Just a few weeks ago, we received our 1st ESO students at school and, as always, we realised that there is a wide range of English levels in each class. On the one hand, there are the boys and girls who like English and are really good at it and, on the other, there are those who do not care much about a foreign language and, therefore, find it hard to keep up with the normal rhythm of the class.
What can be done to cater for such a great diversity of learning paces? This is something teachers find hard to cope with, especially when the ratio is constantly increasing and less and less resources are invested in education.
There is also an issue which is increasingly being debated in schools, which is the use of smart phones. While all teachers seem to agree with the fact of using mobile phones for learning purposes, only a minority of them make students use them in class. There are teachers who are still at that point in which they would prohibit kids from bringing their smart phones to school not being conscious that they are saying so while texting or looking at their own phone.
Personally, I think the school cannot ignore the use of a device that is already part of our lives. Instead of building walls to prevent modern devices to enter school, why don´t we side with technology and teach students to make the best use of it?
Thus, this school year I am going to take up a new strategy in order to cater for diversity and avoid my early finisher students from waiting endlessly for slower students to finish or for me to provide them with new exercises. With this objective in mind, I have designed a set of "Task Cards" related to three skills (reading, listening and grammar), which they will be able to use on their own (thus enhancing their autonomous learning strategies).
Students will be able to use their smart phones to scan a QR Code which will lead them to an online activity. Students will be able to do the exercise on their phones and get the mask as soon as it is finished. The "Task Cards" are arranged in a card case and classified according to type of skill and level of difficulty.
In order to keep trace of their progress, students are provided with a passport where they will write the level of difficulty, the number of activity and finally the mark they get. They can have a second try after some time and try to improve their mark. At theend of the term, the teacher can raise the students´ mark according to the quantity and quality of the activities they have done.