This post is adapted from an article I wrote for WORLD EDUCATION • MAY 2008 23 Focus on Basics
Getting learners on the teaching team is my first order of business at the beginning of a new class. I like to put them on notice that my class is a little different, that I ask for unexpected things from students, that I expect them to participate in shaping the class.
Adult Basic Education students come with strong ideas about what school should look like, and they want me to stick to that program. When I ask them to do something unusual–an art project, for example, or the dreaded working in groups–they resist. They zone out, or grumble, or refuse to take part, and generally rain on my parade.
I learned a lot about how to give learning a physical component from the late Christina Patterson. I had always been good at using manipulatives, getting people moving and so on, but Christina pushed physicality to a new level for me.
One year, near the beginning of term, she took a whole class to the local archery club for a morning of lessons from the club pro, followed by lunch.
When they all got back to the classroom, Christina got the discussion started with “What did you learn about hitting a target?” and made a list as students talked. Continue reading