WOrk WOrk Sheet Sheet



Work is a sheet, yes? No. Let me illustrate. This is a follow-up to my post elsewhere about a speaking task I did in a Mattayom English class. In the previous class the students exchanged profiles. As a follow-up, in the next lesson we did if the "World Had  100 people" activity (I admit that I am using task and activity interchangeably here) which I had used various times in other classes. In this activity, students filled out a worksheet citing statistics about the world if it were a village of 100 people.

The worksheet looked something like this:

If the world had 100 people
there would be ____________ Asians
there would be ____________ Europeans
there would be ____________ Africans
there would be ____________ from North America
there would be ____________ from South America and the Caribbean

___________ people would have no clean, safe, water to drink
___________ own 59% of the entire wealth of the community.
___________ would be undernourished
___________ would be unable to read
____________ would be educated at a secondary level
etc... There are a lot of items.

After going over some difficult words/phrases with the students, I asked them to work in pairs and guess how many people for each item. First, students worked individually and filled in the blanks, then they compared answers. When their answers were different, I asked them to explain to each other why they gave that particular answer. For example, if one student thought that 10 people would be unable to read and her partner thought that 40 people would be unable to read, both students would try to justify their answers to each other. In this class, there seemed to be very little interaction among the students. After the class I asked students whether or not they agreed with the statement that

"I was able to use a lot of English when comparing answers with my partner in the "If the world had 1o0 people" activity"

Of 20 students, 10 agreed and 10 disagreed. Their primary reasons for saying that they could not use English was that 1) the worksheet contained too many unknown words, 2) they did not have the vocabulary to explain their answers, 3) they answered based on intuition (which I encouraged them to do) and could not give a reason for their answers. Those who wrote that they agreed with the above statement did so because they were 1) trying to make me feel happy, 2) enjoyed explaining their thinking to their partners, or 3) enjoyed learning and using new words.