Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Learning of Science Skills

This week's grade nine lesson was on asking for and giving advice. The main phrases they needed to focus on were "What do you think I should do?" and "I think you should..."

After introducing the lesson to them and going over the vocabulary, I put the class into groups, giving each team a problem that they needed to advise on. The problems varied from fights with siblings, to issues at school. But one group received the coveted problem of self-esteem. For some reason, every group wanted to advise on this, believing they each had the perfect solutions to the issue.

I gave the class a few minutes to brainstorm solutions, before bringing their attention back to the front of the class. Each group now had to say what their problem was, and then read out five pieces of advice, appropriate to their issue.

As each group presented their ideas, I was filled with pride. I had worked on this lesson plan for a few hours, and was happy to see it actually work in class.

Then, it was my 'self-esteem' group's turn. They started off the presentation well.

"If you've got self-esteem problems, I think you should talk to someone," they said.

"If you have self-esteem problems, maybe you should read books to help," said another.


"I think you should get help with science skills," another one blurted.

"Science skills?" I thought.

I quickly let this pass, thinking it had something to do with learning science subjects, because they believed science was the best subject ever!

Boy, was I wrong.

My co-teacher quickly pulled me aside and said, "I think you should ask them what they mean by science skills," he said. "I don't like the sound of it."

I went ahead and asked the girls what they meant by "science skills," not expecting any elaborate answer.

My mistake.

The girls struggled to articulate their thoughts through words, so they decided on body language.

One girl grabbed her nose and pretended to cut it with a scissor. She then took that imaginary nose, threw it out, and replaced it with a smaller imaginary nose. She then looked at me with the biggest smile she could muster and said, "Yea? See? Science skills!"

In case that didn't do it for me, another student got my attention and said, "Teacher, you no understand? Ahhhhhh.... OK. It's like this..."

She stared at her friends face and said, "Oh! Your lips! I LOVE! Give me, OK?"

She then said, "Doctor! Doctor!! Chingu lips on me, OK?" (Chingu means friend in Korean).

And then, the reality of all this struck me...

Science Skills = Plastic Surgery.

Who knew?

In every class that followed, I made sure to let the girls know that 'science skills' weren't an option when giving advice about self-esteem.

I can't even tell you how heartbroken and sad they looked when they heard that.


Image courtesy of


  1. Why are your classes so interesting?

    My students are nowhere as enthusiastic about English as everyone else's school, it seems. Half of the students at my school hate English and see it as a chore (and many can't even read the alphabet).

    Grrr. *waves fist*


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...