31. Designing a(nother) Worksheet: reflections

27/04/2016

Designing a(nother) Worksheet: Reflections

Today I tried out a lesson using the Art Postcards worksheets I had created for the materials module.  The lesson went okay, but not as fantastically as I’d hoped, which you can read more about in my post on Critical Incident 5.

With regard to the worksheet though, some thoughts:

  • The brainstorming bubbles on page one did help encourage some learners to think of language connected to the topic, but there were a couple of learners who were more reticent.  Might they have found the format – the bubbles – intimidating?
  • The materials didn’t stimulate as much discussion as I’d have liked – and as they (the postcards) have previously.  There are so many contributing factors that it would be unreasonable to put this solely down to the materials, but interesting to note nonetheless.
  • I didn’t use the worksheets in the lesson as much as I had anticipated.  I put the language from the ‘useful language’ box up on the whiteboard so that learners wouldn’t jump ahead to the next stage, but learners still needed encouragement to use the language.
  • Matching the Klee facts with the postcard was more thought provoking than I had imagined, and with a more imaginative group I can see that it would have generated more discussion.
  • The grammar matching task worked well, but from a practical point of view I’d like to have had each part cut up, to make matching easier: learners could then pick up and move around the different sections.  This would also mean this page of the worksheet would act as more of a handout – an ‘answer sheet’ for learners to take away.
  • Generally I feel that what I’ve produced is more of a handout than a worksheet.  It feels a little too hand-holdy with all the instructions.  This might be partly to do with my teaching style, which tends to be more ‘off-page’ than ‘on-page’.

Fortunately, my colleague Stuart plans to try using the worksheet with his group on Friday, so it will be interesting to get his feedback on how it works with another group.

One last point of interest: when I left the classroom at the end of the lesson, two (of seven) learners had just left their worksheets behind, discarded.  Disheartening after all that work, but not automatically a reflection on the worksheet itself (see Critical incident 5).

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2 thoughts on “31. Designing a(nother) Worksheet: reflections

  1. Only after writing my comments on your worksheet, I have read your post-use reflections. It is quite frustrating when a worksheet that looks great on paper doesn’t work as we have hoped in class. Would you put that down to the context and specifically to the learners? I mean, maybe they simple did not find art and paintings stimulating and interesting?

    • I think there were a lot of complex factors contributing to the fact it didn’t go so well –
      Group dynamic
      Learner expectations
      My expectations
      Topic interest
      … there are probably more.

      What could I have done differently? A totally different class aimed at building group cohesion, maybe. But as a cover lesson I had decided to go in with a plan (and, as is the nature of CPD, an ulterior motive to try out my own materials)

      This relates to what you and I were talking about recently – planning vs dogme. Maybe with cover classes – unless the regular teacher has prepared or requested something (but in this case I didn’t even have a record of what they’d done the previous two afternoons) – we really should be doing dogme lessons…? Worth considering…

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