JIC Moments (Just in Case)

On Tuesday, 8 upper class International Course students volunteered to teach 8 lower level first year students.  It was our fourth student-peer-teaching class and I was walking around the room listening in on the conversations, you know, just in case.  I hadn’t really thought about what a “just in case” moment would look like.  But I figured I would know it if I saw it, and if it seemed appropriate, I would jump in and help out with some advice and get things back on track.  Because, as a teacher, I’m a get things back-on-track kind of guy.  I was lucky enough to catch the following exchange between A-Kun, a third year student, and TS, a first year student:

A-Kun (points to word in course book): Can you read this word?
TS (tries to sound out word, shakes head): No.
A-Kun: It’s sculpture. (slides finger along word) S-c-u-l-p-t-u-r-e.
TS: Unnn.
A-Kun: It means “Choukoku” in Japanese. 
TS: Oh.
A-Kun: Does the word “Choukoku” really mean anything to you?
TS: (silence)
A-Kun: It doesn’t, does it?
TS: (shakes head no)
A-Kun: Yeah, when I read this chapter, the word “Choukoku” didn’t mean anything to me either.  So trying to remember that sculpture means “Choukoku” isn’t going to be very useful.
TS: (kind of laughs)
A-Kun: But look at these. (points to a bunch of pictures of sculptures at the bottom of the textbook page)  Don’t worry about the Japanese word.  Just remember your favorite image out of these pictures and that can be what a “sculpture” is for you.   

After the class was over I sat down with A-Kun and asked him if he had ever thought about being a teacher.  He said he had, but that he would rather work for an airlines as what he really wanted to work in travel.  He thought working at a job which was basically helping people get to somewhere else they needed or wanted to go was almost as good as traveling himself.  Lucky for whatever airlines gives A-Kun a job.  But I’m pretty sure he would have made one fantastic teacher.  He showed me how to make use of a C-class course book which I had long ago decided was useless.  I definitely need to have many more of these “just in case moments.”  You know, the “Just-in-case-I’m-thinking-about-forgetting-that-one-of-my-roles-as-teacher-is-to-be-the-most-active-learner-in-the-room moments.”   

2 thoughts on “JIC Moments (Just in Case)

  1. Hi Kathy,Thanks for the feedback. And I agree with you. J-Kun is a natural teacher and I'm sure that whatever he ends up doing in the future, it will involve helping the people around him. And for anyone who happens to catch this comment, please make sure to check out Kathy's great Free Range ELT blog at: http://freerangekef.blogspot.jp/


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