Following on from my earlier reflections on the importance of adult literacy, I would like to draw your attention to a project taking place in Northern Uganda teaching women to read. While in France and New Zealand we have adult literacy rates of 99%, Uganda has only 73% with women being highly over-represented in this statistic. Owing to conflict, these women were not given the opportunity to learn to read as children. You can find out more here.
Larry Ferlazzo has blogged on a study, which found that people were unlikely to donate to a charity for a second time if the said charity threw in a sweetener for their first donation. The post can be found here.
I think that this behavior is definitely reflected in the classroom. Once last year I gave away a tote-bag as a prize, and during my CELTA, I tested a little bit of bribery with a chocolate fish. Both of these lessons worked just fine, and the students were very motivated. Although the tote-bag lesson was a one-off, I had the interesting experience of sitting in on some lessons with the class that had been competing for the chocolate fish. They were disappointed with other teachers that weren’t offering prizes, and were even more disappointed when I arrived the next day to teach them empty-handed.
So, in my experience, bringing one chocolate fish to class means setting a precedent, and making a commitment to bringing one every lesson from then on. It would be interesting to hear if any other teachers have had any different experiences.
I invite you to sign up to my next free online taster class on edufire (tomorrow at 2:30pm French time). We’ll be talking about holidays, revising holiday vocabulary and practising the past simple.