English speed dating

14th October 2005 at 01:00
Inspired by a poetry speed-dating event I saw advertised, I have created "essay (courseworkcreative writing etc) speed-dating". Half the class remain in their places during the lesson. The other half moves around at five-minute intervals. During the five minutes, each pair of children reads each other a paragraph from their essay. Each must then make one positive point and one piece of constructive criticism about the other's work. When the five minutes is up, the group moves on. With the new partner, each child reads a different part of the essay, so that by the end of the lesson they will have a series of different viewpoints on all the different parts of their essay. This can also help to diffuse good writing technique around the class, as weaker pupils can see examples of more advanced essay skills. It gets the stronger ones actively thinking about dissecting their own writing in order to improve. Plus "speed-dating" in English lessons has a certain risque vibe!

Victoria Elliott

English Teacher, Harrogate Grammar School

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