Our micro-teaching topics seemed deliberately lifeless – little naivety-killers for lovers of literature. “Techniques for spelling difficult words,” someone got, then “metre and rhythm in poetry.” As the hat got closer I half-expected “why students hate English” to be drawn. Instead, it was “personification.”
The following week my partner and I made our plans. Slipping, I’d brought along a great passage from Virginia Woolf in which darkness becomes a monstrous character creeping along hallways and swallowing things up. “These are year eights,” she said. “Fine,” I replied. “LOLcats then.”
This week we ran our eight-minute session for the class – my first experience of teaching since starting the course. “Nervous?” somebody asked, noticing. But it went really well. At around the seven minute mark I asked who felt they’d learned something about personification, and everyone put up their hand.
Here’s how the lesson looked:
- Describe the image above. How many people can you see?
- Pair words on the board from list A [thunder, life, time, opportunity, wind] and B [knocks; flies; howls; claps; passes by]. This shows prior knowledge of personification, even if you hadn’t known the word.
- Now, look at a cute cat and imagine what it’s thinking. Notice how easy this is to do.
- See what other people have imagined about the cat.
- Finally, make your own LOLcats and upload them to the internet. That’s right, like this one: