It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
People are different and they have different aims. What is very important for one person means nothing to another. Mixed-ability classes are inevitable in all forms of education and within all age groups: people are born to be different. And instead of being an obtacle hampering everybody’s progress, this diversity of the human nature can be used for the benefit of every member of a team.
The sense of respect for everybody should begin with the teacher’s personality. And the main rule of teacher’s behaviour is to think of your class as a community. You should apply the principles of the peaceable classroom to improve communication, cooperation, tolerance.
I think you can integrate the theme of respect for toleranc and diversity in every topic the students learn. Every percon differs from another nd each has his own opinion and look on the same ubject or event. It takes all sorts to make a world. And it is very importsnt to teac children to respect other thoughs and views. For instance, talking about music or fashion, literature or personal qualities, cooking or studying at school every leaner has his opinion. One student likes heavy metal music. Does it mean that he is absolutely deaf to music? No, it doesn’t. Another student prefers wearing jeans with patches or has green hair and a ring in the nose. Can we say that he is a light-minded person? No, we cannot.
The theme itself is worth studying separately and very attentively. Every year some of my lessons are devoted to it. My first questions are: What is diversity? What is tolerance? What does it mean- to respect? Usually the easiest question for the learners is about diversity. They agree thar the world is the carpet of many colours and evert part of the carpet has its own history, traditions, customs, habits and manners.We, ourselves have different opinions about things and these differences are part of what makes us human. Then we look up the word “tolerance” in the dictionary and read that tolerance is a “fair and permissive attitude toward those whose race, religion, nationality differ from one’s own”. The next task is to continue the phrase “To respect means …”. They tell such words as to understand, to honour, to esteem, to love, to feel sorry, to be tactful, to sympathize with smb.
Russian and forign literature gives lot of examples of respect and makes people think of character’s deeds and his own actions. Fairy-tales, fables, shotr stories, myths are a good ground for discussion. Having read some extracts from the “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” the children come to theconclusion that we should consider other people as human beeings of intense individualities and creative personalities. Or working with “The Last Leaf” by O.Henry I teach the children to be unselfish and ready to help everyone who needs you, sympathize sincerely with somebody’s sorrow, rejoice at happiness of other people. Another kind of task is called “one storey with different endings’. Students propose various completions, listen to each ohter and learn to respect other opinion ( I think every teacher has many cards with situations that can be ended differently).
To my mind every teacher should read “Language and intercultural Communication”, the book written by Svetlana G. Ter-Minasova. The author of the book asks to be patient and respect others cultures, and your life will become easier and more peaceful. Patience, tolerance and indulgence is the formula of intercultural communication. “Tolerance education has become a problem of vital imprtanci in Russia now”, says S.G. Ter-Minasova. Students know a good saying “Every country has its customs” but at the same time tyey should know and understand another proverb: “When in Rome do as Romans do”. I think it is exciting and useful to propose such tasks as to draw cultural maps of America, Europe or Russia, write stereotype words that reflect cultural life of other countries and choose which stereotypes are true or false. Are all Russians foolish and gloomy? Are all Americans unceremonious and poorly read? Of course, not.
It is very important to take inti account ethnic origins of students, their different levels of subject knowledge and adapt our teaching methods to meet the demands of the diversity. There are always students who are ahead of others and those who are constantly lagging behind. The problem of so called “fast” learners can often be overcome by setting them extra, more challenging work. But what can we do with “slower” students who are not just liguistically gifted? I see the only way out – to create learning opportunities. It is importan to give such students individual tasks according to their interesrs, motivate them to be more curious about the world around.
Most of my students were born in Rzhev and it is their native town. But their parents can have different ethnic origins and at home they can speak different languages: Ukrainian, Latvian, Byelorussian. Some parents ( whose parents are military men) lived in Siberia or the Far East for some years. At the lessons of English the language becomes “the window to another world” but very often this “window” is Great Britain and the USA. The world doesn’t consist of only these two countries. There is no book which contains all the aspect of the multicultural world. And the teacher’s task is to solve this problem creatively. Working with the topic “Would You Like A Cup Of Tea?” students give recipes of their national dishes or dishes usual for different places in Russia. At the lessons devoted to holidays learners describe national customs and traditions, draw national dresses, sing folk songs. Though children’s experience is not so great, the lessons become more vivid, more interesting, more entertaining.
It goes without saying children live in different families with different economic challenges. One child lives in a big apartment, the other lives in a shared apartment and his parents are sometimes unemployed. Some children also have moral challenges, I mean they live with only one parent, as a rule with a mother. When we learn the topic “House” one student describes his own house but the other one draws and describes the house of his dream. I try not to touch upon the problem of “rich” and “poor” houses but I always mention the main things that every house should have. They are hospitality, respect and kindness. If some students live without fathers and they worry of it, I don’t ask them to tell about their families in front of the class. I believe that one of the main qualities of a teacher is tactful behaviour.
Modern methodics propose various techniques and methods. Having studied many of them I have chosen those that suit me and my students. One of them is project work which is one of the basic form of creative work done by a student or a group of students. Project work gives a huge impulse to children’s imagination and creativity. Project work includes variable activities: collecting and analyzing materials, designing a form of the project, combining visual and textual material. The tasks set for the projects usually require fantasy and creativity. This kind of work is successful because it has o called “learner – centered approach”. It teaches children to be cooperative within a team and supportive for each other. Group work is preferable. In a group the first learner may be a “generator of various ideas”, the second one is more talented artistically, the third one is responsible for the text creation, the text writing can be done by the most accurate one. As a result everybody will benefit from the hared responsibility. During this kind of work learner – centered approach, which plays an immense role in project work, helps to bring up in children such qualities as generousity, self-assurance, frankness, curiousiy, ambitiousness. My students create projects since the first steps of learning English. In junior classes the task is the same for everybody but each result depends on a student’s individual performance. They create “The Four Seasons” in the form of spidergramms, “English-Speaking Countries in the form of advertising posters. In senior classes each group chooses its own task and create posters, albums,qiuzes, dramas, exhibitions, magazines. Having finished their projects on a given topic groups present them to the whole class.
Another technique that is very popular among children and gets into account students’ individuality and diversity is role play. Playing the game a learner is absorbed in playing situations and it him to overcome psycological obstacles, such as shyness or lack of self-confidence. The advantage of role play is that it intends intensive communication between children or children and a teacher. And it is communication that promotes cooperation and partnership. The uses of role plays provide students with life situations in the classroom. From passive recipients they turn into participants who understand they can do somethung with the language. Role plays can be used at any level of teaching. Practically all the learners like them. One goes from an easy task to a difficult one, from a small to a big one, from controlled to free performance. I believe the results of the role play will be positive if a teacher takes after the following way: the situations have communicative nature; a role play takes place in a benevolent atmosphere, when a learner is not afraid of his own thoughts or making a mistake.Role plays can be used to pratise everyday situations (shopping, buying a ticket, visiting a museum), family matters (seeing one’s family around the dinner table), story telling (what happened on holiday, what happened last night), talking (when you have to defend your own opinion). Instructions are very important at the beginning, especially if there are some passive students in the class. As a rule passive learners need to be given much written instructions. Even the shyest person gets his mouth open if he has the lines in front of him. Role distribution is very important. A teacher should take into account children’s interests and temperaments, their intellectual abilities. Of course, I think over the role play subject beforehand. But children are given an opportunity to show their initiative. I always try to encourage learners and never show my displeasure or irritation . Mistakes are corrected in a friendly way. It is expediency to sum up immediately after the role play. It is important to get into account the fact that children need receiving a high appraisal. During summing up I pay attention to expressiveness, exactness o0f role playing, children’s creative initiative.
Now I’d like to show you some tasks and exercises that I use to develop children’s individuality and bring up tolerance.
1. Working in groups or pairs, each learner asks another learner one question from the list below. The person asked then answers Yes\No, giving a reason for the answer in each case.
Would you be frightened if:
- you had to live alone;
- you woke up in the middle of a bad dream;
- you were suddenly falling from a high building;
- you had to sleep in n old deserted house;
- you were alone at home in the evening and suddenly you heard a loud noise in another room;
- you had a terrible accident when driving;
Would you be happy if:
- you received a letter from an old friend;
- you found a lost dog (cat) in front of your house;
- you were invited to a football game;
- school closed for two months;
- you slept until 10 a.m. every day;
- you had ten brothers (sisters);
- you won a lottery but it was a very small amount;
- there were no exams for the rest of the year;
How would you feel if:
- you didn’t do a job you had promised;
- a policeman stopped you in the street and you didn’t know why;
- all your relatives came for a visit at once;
- your brother married your best friend;
- you received an award for your excellent work in school;
- your mother has just came home from a trip;
2. “Crazy Questions”. Working in group or pairs discuss he questions.
- for a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again;
- would you accept one million dollars to leave Russia and never come back again;
- would you be willing to become extremely ugly if it means you would live for one thousand years;
- if you were able to wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do so?
Whom would you choose?
- what is so important to you that without it life would not be worth living;
3. “A Dream House”. Students are asked to select one room to describe in detail. Their descriptions should include:
- architectural style
- shape of the room
- placement of doors and windows
- floor covering
- drapes or curtains
- light fixtures
- view from the window
- other details (e.g., a cat sleeping in front of the fireplace)
4. “My Future”. Complete the sentences and discuss them in pairs or groups.
- When I am 18,
- I will fall in love if
- I will buy a new house if
- Unless I study English
- I will work hard when
- Before it is too late
- If my parents let me
5. “Contracting Moods” Every teacher has a large collection of pictures portray natural elements and landscapes. Old calendars are a good source. We discuss how the natural world constantly changes. The students work together in the following steps:
- identify and list five or ten nouns for the objects seen in the picture;
- create adjectives or descriptive phrases to modify each of the nouns;
- think of a possible change, such as a rainstorm, a fire, snow, people approaching and create a new set of adjectives and descriptive phrases to reflect the changes of the objects.
|NOUNS||DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES||NEW DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES|
|Sky||blue, clear||cloudy, dark|
|Trees||green, blossoming||leafless, frosty|
|Road||dry, wide||muddy, slippery, narrow|
6. “Expansions”. The class is divided into small groups. The teacher provides the sentence. One student adds single element to expand it; the second student adds another element, and so on.
Model sentence: These students like reading.
These five students like reading.
These five students like reading books.
These five students like reading English books.
These five Russian students like reading English books.
These five Russian students always like reading English books.,etc.
Sentences for expansions:
The boy likes candy.
That car won the race.
John will come.
The book is interesting.
I went to the park. The boys watch television.
7. “Search For…”. This kind of exercise illustrates two specific goals of activities. The first “breaks the ice” in a new class by providing each learner with the opportunity of getting to know his classmates. The second encourages members of the class to express their own opinion concerning themselves to others in small group discussions.
Search for someone who:
- plays a musical instrument
- wants to be a doctor
- likes cookies and cakes
- will have a birthday in the next two months
- wants to change a habit
- likes to swim
- was born in autumn
- has visited two foreign countries
- has a brother and an aunt
- has eaten turtle soup
7. “Poetry”. This kind of activity can be effective introduction to a poetry-writing unit. Each student selects a person, place or thing. Then he produces a descriptive poem according to the following set of instructions:
line 1: choose a noun that describes a person, place or thing you have selected;
line 2: describe this noun with two adjectives joined by the word and or but;
line 3: use a verb form and an adverb to show this noun in a typical action;
line 4: think up a comparison beginning with the word as or like to show a special quality the noun has;
line 5: use a phrase beginning with if only to express a wish regarding this noun;
|Red and small||White and billowy.|
|Jumping breathlessly.||Running quickly in the blue sky.|
|As fast as a lightning||As soft as fur|
|If only I could join it.||If only I could touch them.|
- Тер-Минасова С. Г. Язык и межкультурная коммуникация.- М.: Слово/ Slovo, 2000-624c.
- Bright Ideas. A Teacher’s Resource Manual.- Office of English Language Programs. Us Department of State. Washington, D.C. 20547
- Gorodetskaya L. Project Work. – English, 15\1998 page 5
- Murphy R.A. From Practice To Performance. – English Language Programs Division. US Information Agency. Washington, D.C., 20547, 1995 – 147p.