The English teacher was enacting a story, from a script held in his hands, even before the students arrived. He seemed to be rehearsing for a play. As the students came into the room they were each given their own piece of paper with three words written on it.
Some of the words were the classic mistakes
your / you're,
there / their.
Other homonyms included
aloud / allowed,
ate / eight,
bare / bear
The language point being offered was that some words sound almost the same when spoken aloud, and the only way to know which word is being used is to listen to the context of what is being said.
The teacher’s story ended and he started again from the beginning, including some gestures which suggested that the students who were present were to look at their pieces of paper. Some students made the connection, and their understanding of what to do (match the written words with the spoken words) spread around the class.
As the last students arrived, the teacher embarked on a third rendition of the story, with more deliberateness and small pauses after the selected words whilst the teacher made eye contact with the students who thought he had just said ‘their’ word.
At this point the teacher moved into the next section of his lesson and used the homonyms from the story more directly.
Apart from the clever use of story-telling, what else do you notice is going on in that classroom?
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Teacher, facilitator and coach; Martin Richards trains educators to use a coaching approach all the work they do.