The textbook experiment

Here is a journal I wrote for one of my education classes at UNL. On my way out of Bellevue West I decided to do some experiments and one of them was with the student desire to use textbooks. I was surprised at what the students had to say. I have changed a lot in my teaching ideas since this point, but it is a good reminder to me on the attitudes that students have toward textbooks.

Well, I after presenting different children’s books in my different classes I decided to ask the students about it.

The students at Bellevue West are used to the current system that they have of text book learning with worksheets. It is very direct teaching that involves taking notes off an overhead in the dark every day. So naturally they were kind of thrown into shock when I arrived.

Many of the students liked the storybooks, but there were a small few that seem to not like it as much and prefer the text books. So one day I gave the students a choice on what we were going to do for the day. Basically, I gave them the choice between starting the next children’s book or doing a lesson in the text book. The results really surprised me.

“So, here’s what we are going to do.” I said to my class. “You have the choice of starting the next storybook” students began to grumble a little, but some perked up. “Or we can do a lesson in the text book, which I have prepared.” All at once the students sat straight in their chair and said, “Nooo. Please, not that. We want the storybook.” “Why?” I said. With enthusiasm in their voices they replied. “The book is boring. We really don’t like it. All we do is just sit here and don’t learn anything.” “So, how is the storybook different?” I said. “The storybook is stuff that we can follow and are interested in. It is more fun than the book.”

This did not just happen in one class, but all of them. I was amazed at how much the students really wanted to learn, but were numbed by the text book. This is good news for us because it is how we were trained. I think that the students start to acquire the language quicker because they have a story as a reference and we are beings that love stories, especially good ones. So why can’t we use this to our advantage in teaching? I continually learn how to present grammar through storytelling and will post more as I learn.


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