GCSE English Revision Student Wish List: Give them what they want, or what they need?

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I did a loose survey today enquiring after the learning preferences of one of my GCSE English classes due to embark on revision for their summer exam, starting next week. I asked them what kind of tasks and activities they loved and liked a lot, what types of lessons they really hated, how we could remain motivated and what changes we could make to lessons to make them really interesting and engaging.

I gave a few examples (big mistake!). For instance, I said, ‘So if you like word searches, you could write that down on your list’. Cue students, who could think of nothing else, writing ‘word searches’ on their list. Doh!

Anyway, here’s what they said (italics mine):

Student 1: I like group tasks to reach some sort of goal. I prefer to work with a friend because I feel more confident and comfortable with my ideas and work [I think a sport’s student wrote that].

Student 2: The tasks I love doing include group discussion and word searches, crosswords, kriss crosses [I don’t know what that is!], and watching DVDs. I hate reading [therein a big problem!?] books and writing really long stories. Make GCSE English interesting by doing fun activities and plenty of time to do our own research and revision methods that we like to do [not what you might need then? Just what you like to do? Oh, I see]. We will remain motivate by not sitting for an hour and a half x 2 by going down to the library or the learning centre or something [ok, deal].

Student 3: I like doing posters. I don’t like doing lots of writing [she’s not going to like many revision tasks then, oh dear!].

Student 4: I love watching the videos and having full group discussions about a topic. I enjoy crosswords and word searches. The worst kind of lesson is when there’s loads of writing and just listening. Doing challenges related to English would be a fun way to learn. To keep motivated make the lessons more engaging [yeah….]. In future lessons group discussions, activities and videos [lets hope there’s enough on YouTube for her to last until June then!].

Student 5: Tasks and activities like to happen: word searches, crosswords. Worst kind of lesson: group discussion [ooops, big clash with some student preferences then – differentiation in the making… option of sitting alone doing something else while rest of class is discussing?]. How can we remain motivated: Don’t know. Cannot think of any real changes that need to be made.

Student 6: What tasks do you love? Group discussion and group acitivities. What kind of activities do you love? Posters, physical activities [ok, thinking of how I can get them orienteering hunting for QR code clues round college maybe]. What is the worst kind of lesson? No talking [yeah, shame that the exam will be no talking,eh?]. How can we make English GCSE revision really engaging and interesting? Have informative information that is interesting by includes talking with others [note to self: must make information more informative, love it when information is more informative].

Student 7: Watching clips, doing activities that aren’t all writing. Storyboards, posters, mindmaps. Not too much writing in silence, do a different variety of activities [also loving different variety]. Do different thing each week (not stay on the same topic for ages).

Student 8: Good: Cheeky wordsearch every now and again. Minimal writing. Music. Bad: Seating plans [liking his humour. Will have to define ‘cheeky’].

Student 9: Activities I love: posters, group work, role play, presentations, creative lessons what I can be involved in a lot more. Lessons I hate: copying off board, sat listening to teacher for agers, writing lots and lots for agers. I want the lessons I love to be the lesson’s I come to on a Wednesday so I enjoy them [need to teach them what tautology is, and also how to spell ‘ages’ and about not creating plurals with an apostrophe!].

Student 10: What tasks do you love? Word searches. What activities do you love? Group work, making posters. What is the worst kind of lesson? Copying PowerPoints. Making revision interesting and engaging: videos [bringing on the videos… shame about all the past exam papers I’ve ordered to be printed off via repro… muahahahaha, evil laugh].

Now for me to integrate student wish list items into what they actually need: lots of SPAG and writing in timed exam conditions. Will they love or hate me? To be continued!

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