Before I entered the classroom, I was slightly nervous. I thought this class wouldn’t work well with a large class of moody teenagers! I thought that it might be more appropriate for students in primary school. However, I put my apprehension aside, took a deep breath, and started playing the song ready for the kids to come into the classroom. To my astonishment, the students came in with big grins and slight confusion, as I had moved all the chairs and tables to one side, and so my lesson begun.
The lesson worked fantastically. I didn’t believe I could pull something like this off, but it worked. All of my class, except two students, fully participated. The boys acted very silly, the girls began to relax as a result, and most importantly, I acted the silliest. I launched into it and really gave it some oomph to sell that what we were doing was “cool” and that if I could allow myself to look silly, so could my students.
The lesson proved to be very successful in achieving its aims: in the plenary, students were all able to tell me the word ending that corresponded with the correct person and number. When the students left the class they all had great big smiles and enjoyed themselves, which made the hour of embarrassment entirely worthwhile. I will definitely be using TPR as an approach in the future, as it can be exceptionally useful to motivate the students who prefer to learn in a more kinaesthetic environment.
On a final note, I would just like to say that for any teacher who is inexperienced or mature, it is most definitely worth investing the time to think of something a little bit “out there”, because not only your students, but you yourself will find it useful in your own development. Think about how Latin can also take students out of their own comfort zone. I learned to have fun, smile, and let the students know that the teacher can have just as much fun as the learner.
Written by Callum Carroll, 21 March 2014