jueves, 13 de marzo de 2014

                 The way Assemblies introduced changes to my” teaching style”
   Some years ago, after teaching for a long time, I felt the strong need to make a significant change in my career. I knew, beforehand, that “starting again”, would bring many challenges. That was my clear, specific objective! It represented an interesting move towards growing as a teacher and as a human being.
   Of course I was not going to leave aside my academic background and my experience in different grades. The idea was to add, combine and recycle new strategies and techniques to the ones I had been applying for years.
   I felt immensely enthusiastic about my new situation. But planning was a big issue, it had to be done meticulously.
   It was not easy at the beginning. It was completely different from the way I had planned my Spanish lessons before.
   But, what really called my attention was the “concept” of the Assemblies. I could not imagine how students could get a valuable lesson without writing for an hour and a half.
   I imagined children getting bored, misbehaving, not knowing what to do with their time. I didn´t know how to time this stage, thinking it could mean a waste of time and energy.
   Little by little, I realized that it was definitely worth carrying out these Assemblies. More than that, I started enjoying them!
   Framing an interesting question, presenting a conflict to be solved, talking about a hard situation, mentioning characters from stories, making connections with real life, or just telling them:”What is the first thing that comes to your mind in relation to the topic, to this person, event or to the content in itself ?”

   It has been a pleasure to listen to students retelling anecdotes that parents or relatives had told them once. It has also been a wonderful opportunity for shy kids to “say something” because they could feel confident, and of course, I prized them immediately with warm, rewarding words. Mates listened to them and these contributions triggered other interesting comments. Sometimes, breaktime was due, and many children wanted to go on participating.


   Arranging the tables and chairs in a semicircle was also an asset. This “U format” allowed us to have eye contact, and I could carry my chair around the classroom, so as to be able to work with all the students.


   Assemblies brought real benefits to all the children and of course, to me. I noticed that they achieved and acquired fluency in their speaking and it also had a direct impact in their writing too. Sounds could be polished, functions used in the right contexts, types of words correctly collocated, among other linguistic advantages.

   Above everything I have mentioned before, what I like most is the way children expressed and shared their own feelings and emotions. Creating a relaxed, warm atmosphere in the classroom, also facilitated to strengthen enormously the emotional bonds among all the people who are involved in this cognitive, mental process called “LEARNING”.