"What a bother!"
"I hate it!"
"I don't wanna do this again!"
"Do we have to do this?"
No "F" words are allowed in the classroom but basically they screamed all sorts of style of complaining. These are real voices of several of 5th graders, who have been learning English as a mean of communication from as early as the age of 3, about one of the typical workbooks based on school textbooks, containing heaps of translations and filling gaps tasks.
The controversial workbook has been one of the main textbook to use at the school for nearly 5 years. One of the "senior" teacher recommended it and have been the main material to use for intermediate level of students. Most of them can read the starter level of GR without any problems but the workbooks were provided in order to have them ready for Jr. High school.
"Excuse me?" is my first reaction.
Why do we bother to kill such a wonderful tendency of them to prefer reading/ stories in the target language than solving the puzzles with bunch of meaningless words printed along with L1. Some teachers asserted that grammar-translation skill is what they are required at school and thus what they need.
"Excuse me?" is what I reacted to that comment.
Then what in the world is the point of learning the target language as a mean of communication for such a long long time, sacrificing their precious time to play around with their friends? Their parents pay big amount of tuition for merely getting higher level in Step test? Besides how come can they assert that the workbook provides sufficient tasks that the children need in order to be excellent at English at school? How about their motivation? How about their preference? How about their learning style?
As soon as they whinged away and got things done, I showed a supposedly funny and short reading passage with comprehension questions, they got a little more lively but they said they prefer interesting storybooks to read. I thought they might find the short story funny and interesting but it didn't appeal to them as much as I thought. Next week, I would take some storybooks that my daughter recommended to the class.
I've got to come up with creative ways to use the workbook because it is one of the requirements in the class at the school. This is one of the most challenging tasks I must deal with.