In a recent conversation with a friend who wasn’t in ELT, he seemed relatively shocked when I spoke about regularly using articles from the day’s newspaper in my morning lessons (of that very same day). He remarked, “If you are using that day’s paper, then you can’t be very prepared for the lesson, can you?” And my friend isn’t alone in his belief that being well-prepared in advance of a lesson is the mark of a good teacher. Many students, when asked what makes a good teacher, would often include being prepared as part of their criteria.
But what does it mean to be well prepared?
To many, being well prepared means knowing fully well what one is going to do during the lesson, having lesson goals and lesson plans written out, each stage of the lesson planned and timed, handouts photocopied, flashcards and pictures cut out and laminated, and any equipment the learners might need ready to go in a resource box. And to imagine the opposite would be to imagine a teacher lost and unsure, standing in front of their class looking frazzled, scratching their heads wondering what to do next, stuttering through their sentences and unable to answer any of the students’ questions, and wasting everyone’s time and not offering the students’ any learning experiences.
But is this necessarily a result of not having prepared the lesson well? On the contrary, could a well-prepared lesson be a complete time-waster?
Not long ago, my 8-month-old attended a course where the teacher came extremely prepared with coloured cards, a variety of marker pens, glitter guns, scissors and glue, and all sorts of audio-video equipment for the task that she had planned for the students. She had even memorised a long script and written a song for the lesson. It was therefore unfortunate that the lesson was pitched completely wrongly: the babies in the class were not yet able to use the pens, the glitter guns, the scissors, the glue or the audio-video equipment. Their short attention spans meant that the long story led to a lot of drifting and crawling in the direction of the doors. The parents ended up doing the arts and crafts while the babies lost interest and constantly tried to grab the forbidden scissors and glue and put them in their mouths. Although the lesson itself was extremely well prepared, the target audience hardly got anything out of it. Continue reading “How prepared are you for your lesson?”
Eduardo Salles, aka Sallesino, is a young illustrator, copywriter and designer with an acid style and humor. He has a formula which encapsulates his ironic commentary on the internet, politics, TV and daily habits: Design + humor + social critique. We publish here a selection of his latest creations that beautifully capture the sadness of modern life and that work as a powerful starting point for conversation in class.
British illustrator John Holcroft’s work is a fascinating mixture of retro-style illustrations combined with satirical commentary on modern-day society. The focus of his pieces span a wide range, tackling everything from our obsession with social media and technology to media’s role in the rise of obesity, the influence of banks, and, of course, politics. These pictures present interesting topics and are good starting points for class discussion.
Did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel The Great Gatsby was original called ‘Trimalchio in West Egg’? It was an odd choice and not very catchy, but Fitzgerald was convince it was the perfect fit. The title was an obscure reference to the lead character of Petronius’ Satyricon. Thankfully, the author listened to the feedback of his editors and changed the name to something the rest of us can understand. Apparently Fitzgerald’s masterpiece isn’t the only classic to have undergone a drastic name change. You might be surprised by how many famous novels had alternate identities in their early stages.
Jonkers Rare Books