Saturday, 15 June 2013

I wanna tell you a story...

Some of the things I use to teach are not directly related to the task in hand. See for example, the PIE thing I posted about a couple of months back.

Add to the list of non-standard ideas or memes that I regularly employ, "The thing with the fish", and "The story thing".

The thing with the fish is a way of establishing the underlying principles behind road signs. Rather than get bogged down with the hundreds of signs we have to deal with, I use a pictogram of a fish inside the various shapes and colours of sign to get across the underpinning logic. Why fish? Well they're easy to draw in silhouette, and it allows my pupils to accept them as an abstract, because signs saying "warning, fish ahead", "no fish allowed" or "fish lane" don't exist in real life. I've been using this particular idea for years now.

The Story Thing comes from something I blogged about here a year or two ago.

This shape:

is sort of the shape of a typical, successful driving lesson.

Generally, It would be wrong to plan things too tightly, so the first part of the lesson is the pupil just driving, and doing ok. But then inevitably, something goes wrong. They fuck up a roundabout. They nearly knock the mirror off a parked car.

Kaboom. They've just hit the buffers, and seemingly, they're doing worse than when they started. And suddenly, I have a lesson plan.

We stop. We talk. Questions are asked. Answers are given. Sometimes correctly. The area of weakness, having been exposed, is worked upon and improvement occurs. The pupil finishes their lesson at a higher point overall than when they started.

This is something I share freely with my pupils. Understanding and accepting that the bit below the baseline is an inevitable and necessary part of the learning process is an important tool in legitimising error.

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