YOUNG PEOPLE AND EDUCATION (3)…..

More easily they will be able to make comparisons between the education
system in Victorian era and in contemporary age.

Taking into account that kinesthetic students learn best when they
are engaged in activities involving their body (in other words when acting,
touching things and moving around), I planned a final dramatization of the
text through a role-taking activity. It will probably be a useful way to keep
this particular kind of students motivated and to make students in general
have fun while learning. Besides this activity proves effective both for
enhancing the learners’ grammatical competence and for letting some of
their unconscious psychological contents come to the surface. Playing a role
means facilitating the development of the empathic ability: students are
compelled to take on another personality for a while and this process
compels them to see things from the point of view of a certain character,
trying to think and talk like him/ her.

Similarly as for the focus group activity (jigsaw reading) and the
group discussion activities presented in other steps of this lesson plan,
also this activity will be important for students learning how to co-operate in
order to reach the same goal.

As regards more specifically group discussions, they may develop
students’ oral proficiency and their capacity in turn taking in a conversation.
I introduced them also with the aim of enhancing their ability to pay
attention and to listen to what other people say: they accustom students to
confrontation and negotiation, increasing their ability in comparing opinions
with their peers, sustaining their critical point of view.

On the other hand the activities to be done in pairs encourage the
students to interact with one of their peers, giving them the opportunity to
overcome the fear of being judged which often negatively affects, as we know,
their production.

As for the group activities I planned, they might be a little
problematic in a sense. It’s important that groups differ in size and
composition. So, before the activity starts, it would be helpful to divide
students in groups in an organized and principled way, thus according to a
certain balance among members. This will help avoiding groups
made up only of good students or only  weaker students; or groups made
up of good students and only a weaker one, since he/ she will tend to ‘leave
the job’ to his /her mates and won’t produce much. Then, while doing the
mind-map writing activity, for example, the  teacher could ask the weaker
student to write it down. In this way he/ she will be also stimulated by his
peers who will check on his/her production at the same time.

Another problem might arouse from the competition activity since we
might run the risk of creating inadequate or frustrated reactions or
behaviours on the part of the weaker groups who may feel discouraged by
their inferior competence and skill, leading to their demotivation. Again, to
avoid frustration and demotivation the teacher should set up well balanced
groups, where the best students provide help and stimulus to the weaker
one.

During all these activities our role as teachers will be that of a
counsellor who observes, co-ordinates and provides suitable prompts.

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