I hate washing dishes when Cheerios (or any other cereal) get dried onto the bowl, don’t you? Sometimes you can pick off most of the Cheerio, but most of the time a hardened crust stays stubbornly behind. Stubborn and impervious to any kind of scraping you can give it. But there is a solution to hardened Cheerios, and I think it totally applies to teaching.
Defeat hardened Cheerios by simply soaking them in water for a while. That’s it. Soak, and the cereal falls off effortlessly when you come back to wash it.
How does this apply to teaching English? Have you ever had a student that just seemed to resist any and all attempts at helping them learn in the classroom? I have, and I’m sure you have too. What have you done about these students?
In my case, I think I’ve often just tried to scrub harder. Doesn’t work. Both student and teacher become frustrated.
What if you tried soaking?
How to apply soaking.
- Soaking is simply quality time with the water. Application: Encourage your student to connect with English on THEIR terms, and around what interests them. (TV show? Movie? Favorite singer?) Find what they like, and invite them to soak in it. Small but frequent wins the race.
- Stop applying force and pressure. If you notice your student (or yourself for that matter) are no longer having a good time with what you’re working, pull back. Change the activity. Present it in a different way, but never force the matter.
- Followup Frequently. Revisit your student’s progress on their soaking every class. Ask: ‘What have you been connecting with on your own in English?’ and ‘How has that been going for you?’
How have you been helping students who find English hard to learn?
Photo By Michael Bentley