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Two Activities for Fostering
Successful language learning entails learner motivation, cooperation
and empathy. Naturally, this approach places emphasis on learner
development. There are a number of stages in the learner development
process. The uppermost stages include raising language awareness (how
learners can contribute to their own learning), changing learning
strategies (self-monitoring, responding to peers, etc.), and,
finally, assuming responsibility for their own learning. The last
stage implies transferring some traditional teacher's roles to
learners which allows them to become more independent (Kavaliauskiene,
This paper describes two activities that can encourage learners'
development towards autonomy by motivating and involving students in
class activities, producing classroom materials and using them in
Checking and Correcting Homework
LEVEL: post-elementary & above
OBJECTIVES: peer-/self-assessment, developing autonomy, learner
cooperation & interaction, recycling vocabulary
TARGET LANGUAGE : vocabulary / grammar review
MATERIALS: homework (done individually outside class)
PROCEDURE: whole class interaction or in small groups
TIME LIMIT: about 10 minutes
This activity transfers a common teacher's role to learners,
encourages their cooperation, interaction, assessment and recycling
earlier covered material. It can be used as a warm-up activity at
the beginning or as a revision task at the end of the class.
Ask one of the students to start the activity by appointing a
speaker who will provide an answer to the first question. If the
answer is correct, this student asks somebody else to answer the
next question, and so on. If the answer is wrong, the teacher's role
is taken by any student who provides the right answer.
The activity works even better if you divide class into teams (3 to
5 students on a team), let students choose the names for their teams
(lions, tigers, snails, etc.) and set up the implementation
procedure in the same way as described above with one exception -
nobody 'plays' teacher's role. Teams do all the checking in turns.
Students have more fun this way.
In this activity, all students have opportunity to speak out and
argue their points. The teacher is nearly redundant: his/her role is
to monitor students' performance. The teacher's interference might
be necessary in case of tricky questions, i.e. if learners are
unable to come up with a right answer.
It is advisable, however, instead of prompting the right answer to
give learners some tips that might help them produce the correct
answer. Usually someone in class does.
At lower levels, students might lack self-confidence to use English.
If learners feel like using their first language, do not discourage
them. Let students become familiar with activity and feel
comfortable and secure.
This activity can be used for peer-checking of progress tests
administered by teachers. Having administered a few versions (to
avoid cheating) of progress tests, ask students to exchange their
worksheets, correct their peer's work and allow them to grade it.
Learners enjoy playing teachers!
Next, let students discuss their performance by working in pairs or
small groups. The teacher's role is to monitor pairs' work and give
advice if necessary.
Avoid 'denouncing' students for making mistakes. The damage to a
student's reputation might be irreparable. Individual counseling is
LEVEL: elementary & above
OBJECTIVES: peer-assessment, self-assessment, producing materials,
reflection on usage, interaction, recycling grammar/vocabulary
TARGET LANGUAGE: vocabulary, grammar, word-building, matching words&
MATERIALS: handouts, worksheets, transparencies from
web-based, authentic or textbook materials
PROCEDURE: work in pairs / small groups / whole class discussion
TIME LIMIT: flexible
The choice of materials that students can use for producing tests
for their peers depends on their level. Higher level students are
apt to create a variety of exercises (word-building, gap-filling,
language in use, matching words and definitions) and use authentic
materials. Lower level students prefer to produce grammar exercises
similar to ones in their textbooks.
For students, making their own tests is an extremely motivating
activity, which also has an element of self-study and
self-assessment. Learners are bound to reflect on the items they
have chosen for testing
In class, learners hand out worksheets to their peers, set a time
limit and provide assistance if needed. The outcome is discussed
either between groups or in the whole class.
The teacher's role is to monitor learners' activities in pairs or
small groups unobtrusively. Intervention is unnecessary unless
learners need assistance.
It is advisable to check and correct mistakes on the learners'
worksheets before they are handed out to their peers.
Tests might be presented on transparencies and implemented as a
whole class activity (provided an overhead projector is available in
Kavaliauskiene, G. Three Activities to Promote Learner's Autonomy.
The Internet TESL Journal. Vol. VIII, No. 7, July 2002. http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Kavaliauskiene-Autonomy/
COMPASSION What is
Compassion is the desire to ease others' suffering.
Compassion is a sympathetic awareness of another' distress combined
with a desire to alleviate it. Kindness and caring are shown.
Service and generosity are ways that compassion can be demonstrated.
Kind compassionate children:
Recognize and express appreciation for others' talents and skills
Put others' needs before their own
Help others because they want to
Listen and provide sympathy
Show kindness without expecting rewards
Tell and show others they care
Recognize and help those less fortunate than themselves
Try to make the world a better place
You show compassion when you ...
Comfort a friend whose mother has been taken to the hospital
Bring blankets and food to a family in need in your community
Volunteer at a senior citizen nursing home
Take action and stop someone who is being cruel to an animal
Listen when people confide in you
Help out at the Special Olympics
Bring ice cream to a friend who has had his or her tonsils removed
Can understand why your best friend is depressed about a divorce
Send a donation to help people starving in a foreign country
Tutor a younger child who is having trouble in school
Tips on becoming more compassionate and caring
Be a good listener
Look people directly in the eye when they speak
Look for kids at school who are being left out and inviting them to
join in activities
Stick up for someone being teased
Each week, do one nice thing for a friend or family member
Proverbs and maxims
The course of human history is determined, not by what happens in
the skies, but by what takes place in our hearts. (Sir Arthur Keith)
Never, if possible, lie down at night without being able to say: I
have made one human being, at least, a little wiser, a little
happier, or a little better this day. (Charles Kingsley)
More quotes on compassion and kindness
Kindness gives birth to kindness. (Sophocles)
Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your
way down. (Wilson Mizner)
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can
read. (Mark Twain)
Kindness in words creates confidence. (Lao-tzu)
Heroes and heroines
Dalai Lama - is the spiritual leader of Tibet who continues to speak
of forgiveness, justice, and living together in harmony.
Mother Teresa - worked in the slums of Calcutta, India, helping and
nursing the poor and sick. She had a great reverence for human life.
Jane Addams - founded Hull House, a settlement house for the poor,
and worked for child labor laws, safe working conditions, better
housing, and women's suffrage or right to vote.
Father Damien - became a resident priest for those suffering from
Hansen's disease on Molokai.
Put compassion into action
Be friendly to someone who needs a friend.
Do helpful things at home without being asked.
Be generous with your time and your belongings.
Create and participate in a litter control program.
Plan and participate in food drives.
Look for ways to help in any situation without being asked.
Put someone else's need before your own.
Look for ways to help in your community.
Try to understand why a family member or friend is sad.
Forgive someone who has hurt you.
Talk with your family about the problems of the homeless and find a
way to help.
Try to understand someone who you disagree with or don't like.
Community service ideas
Recycle aluminum cans. Put the money earned into a local food bank.
Offer to help an elderly neighbor with their chores.
Take a meal to someone who is ill.
Write a letter or send a card of compassion to a victim of some
Create a school bulletin board where students and teachers can
recognize people who have demonstrated great compassion.
Choose a historical figure who represents compassion. Write and
perform a short play about the person.
What is cooperation?
Cooperation is the common effort of a group for their mutual
Cooperation is teamwork.
Cooperation is working together peacefully.
Team players are students who:
Encourage their peers
Allow and invite others to contribute their talents and skills
Follow as well as lead
Recognize their strengths and use them for the common good
Treat others equitably
Recognize the needs of the group
Think before acting
Put competition aside
You show cooperation when you ...
Work in a small group to accomplish a task
Allow each person in a group to have a say
Try to use everyone's ideas
Do your fair share of the work on a project
Pitch in at home doing chores
Play a team sport and work toward a goal
Work with your friends to help clean up
Participate on a student council committee
Proverbs and maxims
The more cooperative the group, the greater is the fitness for
survival which extends to all of its members. (Ashley Montague)
There is no more sure tie between friends than when they are united
in their objects and wishes. (Cicero)
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat
now. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
More quotes on cooperation
Better bend than break. (Scottish proverb)
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as
fools. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers. (Adlai
When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion. (Ethiopian proverb)
A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle. (Japanese
Heroes and heroines
Dag Hammarskjold was Secretary General of the United Nations and
practiced "quiet diplomacy" to reduce conflict between countries.
Margaret Mead was a well-known anthropologist who introduced the
concept of culture into education and promoted racial equality and
The Wright Brothers took years to perfect their flying machine with
patient, cooperative experimenting.
Ralph Bunche was a black diplomat whose efforts led to armistice in
the first Arab-Israeli War.
Guidelines for cooperative learning
Be a good listener.
Distribute the work evenly among team members.
Encourage each member to contribute ideas.
Try to incorporate each person's ideas.
Treat each person of the group with respect.
Be open and receptive to new ideas.
Try to compromise to resolve differences.
Put cooperation into action
Happily do what your parents ask you to do.
Play the game your friends want to play even when you rather do
Help someone by opening a door or helping to carry something.
Help find a compromise when a group is in disagreement.
Always play fair when playing games. Be a good loser.
Invite someone who is alone or "left out" to join your group.
Help family members realize the importance of family cooperation by
demonstrating a spirit of cooperation in your daily activities.
Become involved in a community service project.
Ask your friends to help you do something to preserve the
Practice good sportsmanship.
Community service ideas
Contribute clothing to a community service organization serving
families in unfortunate circumstances.
Adopt a beach or park and keep it clean.
Volunteer to help with a project to promote community safety.
Learn about how you can become prepared to help with disaster relief.
Make and display posters to help the Heart Association with their
campaign for healthy hearts.
Plan a "share a book day" to contribute books to a children's
hospital or after-school program.
FRIENDSHIP What is friendship?
Friendship is an unselfish concern for the good of another.
Friendship is your relationship with someone you like.
"A friend is someone who knows you as you are, understands where you
have been, accepts who you've become, and still, gently invites you
Children who are good friends:
Accept others for who they are
Share their belongings
Enjoy others' company
Support others in need
Smile, laugh, and tell jokes
Avoid teasing and put-downs
Encourage others with kind words
Ask for help from their peers
Solve problems peacefully
Consider others' feelings before acting
Proverbs and maxims
Look for the good in people and expect to find it.
Friendship is the best present you can give.
Love without friendship is like a shadow without sun. (Japanese
12 ways to start and strengthen relationships
Be a person of good character.
Be kind and caring.
Be loving and supportive.
Be a good listener.
Spend time together and share experiences.
Recognize when you have problems with others.
Be willing to compromise.
Talk about your feelings.
Don't play the blame game.
Try not to judge others.
Expand your circle of friends.
Fun ways to strengthen friendships
Make popcorn balls (or other treats) and bring them to someone new
in your school.
Have a water balloon toss (outside).
Bring old baby pictures to class and share them.
Start a club.
Read a play together. Assign different parts to different friends
(or ask which parts they'd like to read).
Have a "read-a-thon" or "music-a-thon" and share your favorite books
Volunteer together for a worthwhile activity.
Other pointers to make friends
Friendliness starts with a simple "hello" so practice different
greetings like "hi" or "how's it going."
Reach out to others. Join groups, organizations, and clubs. Get a
pen pal. Call someone on the telephone.
Include others. Look for people who are left out of activities and
groups and invite them to join you.
Make eye contact to show sincerity and interest in others.
Learn and remember names. When you meet someone new, repeat their
Don't focus on yourself; think of the person you are with.
Smile to show you enjoy a person's company.
Write a surprise letter to someone you care about and tell how much
he or she means to you.
Read about famous people of the past to learn what kinds of
relationships they had with others.
Visit a local store that sells greeting cards and see what they say
to bond friendships.
Decide what's most important to you in a friend. You might want to
do a questionnaire and rank order qualities you feel are the most to
least important - family income level, honesty, intelligence,
education, interest, kindness, ability to have fun, is law-abiding,
loyalty, physical fitness, political beliefs, popularity, cultural
background, religious beliefs, so on.
With your class, debate the most important character trait for a
friend to have.
Survey your class to find out how long friendships last when friends
are the same gender or opposite genders, when friends are the same
age or different ages, and so on.
Role-play things you can do in a new school to develop friendships.
Switch seats in your classroom once a week for 10 minutes so
everyone can get better acquainted with each other.
Create a photography bulletin board about friendships.
Learn about relationships among animals such as whales, bears, lions,
dogs, and cats.
Education and Values 2
Education and Values 3