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The Minimalist Teacher

2018/06/04

We all know that, as teachers, being over-prepared has its merits. Making extra copies and materials for classes; planning and preparing a plan B and C for lessons; anticipating problems and preparing for them; getting in early and discussing the day's lessons with each respective teacher. We shall not go astray from this 'good teacher' mantra.

 

However, why not try taking it in a different direction and go into the class with nothing, albeit the bare minimum - chalk and board for teachers, pencils and papers for students, and a well-prepared mind full of games and activity ideas that utilize the target language.

 

Many have probably experienced happenings in the class where there was no choice but to think on the spot for a game or activity. It happens more than we'd like, but hopefully being the over-prepared teacher that we are, there should not have been too many problems when those situations presented themselves...

 

So, an audio CD or MP3 player was prepared with songs/dialogues... the class had no audio playing devices or the one which had collected dust did not operate.

 

So, there was this really exciting game in mind for the day's target language where students could handle the flashcards... said materials were left in your other bag, or you left them all the way downstairs in the teachers' room.

 

So, there was a bit of time left over, let's go over some repeat after me from the textbook... oh, the students had a sudden change in their schedule the afternoon before, so they did not bring their textbooks, or workbooks, or notebooks for English.

 

See the pattern here? Even if there was that plan B or C in the lesson plan, there was a possibility of needing a plan D and/or E.

 

There is one more type of preparedness to add to your over-prepared lifestyle as a teacher - being able to teach with the bare minimum. Check the second paragraph again. Chalk and board is a minimum for any classroom, and students should at least have their pencil cases... so that leaves us with paper for the students only, which can be easily remedied by making a habit of taking a pile of scratch paper before you go to class each time (there is always a pile near the printer or copy machine).

 

It would be challenging at first, but by taking up this different approach to teaching, untapped teaching skills and techniques might be discovered, or whatever teaching skills and techniques you already have might be honed. Give it a go, or at least keep the ideas in your mind should the need arise someday.

 

*Bonus: For an even bigger challenge, take the bare minimum to the extreme - no chalk, board, pencils, and paper. All games and activities will be communicative only!

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