Yet another week passed, I learnt some new things related to Blended Learning (mostly about learning environment and experience) but I also decided to give it a go and experiment with a model that seems to be the best suited to my work environment (a private language school). I think it went pretty well as the first time and we still feel like experimenting with the Station Rotation model. If you want to try, Here’s a short sketch of the 90 minutes lesson.
First of all I’d given a homework before: to read about the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Fortunately, most of them managed to do that, so I could briefly explain the goal of the lesson:
To obtain information re.: Dyatlov Pass Incident and make a panel discussion moderated by a group of students (group A) and presenting the version of the government (group B) and the version of conspiracy theories‘ followers (group C).
The stations are as follow:
1. A computer
2. A place for a free practice in a small group
3. A place for a practice with a teacher’s help
- 1-20 mins
Group A -> station 3 (I help the moderators with the idea of panel discussion and how to conduct it; we discuss the most important and controversial questions to be asked: radiation, missing tongue and eyes, the mysterious missing of the case files in 1990)
Group B -> station 2 (knowing that the official statement of Russian government tells us nothing, the group has to come up with the most probable version)
Group C -> station 1 (they collect the info focused on conspiracy theories)
- 20-40 mins
Group A -> station 1 (they gather vocabulary needed to ask questions)
Group B -> station 3 (the most difficult role is the one of this group, I help the students guess the issues that may be raised by the opposing team)
Group C -> station 2 (they come up with their line of explanation: aliens, military experiments etc.)
- 40-60 mins
Group A -> station 2 (they polish their questions)
Group B -> station 1 (they collect the info focused on conspiracy theories and decide how to explain them)
Group C -> station 3 (I help the students to focus on the most controversial issues)
- 60-85 mins
Students have a debate, the teacher is just a listener.
- 85-90 mins
Teacher sums up the debate, corrects some linguistic mistakes and gets the information from the students: have they liked the lesson, the debate, what should be changed…
… and who has actually won the debate?
In my case the students had dramatically little time to learn about the incident beforehand, hence some minor problems during the debate. Overall I believe the experiment went better than expected, students had fun and even though it’s been a couple of lessons we still discuss the incident and its controversies. Maybe someday we’ll repeat the debate?
Let me share some links you may find very useful in familiarizing with the incident. Please, be aware that some of them include drastic photos of the bodies found.
Finally you may assign homework – I went for writing (click! to see my homework and students’ responses) and it went really well.