It was revision day for the test my students are going to take this Tuesday (Listening and Use of English) and Friday (Speaking) and I decided to do something I have always done whenever my students were taking tests.
The procedures were very simple: let them choose the activities they were going to do according to their needs. They included general vocabulary and grammar activities in the activity book (I wrote the pages they could do on the board) and extra worksheets that I spread on my desk so they could come and pick them up.
I believe that by the age of 9 or 10, students know what they can or cannot do very well, that’s why I chose this way of revising content. It is not like discovering the wheel or anything, but, to my surprise, apparently none of these students had ever been introduced to this concept before. While they knew their strengths and weaknesses, they found it so cool that they could choose the activities, get in groups and help each other, they made a lot of comments while doing the activities to point this out (“this is the best revision because we can choose what we want to do”). I was very happy to hear that! 🙂
Even though I am not a big fan of course books, as I have mentioned before, when they bring extra materials and worksheets, they can be very valuable if used right. I don’t like giving worksheets for the students to do out of context, just for “extra practice”. I would rather use them in a revision section the way I did today or to save them for fast finishers.
Of course some students did more activities than others, but they all seemed to agree that it was an useful kind of revision. There was even time to do a “learning to learn” activity that the course book suggests doing after each unit.
Nothing is perfect, though. Looking back, I think students would have also benefited from a fast chat before they could choose activities to talk about what we have learned and to test each other in pairs. I would do that with can do statements, for example, “I can name school subjects” or “I can tell the time using half past, quarter to, quarter past”, where they would tick or cross. This way, I believe students would be better able to define what they needed to do.
Finally, I really enjoyed doing this today because it is one of my goals this semester to promote autonomous learning in class and students showed they are ready. I have noticed that students nowadays rely so much on the teacher and parents to do things for them, even to plan their study schedule, while they could be doing it themselves. I plan to write more on autonomous learning soon.