This year I am teaching Gr.9 in China. For my students this year is a crucial year for their future. At the end of the school year in June they will write standardized government exams for all their subjects; these exams are called the Zhing Kao. How they score on these exams determines the high school they are accepted into, which then determines the universities they are eligible to apply to. This year my students will be between 14-15 years old with a great deal of pressure on them. For many this year will decided much of their future.
Considering this and recognizing and respecting the system I am teaching in, I have put much thought into how I want to structure the school year. I want to provide my students with the content they need, solid exam preparation and positive thinking. I truly believe that people of all ages are able to generate great results through the power of positive thought. To do this with my students I have done a couple activities with them that are focused on what they bring to the classroom-both within the context of English and also the rest of their lives. I have a number of students in my class with amazing skills that I’m aware of and I wanted to provide a time for all students to share their great talents. I also did an activity with small groups where students shared positive descriptive words for each group member and students left with a list of positive words used to describe them by their peers. Through the activities I have been doing my objective has been to build support systems in the classroom and generate a positive atmosphere where we first see peoples strengths and look at “weaknesses” as opportunities for future strengths.
I plan to continue doing activities with the class throughout the year that are focused on goal settling, positive thought and strengthening the support networks within the classroom. I titled this posting “Positive Though: My Win This Week” because something I have started this year is to hand out cards on Friday in the last 5mins of class where students write down something good in the week that has happened in English class or their life. Although five days can sound like a short period of time, so much can happen and often when there is great pressure on our shoulders it is easy to loose sight of the good or “wins” in our lives. My hope is that these cards over the next weeks and months of the year become a way for students to stay focused on what is going well, what their strengths are, and in turn become more motivated and encouraged.
My win this week has been seeing how far my students have come since September 2011 when I first taught them, and seeing how much they have grown as learners and supporters of one another. As an educator it is also often easy to loose sight of the “wins” we experience each day and week, even though they are there. So I ask you; what is your “win” this week?
Ms. Kolshuk's Blog
Welcome to my blog where I post about my teaching practice, ideas, findings and discuss topics of an educational nature. Please feel free to comment and/or email with any topic suggestions.