Teaching paperless 7 of 7 (putting it all together)


So, here’s what I think at the end of this week, after all the reading and experimentation.

Why aren’t we all teaching paperless?

Not because English language teachers are a bunch of luddites (who love their cutesy stationery).

  1. Paper gives us convenience and safety.
  2. Paper helps us look good in front of our customers.
  3. And, last but not least, paper helps our learners to learn.

So, if we want to go paperless, we need to stop and think for a bit.

For example, for (1), we need to consider the disadvantages of paper: it’s difficult to carry around, it gets lost, you can’t find things quickly. Perhaps the convenience of paperless techniques is even greater than that of paper?  As for safety, if we have a good range of techniques to revisit and re-use coursebook materials, we’ll never run out of things to do in the classroom and won’t have to make all those extra copies.

About looking good (2): if we fear that customers won’t appreciate stingy-looking nameplates and reused copies, we can get organisational support (e.g. nameplates could have marketing information and shared with the student once they sign up – then they won’t be tempted to throw them away after each lesson) and the support of the customers! Being environmentally friendly is kind of cool, isn’t it?

And, finally, (3): not all tech provides enough depth and concentration. So, we need to know which apps are really worth it – or use non-tech solutions. Visual support is nice, but alternative approaches create ‘desirable difficulties’ and may give even more opportunities for learning. (And then there are things like story cubes and board games…)

Well, a paperless week is an exciting constraint that makes one think of all kinds of creative solutions, but it doesn’t mean we have to go off paper once and for all! What I’m going to do now is just try to use this resource in a more principled way – and see where this road takes me.

One thought on “Teaching paperless 7 of 7 (putting it all together)

  1. Pingback: Name plates revisited | Kate's Crate

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