There’s one thing, though, that I really hate: giving instructions.
I can’t help feeling that giving classroom directions is the silliest and the least creative activity in the world.
There’s one particular pet hate I have:
“Open your books on page …..”
It’s not that I hate the books. I have no problem using coursebooks at all. To the contrary, I find them very useful in my teaching context. It’s just the phrase I utter so many times throughout the day that invariably makes me shudder with disgust.
I was taught that effective classroom instructions should be short, clear and to the point. So I suppose that any creative variations on “Open your books on page …” would be considered a methodological rebellion.
- Hey guys, why don’t you take your books and flip through the content until you come across page ….
- I’m looking at a fabulous grammar exercise. Could you just find it in your books? It’s on page …
- Wow, this article looks very interesting. Would you like to have a look at it now? You’ll find it on page ….
- Grab the publications lying on your desks and check out this amazing listening on page …
When I give my students directions, not all students do instantly what I ask them to do. Some do, but others need more time to get going. Having said that, part of me believes that it’s easier for my students to concentrate on a short, boring command than on something longer and more creative. This part of me is convinced that I must do what’s useful for my class and sacrifice my creativity and the desire for more authenticity. Another part of my teacher self believes that those ‘laggers’ struggle to concentrate just because the instructions are boring and always the same and that something more elaborate and unusual may crank them up.
This post has no decent conclusion, I guess. I’d just like to wind up thanking the following people for inspiration: