Playing the Teacher

January 23, 2018


A few days ago I pulled from the shelf another old workbook, Developing Receptive & Expressive Language Skills in Young Learners.  It was the first publication from “Great Ideas for Teaching. Inc” I bought almost 20 years ago  and the one I used more times than anything else. This time, however, I try to use the workbook to reverse roles.  Robert is the teacher, I am the student. But when Robert is the teacher, he doesn’t read questions/directions from the book.  He practices asking the same two or three questions with a few variations.  He points to the object and asks one of the questions:

“What is it?”

“What is it made of?”

“What is it used for?”

Sometimes there is a need to change “is” to “are” . Sometimes I suggests ( I write on a piece of paper which Robert reads before getting in the role of a teacher.) asking ” Where can you find it?” or something equally simple and almost obvious. Robert applies these questions to the three pictures on the page.  I answer them correctly and Robert has to say, “Good’.

Next, Robert gives me direction, “Touch ……” followed by the name of one of the three pictures.  This time I give him two correct answers and one wrong.  When I answer correctly he has to say, “Good Job”. When I made mistake, Robert has to say, “No”.

I don’t ask for more, as it is still a bit confusing for Robert to get a new perspective on language.  He is, however, very amused when he can say “Good Job”.  He heard it thousands times before and now he is in charge of dispensing praise.

I have to add that when I began this approach, I first wrote the three questions on the separate piece of paper and asked Robert to read them a few times just to memorize them in THIS context. I covered the questions and Robert followed with asking them while pointing to each of the objects.

I didn’t want Robert to just read the questions and directions from the workbook as that would not lead to more independence.  Memorizing the smaller number of questions or directions and then retrieving them from his memory/mind seems to be a more useful skill.

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