Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Guessing

First, a little background...

A lot of EFL students have few chances to actually ask questions in class.  Teachers are usually the ones who ask questions (which is not just a EFL problem, but whatever...).

So, anyways, I like to have a guessing game in class every once in a while to encourage the production of actual questions.  Normally, questions come across as "Teacher happy?"

The basic format of the guessing game is quite easy.  I have a picture hidden on a PPT slide.  I know what the picture is, while students don't.  They can ask any question they want (though, if they ask "how do you spell it?", I tell them I don't remember.  And, if they ask "what is it?", I answer "it is not a smart ass" :(...).  I answer the question and the first team that can say the phrase, "It is _____", gets a point.

Now that the background is out of the way...during one particular game, the teams were really competitive.  Each and every question was really important.

Here is how one question went...

Student 1:  "What color is it?"

Me:  "It's white."

Student 2:  "What shape is it?"

Me:  "Sometimes, it is a circle.  Sometimes, it is a crescent shape."  (My co-teacher explained that one in Korean.)

Student:  "Where can you see it?"

Me:  "It's in space."

Now, nearly everyone in the room knew what the answer was.  Before getting to the answer, though, I should say two more rules for all of my classes.  I keep a checklist of everyone who has spoken meaningfully (given an answer or asked a good question).  And, any student that has not spoken can raise their hand and I will always call on them first (I call them "new face" in class).  New faces can be a powerful weapon in a close game.  And, since the "new faces" are generally low level students, I always let the other students in the class feed answers to anyone on their team (or on another team if they want or they are too stupid to keep their mouth shut).

Nearly every student in class:  "Moon!"

As always, I scan the room to look for new faces.

So, a really quiet low-level new face on Team 1 is wearing a big grin.  His hand pops up.  He is the last new face for his team.

The nine other students on his team:  "Moon!  Moon!  Moon!"

The boy puffs up his chest.  He is ready to hit his homerun.

New face (big smile):  "Door!"

Me (mentally):  "Doh!"

Team 1: *groan*

"Moon" (문) just happens to be the word for door in Korean.

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