The first session was entitled Writing Instructions - Where? How? Where Does It Fit In? by Elizabeth Forster and Richard Stenhouse, from the British Council Primary School in Madrid. Elizabeth talked about reading (following) instructions with lower primary learners and Richard with upper-primary.
|By atibens on flickr|
Richard then talked about how to gradually make the instructions more complex by using different connectives, imperative verbs and by evaluating the instructions of their peers.
Overall Feedback: Although both presenters highlighted some important points and gave us practical ideas, I'm not sure this was enough to warrant a whole session on writing instructions. This talk may have been more useful for primary school teachers in a CLIL or bilingual setting.
The final session I attended on Young Learners was the last talk before Herbert Puchta's Closing Plenary. This was called Classroom Management for Primary by Helena Kennedy. I decided to go to this talk because it is always useful to find out how other teachers successfully manage their classes of young learners and pick up new ideas.
Helena teaches both extra-curricular and curricular primary children at the Hyland Language Centre in Madrid. Her session was relevant for all teachers of primary-aged learners. The talk focussed on how to maintain control in the classroom. Some important aspects she mentioned were:
- Coming up with a fixed routine
- Obeying responsibilities (learners)
- Not only work but also play
- Tell the learners how well they are doing
- Reprimand when necessary
- Give an overall behaviour mark
- Leave the last class in the past.
|What can happen in the classroom if you're not careful! Photo by Aislinn Ritchie on flickr|
- Name cards - these could be used to make a seating plan before the students arrive; to choose classroom monitors; to keep a check on behaviour.
She also gave each child a card at the end of the lesson, with from 1 to 5 stars coloured in, which showed their overall behaviour in that class/day.
- Use positive comments and stamps on the children's work to motivate them
- Allow those who have performed/behaved best to leave the class first
- Give postive comments to their parents
- Odd one out - learners decide which flashcard is different
- Remember and re-order - Learners close their eyes and say what has changed
- Password - show a flashcard and the children have to say its name before they can sit down
- Run and touch - one or more students go out of the room and they have to find the hidden flashcards
- Through the keyhole - stick a keyhole template in front of a flashcard and learners have to guess
The main problem my friend Leahn and I had with this talk was a difference of opinion on the use of praise and punishment with the presenter. I don't want to go into details as I think Leahn is going to write a blogpost of her own on this subject.
Overall Feedback: A varied talk on different aspects of managing young learners, providing a variety of techniques. I don't agree with everthing that was said, but I value the usefulness of having plenty of tricks up your sleeve!