If a teacher is able to use the seven components of Dr.CROSS (Discovery, Risk, Collaboration, Real Tasks/ Consequences, Originality, Skills, Service), then she is a great one. As an EFL teacher in Morocco, I can safely say that some of those
compenents are already present in my classroom, whereas others are still far-fetched due to a cluster of internal as well as external factors.
Discovery, Risk,Collaboration, Real Tasks with Real Consquences and Skills can be said to prevail in most of my classes. As to Discovery, I allow and give opportunities to my students to learn for themselves or do projects that are likely to help them figure things out better. For example, I divide them into groups of four or five to make presentations about a given topic. They are free to seek information from whatever source they choose.
As far as Risk is concerned, I usually stress it to my students that making mistakes are signs of good learners. I encourage them to take risks, raise their hands and say what they have to say no matter how. I make it clear to them from the very beginning that making mistakes is good for them and necessary for me to have a close idea of their learning process. I don't remember telling any of my students the word " false" in response to their answers. Instead, I usually try to put them right. Now after I have rid them of the fear from mistakes, I can see they have become courageous enough to make the "stupidest" mistakes. I really have to commend myself for my achievement in this regard but I have to shoulder the blame for the deafening noise made by that " teacher, teacher, teacher" thing when I ask a question!
Now we come to Collaboration, a term that I think every teacher is familiar with. By collaboration we mean having opportunities for students to help each other out with lessons and work together. As a matter of fact collaborative learning alwyas results in deeper information processing and more meaningful connections among group members.While working together, students build new understanding by challenging others’ ideas and defending their own to come up with a result that is different from what any individual could achieve alone .Nevertheless, collaboration remains something our students are unfamiliar with given the importance attached to individual achievementis. Therefore, as teachers, we need to cultivate a positive environment to let our students accept collaborative work just right. Here is a sample collaborative activity that I alwyas use to brainstorm vocabulary:
This activity makes a good warm-up or review activity. The language objective is to help students learn new words about general topics such as food, weather, and clothes, or words that are examples of structures they may be studying, such as phrasal verbs, concrete nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, to name a few.
Time required: 10–15 minutes
Step 1: Students form groups and generate as many words as possible that relate to a selected topic. The main rule is that everyone must participate. To ensure that the less-advanced students participate in the activity, ask them to keep track of the words that the group has generated by writing down and numbering the words.
Step 2: Each group chooses a spokesperson to read out that group’s words to the whole class.
The advantage of this activity is that it is quick and fun, and exposes students to new vocabulary. It can be turned into a game if the teacher encourages students to generate as many words as possible and keeps track of or scores the final number of words for each group. The teacher can also collect the lists of words and create a record book or make a poster wall.
The fourth characterstic of education for the new millennium is Real Tasks with Real Consquences.This is about giving students responsibilities and holding them accountable. I always do this at the very beginnging of the school year when I help my students come up with classroom rules and consequences for behaviour. When all the members agree on the charter or class constitution as I prefer to call it, we write it on a paper, send a copy to the principal and one to the parents and stick one on the wall with the principal signature on it.When we say class constitution, we don't only mean behaviour and good conduct but also cooperation, hardwork , diligence, empathy and other traits of good students.
Now I come to the fifth pillar of education in the 21st century which is about connecting all curricula to national standards and educated competencies.In Morocco we certainly are teaching by standrads for our grade levels. As a matter of fact, there are standards and competencies that all Moroccan students must attain nationwide and most Moroccan teachers are familiar with the 5 C's ( Communication, Cultures, Comaprisons, Connections and Communities) making up those standards.
Now it is time to talk about the most challenging characteristics of the new millennium education, namely Originality and Service.By originality we mean getting students work in other ways besides sitting in their desks like taking them outside the classroom. But this would be a tough job and less likely to yield any fruits given the large size classes I have. I know full well that doing this would certainly make students experience reality firsthand, but it is really far-fetched. The class size as I mentioned is a nightmare and it would be hard to control 40 students in the open air. They would break the first rule of using their mother tongue, something which is forbidden in my classes.Plus, there are so many constraints that stand in the way of accomplishing any sort of this original experience.
As to Service, I see a small way in which I connect my lessons to the world so my students can see how important they are in the global picture, but I do help them learn to contribute to their society through for example teaching them voluntary work, protecting the environment, abolishing school violence and the like.
By El. Mohamed
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|risk in the classroom - discovery - collaboration - originality - skills - service - dr cross - cours anglais Marrakech|