We have arrived or are about to do it, to that dreadful part of the year for teachers, the final term, the final stretch of the year. It is when we have more issues to resolve, more papers and exams to grade, more students to spur on, more parents to appease, more projects to put the cap on, more school authorities to respond to, just to name a few. In sum, more work and stress. The idea that the weight of the school year has been accumulating over us for months is decidedly a forbidden thought. We just have to bite the bullet and head for the finish line.
Some teachers find that the time has flashed faster than they expected and they start sprinting in order to finish covering the program. In the present situation this was particularly critic, since many teachers found out that after two years of pandemic, their students were completely out of step.
Unfortunately, there is more pressure from school authorities and the students’ parents towards teachers completing the program and going over the whole textbook, than producing real knowledge. This is always true, but it applies particularly now in the circumstances that we are living, coming out of that terrible situation of uncertain learning, to put it mildly. Remember that the goal is not to close out programs but to achieve learning.
Mathematics and languages are courses in which you have to learn in sequence. You cannot reach step five without hitting two, three and four. Let us examine another course, geography for instance. Even if your knowledge of a country or region is not up to par, you can take advantage of the following lesson about a different territory. Something similar would happen in zoology or anatomy. And it is likewise in many subjects, but not in the ones mentioned first.
It is for this reason that English textbooks may seem too repetitive. They present a subject, exercises, etc. and then go on to a new topic. And a few pages later they go back to what they had left previously. And it is very common that before the end of the book they offer a general review.
The importance of consolidation cannot be overstated in teaching a tongue. It is not enough to make your students familiar with it, but to use it in a spontaneous and natural way. It should flow out of their mouths Because that is the way how a language is used.
Nobody knows better the comprehension of your pupils than yourself. You must be honest and not to kid yourself or anybody else. There is no use in completing a program for the record if our students have not acquired the use of language that we intended; we would be selling smoke to them and their parents. School authorities should be aware of this, particularly, like it was said before, under the present circumstances. It is much better to stand firm on step two or three than shakily and likely to fall from step four. Whatever they know they must know it well.