Last week it was time for doing the germination in the laboratory, as we do every year when we start our project on plants and, as THE DAY was getting closer, I started thinking: "Oh!, this will be hard and absolutely stressing for me. Working in the lab all alone with 23 noisy kids won't be fun!!!! I do not feel like doing it!!" Despite the fact that I enjoy this type of activities very much, this group in particular is very noisy. The boys are quite naughty and they find it really hard to work quietly and follow instructions when they are really excited about something (and, of course, they were veeeeeeeeeery excited about their first experiment in the lab).
Fortunately, an idea came to mind. "Why don’t I ask some former students to come to the lab with me? They can explain the experiments to the "little" ones and also help them do it." And guess what?....The activity was an absolute success!!! On the one hand, the elder children had the opportunity to help others and to use the language in a meaningful context (they were “the experts”) and, on the other hand, the younger ones loved working with the elder students, who were there to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with them. I was great to see how the third formers looked up to the girls and boys from fourth. Moreover, I was there just to monitor and help, which implied that, for this activity, the teacher was not the one in charge of doing the teaching!!, A group of children was teaching other children through a hands-on experience in the lab, which they were enjoying a lot!!
This situation bacame food for thought. I started reflecting upon the fact that there are many opportunities throughout the year in which I could repeat this valuable type of activity, which turned to be motivating, appealing and which had an absolutely positive effect on both groups of students. From now on, I will try to lay ground for this type of learning and teaching to take place whenever it is possible.