Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to give an instruction?

Good evening!
Today was your typical day at college; yawning (somewhat smelly and sometimes even hung-over) young men mixed with fresh-faced bright-eyed peppy young men and everything in between.
I love my job, most of the time.

Yesterday (and the day before - let's not go there) were tough days. I blame the pending storm that's waiting just to the North of here. It's due to hit The Wetlands tomorrow, with wind speeds of up to or even over 100 kph. Young adults they may be, but my guys sure do react to weather conditions!

Anyway, today I taught how to instruct. I always try to make this sort of fun as well as educational, with lots of examples from real life and referring to popular TV shows I know they watch, etcetera.
Yesterday (okay...sigh, let's go there for a bit then) this turned into a shouting match and can be written off as a total disaster, causing my math-colleague-and-neighbor to come storming into my classroom through the dividing door, absolutely livid because "he couldn't hear himself speak anymore". This man is a bit of a prima donna, but he had a point. Let's be fair.

What happened? I had instructed (see titel) the class (of 29 guys and 1 girl) to watch a short video about how to turn your smart phone into a security camera and to list all the English imperative verbs they heard (just to remind you: Dutch is their mother tongue). Two guys had to write the verbs down on the whiteboard, and the class (divided into two teams) had to write them down too and afterwards help their team members.
The only thing was, I had forgotten to instruct them not to shout...
So, in the heat of the battle, they screamed their verbs to the front; hence my irate colleague.

Today, mindful of my neighbor, I made sure I instructed the other class (I have 7 of them to teach this curriculum to) to keep their gobs shut, at all times, and to whisper their verbs after walking quietly to the front.
This worked. I had fun watching them skulk up to their mate with the marker, and whisper their verbs into his ear. 

They liked my example about a spider (How to weave a web), especially the bit where I instruct them to insert a time-frame ("Time-frame: A couple of hours. Have a beer whilst waiting") but told me my drawing sucks. They are right. It does.

I found this picture on the internet, it is brilliant and has nothing to do with the subject of this post. Still. I feel like that owl sometimes.