Bums on seats and sandwich fillers

It’s the end of term and people are tired and a bit fed up, me included. Thus, it’s no surprise that the last lessons are a bit more fun than usual. As most of these have been late and the only classes in the building and because the materials are a bit ‘thin’ I let a class out a  bit early, only 5 minutes. But then today I finished 10 minutes early.

In my defence, I had finished everything so don’t pelt me with rotten GM tomatoes, please!

This got me thinking as I recall a teacher in one place who had my advanced advanced class for a listening lab (yes, I remember them, the days when I felt like a DJ or Smashy and Nicey and used to ‘drop into’ pair chats.How I miss that power). Well, she would give them tasks, listening material and leave them to it. When they have finished they would check the answers with her book and leave. This was way back in 2001 but definitely smelled of self-monitored learning and was more like the ‘work and relax’ idea found in some companies. As co-ordinator I used to keep my eye/ear on all the courses and feedback was generally positive. I’m sure it was even more positive though after her boyfriend turned up and proposed in the class and everyone thought it was her student.

Yes, positive, they liked being empowered and the teacher said:

1)They’re not babies.

2)They all work at different speeds.

3)Some of them really need a lot more time but it’s not fair the hold the advanced ones back.

4)I don’t see any use filling out the lesson.

And so this has me thinking that I should introduce more self-directed/autonomous learning (I’ve been doing it this week but they get ‘rabbit in the headlights’ attacks), maybe I can and should let them leave when we’ve/they’ve finished and that fillers and lesson padders are just detrimental to everyone.

Of course, it doesn’t look good if you finish very early, I’ve even seen directors keep track of what time teachers let students out. But I’ve also been told by others to actually let students out early as they need to join a long line for lunch or just because the cleaners are outside and want to clean and get off home.

For whatever reason, dragging things out and adding fillers may just be pointless but would a boss agree?

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