Teaching paperless: 6 of 7 (personal experience)


For a practical treatment of the topic, here are all my work-related contexts this week. I’ve been trying to shave off a bit of paper here and there, and this is what I’ve managed to achieve:

1) Lower Secondaries:
A set coursebook and a notebook, so no need for too much photocopying. Still, because the book does not give enough treatment of the Past Simple vs Past Continuous, out comes the Timesaver Visual Grammar, and 14 copies… I suppose I could have put the extra handout on the interactive whiteboard, but then the lesson would have become too teacher-centred and they would have got bored or tired too quickly. So, we had pair discussions, drilling, writing, again speaking, all around the same sheet of paper.
We made posters last week which didn’t have much language on them, so I brought the posters back and the learners wrote more on them, and then evaluated each other’s ideas. So, 4 rounds of activities with the same sheets of paper – very ecological, and good for learning! I even took the posters to another group to encourage more discussions: round 5 🙂

Paperless: 70%, with quite a bit of recycling

2) Upper Secondaries:
A set coursebook (magazine) and a notebook. We’ve been using Edmodo, Quizlet, Padlet, the works – and yet when I handed out printed self-assessment sheets, they worked sooo much better than anything electronic! I definitely learn better on paper, perhaps it’s true for those younger people as well? Still, my paperless pursuits did not end there: since the new unit is about storytelling, out came Rory’s Story Cubes, and my digital natives didn’t even notice that the lesson had finished 🙂

I had a few new groups to cover this week, and I found myself making more copies than usual. It was because I couldn’t predict how fast the new learners work, and how engaged they would be, so I needed this extra padding for safety. A few role-playing games are still sitting in my envelopes, but I’ll have them for the next lessons.

Paperless: 50%, with props, but new groups complicate things

3) Adults:
Students get together just for this lesson, and there is no group. No coursebook, so I can’t go paperless: no copies means bad customer service, doesn’t it? Well, at the very least I halved the sheets of paper I give them to make name plates.

Paperless: 15% only, need institutional support for bigger changes

4) Teacher training:
Delta tutoring is great for electronic solutions: all forms are digital, and a tablet can type silently in a lesson obs. Win for the paperless 🙂 But – I had a teacher training session yesterday, and handed out one page. Could I have avoided the printing altogether? Probably, but I needed to have a memory aid for the practical task, and something tangible to take away.

Paperless: 80%, a bit of paper still necessary for learning

5) Writing and productivity:
I love all things digital, but I can’t think without paper. A course I’m writing – 2 printouts, countless sheets of notes. I went to a stationery shop and bought more pens, too! I’ve managed to keep my to-do lists on my phone this week though, and I’m writing this post on the screen too. That’s why it’s a bit too long 🙂

Paperless: 10%, guilty as charged

What about you?

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