.

First, they admitted that they would rather being lectured. They reckon that they need to simply being told the knowledge and they complained about the lack of notes given by the teachers.

Second, they think that at the beginning of the year, each student should be put into a group according their learning style. Thus, all the visual learners would work together and would only make visual activities-and so on for the other type of learners. They think it would be best for them as they reckon that they are wasting their time doing activities that aren’t of their learning style e.g. during a lesson, a teacher usually tries to cater for all type of learners by proposing different activities; if you are not a visual learner, you will not learn by doing activities that are targeted to kinaesthetic learners.

They also criticised group work when they are asked to go through exam results together into groups. They would rather want to have the teacher going through the right answers.

At last they also complained about the fact that there isn’t enough “current affairs analysis”. They would like to be more in touch with the world and with what’s going on.

I thought it was very interesting to know what they really want from school and now I need to digest all the information they gave me to adapt my teaching to their needs.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

shocking !!!!!!!!!!!

Shocking works

This week I twitted what I was doing with my year 12 French class. Tonitheisen asked me to elaborate, which I did, but I thought (sometimes it happens) “well, why not blogging about this activity!!!??”

The last topic of the year is “Sex, drugs and alcohol”...actually it is “Give advice”, but I have noticed that if I say to the students that we are going to study “sex and drugs” they are very engaged and work very hard :-)

Revenons à nos moutons.

Last year, at the NZALT conference in Wellington, I have learnt this wonderful activity.

After teaching the students how to give advice (si j’étais toi, à ta place, il est recommandé de etc..) I put them into groups. I give a picture to each group. They have 7 minutes to write (spelling does not matter) a story explaining what has just happened to the people on the photo and give an advice.

Of course I gave them pix which are very shocking. I want them to be inspired and I want to present them with an opportunity to give an advice.
At the end of the 7 minutes, each group has to tell their story and their advice without showing the picture. The other groups try to understand what their story is about.

In the lesson, each group end up having several photos. I try to keep the pace very fast to keep them engaged and excited.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Extra Normal ???

On Saturday , I discovered Xtranormal, but I can not remember how ( post pregnancy brain- at least this is my excuse!!!). You can make 3d movies. It is very easy to create a short movie. Of course it is not perfect, I think they are speaking too fast but it is free and I think it could be very good in a Language class.

It took my 15 minutes to create the movie. I will check if it is blocked at school, if not I could use it with year 9 in 2 weeks after the exams.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


During lunch time I went for a walk ( yes I actually left school during school hours!!) with a teacher who used to work in the science dept and now works as a relief teacher. She is very tall, scary and she is very talented working with difficult kids. It is always amazing to see all the hard gangsta ( you see I use hip words??) kids behave so well when she teaches and they learn so much with her.

Get to the point Florence!!!

During our walk she said that she was very amazed how students use very bad language in class and that they do not respond to detentions. It is true that students will get detentions after detentions and will not change their behaviour. My friend reckons that something is missing in the pastoral sector at school.

I was actually thinking about what she said during our HOD meeting ( ooops!!). I think it is not so much that we should invent means of torture to make kids change their behaviour, I think that they are not getting out of school what they should.

Usually the kids misbehaving are kids not achieving...what about if we were proposing things at school that could interest them instead of asking to produce complex texts in English when their level of language is very low. If John likes horse riding and is passionate about it, why not proposing a course about horses. I am sure that John would then not misbehave anymore and stop swearing at teachers.

It is time to rethink about what the word EDUCATION means really in practice.