An Unforgettable Teaching Technique

Dipendra Kanu

There are so many memorable moments of teaching English language, be it at English language institute or higher secondary school or college. I’d like to share with you what I find to be one of my most effective moments of teaching, which is teaching a story in grade twelve. 

As I was planning to teach students the story ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ by Edgar Allan Poe for grade XII, I was thinking of presenting a quite new idea in a different way from previous times. But I was quite confused and worried about how to teach the story effectively since I was unable to teach the same last time as effectively as I had expected.  I had not spent a great deal of time and I had prepared the lesson in a complete rush. As a result, I could not teach satisfactorily at the first attempt. However, there was a feeling of dissatisfaction in me as the students were not able to comprehend the texts properly as per my expectation.  

In the evening while I was sitting on computer with internet thinking of the next day’s lesson, an idea of searching some teaching materials struck my mind. When I tried it on Google, I found thousands of useful links there but they were of no help for me. Then I did it on YouTube where I came across a very satisfactory video clip uploaded by The Film and TV Channel on Sept. 21, 2009 and its duration was only 10 minutes. No sooner had I downloaded the clip than I watched it for three to four times to satisfy myself and then made a plan to show it to students on my laptop.

Then I took to Googling again till I found another useful file containing the story in pdf version. I printed the story on some pages albeit the course book already contained the story. The only difference was—the pictures in the story which the book does not have. Similarly, I also found some useful links for its audio clips this and also this in mp3 format. First I downloaded them on my computer and then on my mobile phone set.

The next day, I went to the class fully prepared with the audio clips on my mobile phone and video clip on my laptop and the printed papers of the story with attractive pictures. I had given the class a short notice about some video clips on my laptop the day before. The desire to watch the video motivated all the students present in the class that day with much enthusiasm and curiosity.

First I asked them to be attentive in the class and listen to what I was going to play on my mobile set. I played it for 13 minutes and 28 seconds but some of them hardly understood the sound properly since it was the native tongue. Next, it was the time to show the video on the laptop. The students were quiet to watch the short clip. They tried their level best to understand what was going on. After they listened to and watched the clips, I explained the story to them. It was much easier for them to understand it in a quite interesting way. Finally, I presented its summary with the help of printed sheets of papers containing the pictures accompanying to the story. And I asked them to get them photocopied if they wanted.

As luck would have it, it was the last period and I took advantage of this and engaged them for more time than usual. This time my students were able to comprehend the story as expected. It took me around an hour to finish it. This was the most successful, effective and satisfying lesson that I have ever taught in my teaching career. 

Let me conclude this short blog entry with the message—if we really try to explore the resources around us, they can be useful and powerful tool for our classroom activities and teaching something with audio-visual aids will have large effect on the learners. If you are going to teach the story ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ in grade XII in your class, you can use the hyperlinked resources I have mentioned above to make your teaching effective and feel the success.

About the Author:

Mr. Kanu has been teaching English for more than a decade. Currently he is involved in Popular English Language Institute, Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, Birguj Commerce Campus and Kadambari Academy in Birgunj. Besides, he is a journalist associated with Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) Parsa Chapter and the publisher/editor of The Young Guys, English Weekly Publishing from Birgunj.

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2 Responses to An Unforgettable Teaching Technique

  1. Technology is getting cheaper these days (thank you China).

    A pen-drive.
    A portable mp3 player, loud enough for a classroom of 30 students. Internet.

    Even if the schools don’t provide them, we can buy them on our own and use them in the classroom. It’s time to incorporate technology with our conventional pedagogy.

    [The title and the first paragraph of this post gave me a minor tick. I can’t explain but there’s something that is not in tune with the pragmatics of what we’ve agreed on :)]

    • Shyam Sharma says:

      I found the title “interesting” as well. In fact, I thought about possible alternatives for the word “unforgettable” when I first read the title, but when I went on to read the essay, the way the author has presented his own teaching tip by “praising” it made me unable to come up with a replacement for the word. However, as a teacher of writing, I know that this is a natural indication of the writer’s process of gaining some command over the genre and discourse. Frankly, the genre of “teaching tips” and even the discourse about teaching don’t come naturally to many of us as we grow as teacher-scholars. I remember the first (or at least one of the early) “scholarly” publications of mine (an appeal to value established methods over cool new techniques/technologies–odd, huh?–in NELTA Journal around ’97). Now, reading that one makes my neck instantly collapse. This blog entry is brilliant in comparison. 🙂

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