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Any time, any lesson

Ages 11 to 16

I teach modern languages but this works for any subject. "Beat the teacher"

is what I call it, although it's always good to indicate from the outset that no sticks are used.

The basic principle of this starter or plenary is to get the students to try to find facts that you don't know. In my case I like to get them to find words or phrases from their text books that they think I will not know.

Occasionally, if I'm feeling really brave (or stupid), I let them use words from the dictionary. You have to make sure that you rule out swearwords and they must always look in the foreign language section for the words and give them to you in the target language for you to translate into English.

Often you will know the words, but even if you do not you can guess the root or simply admit defeat. Surprisingly, they remember most words. I write all of the words on the board, keep a score of students versus teacher games and everyone loves trying to beat me.

The students were trailing 4-3 at the last count.

For other subjects, get them to look in their textbooks for examples, formulae and dates. The more they hear them, the more they unwittingly learn

Andrew Bruton is a cover teacher for Herefordshire county council

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