This weekend I attended the #ililc4 languages conference in Southampton. At the show and tell on Saturday evening I talked about the 20-day challenge that I set for my Y10 GCSE group.
I found a brilliant TED talk by Matt Cutts called Try Something New For 30 Days. In his talk Matt, who by his own admission is a geek who works for Google explains how you can change your habits by trying something new for 30 days. Matt tries all sorts of bizarre things some he sticks with, others less so. I was intrigued by his idea so I took it to my GCSE class.
Firstly we watched Matt’s TED talk, and we discussed forming habits and how that Matt had done something so regularly that it had become a part of his day. I wanted my students to apply this to their language learning.
What could you do for 10 minutes everyday that would enhance your language learning? We kicked around a few ideas in the classroom such as listening to more French by finding interesting videos on YouTube, reading more French such as articles on un jour 1 actu, listening to French music again via YouTube or Spotify, learning vocabulary using Quizlet.com or Memrise.com and so on.
We then discussed how we would find our 10 minutes per day. We discussed the notion of dead time. We have time when we walk to school or catch the bus to school that we could use productively. Maybe you could find 10 minutes just as mum was preparing dinner where you could squeeze in a sneaky 10 minutes of language learning.
Each student then wrote down in their exercise books what they were going to try and do each day for 10 minutes for 20 days (incidentally, I chose 20 days because at the time we had 4 weeks left of school before Christmas)
I then took to twitter and everyday using the #20daychallenge I tweeted something for my students to do for 10 minutes that day. Some students used these ideas others didn’t.
Here are some of the ideas that I tweeted
5 new words
Links to peppa pig in French – the whole series is on YouTube
Links to Stroame music videos
Links to un jour un actu articles
A verb paradigm
A link to the Duolinguo app on the app store
Retweeting interesting snippets that I found on twitter such as le saviez vous facts.
Every lesson I mentioned the 20 – day challenge in order to keep it fresh in their minds. As with all things that are not compulsory and with things that are, some embraced the challenge and others did not. This however did not make the exercise any less valid and it is without doubt something that I will return to in the coming months. If you would like your students to get involved let me know and we can do the challenge at the same time.