Saturday, February 25, 2012
Week 7 - Procrastination
Photo on Flickr by Andy Heather
I love travelling, but I hate packing. I always panic that I will forget something. So I procrastinate.
I did the same when I was a student and when I needed to write longer academic papers. I would sit down to write the first draft, then end up writing poetry on the margin. Or drawing candlesticks.
I am no different now while I am trying to get onto paper the results of my project. What I am doing reminds me of one of my favourite YouTube clips:
Don't get me wrong, my report doesn't look like that empty suitcase up there. There are things in it. But it isn't exactly finished.
All this got me thinking about procrastination. Do we know why we really procrastinate? People don't miss their flights because they procrastinated while packing and Lev Yilmaz obviously "got his stuff done". This great video is the result of his procrastination.
Maybe we need to procrastinate in order to think things through. Maybe we just need to sleep on our ideas or get some physical exercise and things will click into place.
While writing the first draft of my project, I realized that I hadn't been doing too bad with the forum. I kept it going during the four week holiday between terms. During those four weeks, I kept the students reading, listening and writing. Otherwise they would have done nothing about their English. The group was small and they didn't participate equally, but those who did show improvement in their writing. I created a questionnaire for them using Survey Monkey and the initial feedback is positive. Classes start on Monday. Four out of five of my old students have enrolled and I will have two new ones. Let's see how the forum copes with these changes. I am also eager to find out whether the one student who didn't participate because he was "too busy" at least read the assignments.
This week was very interesting in Webskills. I like the idea of having one computer in the classroom. I haven't got any computers in my classroom at the moment, but with up to twelve students, I would be really happy with just one. I am not sure I am ready for a computer lab. Somehow I believe I wouldn't like them to stare at their screens instead of talking to each other and to me. If I had a computer lab, I would probably put in extra effort to learn how to use it creatively. But right now I would be happy with a single computer.
Another thing we discussed this week is learner autonomy, a topic very dear to me, as it is connected to learner motivation:
Creating autonomous learners might be just an ideal, but giving them tools to become more autonomous is quite achievable. Having one computer in the classroom as a reference tool can be the first step. Students could walk over to the computer every time they need to look up a new word or find something out. Giving them creative "homework" is another thing we can do. Technology can help us there as well.