Teaching speed dating

There’ve been ups and downs, yadda, yadda, but it’s been, overall, good. Here’s a short piece I wrote back in March about my favourite lesson.

This week, in the often frustrating battle to make my students speak English, I’ve been doing a speed dating exercise with my classes.

They talk for 3 minutes or so, using the questions they’ve written, then the women get up, find someone different and repeat the process.

This tends to go on until I’ve had a chance to listen to everyone talk, or at least until I realise they’re not bothering to use English anymore.

One of the most obvious is that boys and girls sit apart. But I still find myself referring to them as ‘boys’ and ‘girls’.If there was one girl who was a bit slower than the rest, I’d usually have to chivvy her towards the last free boy or she’d just stand around, too embarrassed to do anything herself. Maybe I only think it’s all a bit weird because I come from middle-class, suburban England.But it seems to be symptomatic of cultural gender roles that I’ve been brought up (or dragged up, as my parents prefer to say) to feel uncomfortable with.And it’s not just because a lot of them look so young.They seem to lack a huge amount of experience which their Western counterparts might take for granted.

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