First, as the set induction, I will ask the students to list down what they like and dislike about their school. What they like could be their friends, the teachers, the canteen food, etc. What they dislike can be the toilets, the prefects, the exams.
Next, students read other people's ideas of their dream school. I've compiled several excerpts in an A4 paper and gave each group a copy of it.
Oh, I forgot to mention that this is a group work with 'speaking' as its focused skill. Ideally, 1 group should have 4-5 members.
After getting a few volunteers to read the handout, students get to start their group work. They have to create their dream school and
1) give it a name (e.g. Macquarie High)
2) draw their school's crest
3) list down the facilities available in their school
4) list down the subjects taught in their school (e.g. shuffle 101, fashion design, firearm training, etc)
5) draw/specify their school's uniform
6) draw a layout of their school
The students will be very excited during the discussion phase. So, you have to constantly remind them to conduct their discussion in English.
The students are capable of coming up with some very fantastic ideas. I wish I had a scanner so that I can share the students' work+drawings.
Usually, the students want a school which has:
-an Olympic-size swimming pool
-a magnificent auditorium for performing arts
-lifts and escalators
Conducting the lesson has made me think of my own version of a dream school. What I have in mind is far less fantastical than what my students have mooted. But I would be absolutely delighted if these humble wishes are to be met:
My Dream School:
- is a single session school. The current arrangement puts the afternoon students at a disadvantage.The time and weather are just not conducive for learning.
- has a maximum of 26 students in a class. The small number of students in a class will enable the teachers to give more personalised instructions to the students. If this is not possible, at least provide the teacher with a small, portable microphone. Making your voice heard over the noise of 40+ chatty schoolchildren is no mean feat. Alternatively, provide the teacher with an aide/teacher assistant to help him/her control the class.
- has an interactive whiteboard in each class. Or, an LCD projector. Last resort: OHP projector pun boleh la.
- has wireless internet in the whole school. This will make it easier for teachers to search for teaching ideas, AV materials, etc.
- has no graffiti and vandalism.
- has a good PA system so that important announcements are heard clearly and students need not decipher incomprehensible mumbles.
- has a big musolla so that everyone can pray the Zohor and Asar prayers together in a congregation.
- has a well-equipped library, laboratories and workshops.
- has a lot of greenery.
- does not require its teachers to fill in unnecessary, time-consuming, pointless paperwork.
- has obedient, courteous, and well-motivated students.
- has dedicated and passionate educators!