Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lesson in Origami Illustrates the Value of Teaching by Doing

An English teacher shared a highlight from her 35-year teaching career and revealed some important keys for teachers and anyone in the communication business.

Dorothy Fletcher copied a page of instructions on making birds from origami, gave her students sheets of paper and told them to get on with it.

Sounds simple enough but the instructions were in Japanese and none of the students were fluent in that language. After a flood of protests, the students surprised themselves as before long, paper cranes were flying around the classroom!

Fletcher was eager to illustrate one of life’s challenges—making sense out of difficult instructions on tax forms and computer manuals, even when they are written in your first language.

The effective teacher said this was one of her most memorable lessons and news of the origami class quickly spread through her school.

Why was it so remembered by her students? Because it involved these important ingredients:
* Learning by words and visuals
* Learning by helping each other
* The importance of asking for advice
* Enjoyment in learning and
* Much more

To read this fascinating story, see:
Dorothy Fletcher, ‘What do Paper Cranes Have to Do with English Class?’, CSM, 22 October 2007.

Image: Visual Aids