Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Wu Wei

by AJ

Go with the flow.... adapt to each unique situation.

Thus far I have failed to practice "wu wei" effectively. Ive tried a one-size-fits-all approach with my classes- but I find that each class is unique in its needs and motivation.

My older classes are more self directed. They respond to a looser approach. They respond to free reading. They do well with group projects and discussions.

But my freshman and sophomore classes clearly are not ready for such independence. They need stronger leadership and more focus-- something I have not given them to date.

I realize that, despite my philosophical disdain for grades/points I can use these for positive effect-- as the younger students seem most motivated by these extrinsic factors. I suppose its a lot like kicking heroin... its difficult to kick the habit all at once. A better strategy seems to be to wean the students off dependence on teachers, grades, and points.

What this means in practice: Start assigning points for things like bringing in articles, using English during discussions, listening to movie narrations, and bringing reading material to class. I will no longer try to resist their dependency... but rather use it to move them towards independence. I will nudge them towards self-study, free reading, and other autonomous learning projects.