♣My greatest challenge while teaching is to engage learners,
making the subject interesting and practical.
♦A training course in a classroom is slightly different from a
traditional workplace, in that in the classroom people don’t necessarily know
each other, so sometimes, communication hardly happens.
classroom people don’t always carry out tasks with confidence and the expertise
of their “shop floor” activities. In the classroom people often learn things
that they cannot relate to anything that they know, instead they do their best
to memorize ‘stuff’ that everyone else considers “significant”. But, depending
on the course and its level, this ‘stuff’ can grow and grow not only in size
but difficulty or complexity too. For some individuals it can turn into a daunting
experience, like pulling out a decayed tooth; it’s good once it is out but
until it happens, the experience is not one to look forward to’.
♠The idea of playing
cards is to ease any
discomfort and counteract any negative outcomes that could result from the
above. ‘Definition cards’ for subjects such as Food Safety or HACCP (from HIGHFIELD Qualifications) at different
levels appear to be quite a useful tool to meet the needs of the group and individuals.
♦Played at the beginning of the course, during the day, at the
end of the day/course or at home, the cards start engaging people in
conversation, cooperation, collaboration and even discussion. Played in pairs
(that would change with each round) they encourage people to get to know each
other, learn from each other as each person would have a slightly different set
of experiences and knowledge so they would be able to answer different
questions. People also realize that, actually, the content of what they are
going to learn is not completely new to them. Learners are often familiar with
parts of it from their work practice and while looking for matching answers
they would suddenly realize how much they already know, and what they don’t know.
Throughout the session/course they will discover ‘stuff’ for themselves and
close the knowledge gaps within individual contexts, at their own pace, with
another round of cards. The ‘card experience’ creates a more relaxed but
focussed atmosphere of learning where learners challenge themselves and utilize
each other’s knowledge and skills to move ahead.
♣By the time learners get to their exam, they are confident
with the new learning that actually fits well within their existing system of knowledge
What can be
better than learning something that makes sense?
It works in
our classroom and our learners, perhaps it is worth giving it a go?
To find out
more about the theories used in this article, have a look at the following
& Yates, G. (2014) Visible Learning and the Science of How We
Learn. London: Routledge. Petty, G. (2014) Teaching Today. 5thedition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.