Thursday, 14 June 2012

We Are All Part of The Puzzle!

Students generally cringe before the thought of tests and an eventual failure. My students are not different. Last week, my group of adult learners was saying farewell to the first term of their intermediate course, but not before sitting two exams. The pre-test tension is quite interesting because it seems to trigger so many feelings and reflective moments. As a consequence, anything becomes a topic for discussion and group chats. Yesterday, I welcomed them into their second term and felt the need to do my own share of reflection. Having said that, I must say we had a pretty good start, with new students in the class and we went on talking about lots of current affairs including RIO +20. Towards the end of the lesson I decided to give them my personal ‘let´s move on’ pep talk, and that's what I would like to share with you today.

First I showed them a video featuring Jonatas Penna also known as Mistery Guitar Man.

This is a video of an elaborate project mixing mobile devices, animation, music, collaboration, hard work and above all persistence.

After they had seen the video I asked them the following questions:
1- What did you think of it?
2- Was it an easy thing to do?
3- Was that Mistery Guitar Man´s first trial? Which take was it? (this is mentioned in the beginning of the video)
4- How many people were involved in the project? How well had they worked together?

Ok, where is the pep talk? The pep talk followed as they fed me the answers. I mentioned that their learning journey was very similar to that video. The process is like a puzzle, and as in any puzzle, all the pieces must go together.

I am part of that puzzle.As their teacher, I will be the one who will conduct them through this journey. However, I cannot conduct alone and we will take turns once in a while, and they will eventually take the lead. Individually, they play a central role in the puzzle, because their effort will translate into success. Their classmates have equally important roles, since they will be the ones they will be partnering up with in the many activities we have ahead of us. We went on talking about the many other pieces of the puzzle and I could see they were putting some thought into the matter and coming up with wonderful twists to the discussion.
Finally, I told them that the result would be a beautiful and successful journey and I had nothing but good, positive thoughts for this semester. They seemed happy and so was I.
I am looking forward to this extraordinary adventure in language learning with them, and I ask you: which part of the puzzle are you?

This could be done as a first day activity, or at any time your students need a dose of incentive. Don´t forget to share your impressions and suggestions,I´d love to hear what you have to say.


  1. Your students are very fortunate to have such a creative and reflective teacher. I enjoyed your post and how you clearly explained the steps of your lesson. Thanks!

  2. Thank you, Mark. I consider myself very lucky for being in the best profession in the world. Being able to share and learn so much in such a diverse environment is pure bliss. Please, feel free to suggest themes and even write as a guest blogger.=) Things have been kind of hectic but I intend to blog more frequently =) Cheers!

  3. They said experience is the best teacher, but one thing what I have learn was, without the support of the people around you, experience will be nothing. Giselle you have been very supportive with your students. They’re very lucky..

  4. Their classmates have equally important roles, since they will be the ones they will be partnering up with in the many activities we have ahead of us.

  5. I initiate this editorial very useful! Keep sharing.

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  7. Nice post. Original idea. Thanks for posting.

  8. i love the idea of using this video as a metaphor. It's also pretty cool!