In the first book I wrote about teaching English Language Learners, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work, I shared an inductive learning lesson plan I use titled “I Feel Powerful When…”
Putting it concisely, students complete the sentence frame “I feel powerful when….” Then, we put all the sentences together into a data set and students divide the sentences into categories (“learning something new,” “teaching others,” etc.). In addition to language-learning, the point of the lesson is that we can all feel powerful in different ways — not everyone has to have all those qualities. Students learn the advantages of people who have those different qualities coming to together as allies to achieve a common goal.
It’s a pretty engaging and…powerful lesson.
Now, though, I’m learning about other benefits of this lesson — and others — that help students feel powerful. The Scientific American just published an interesting related article:
people who feel empowered pay more attention to rewarding information, express themselves more freely when interacting with others, and experience more positive emotion. They also tend to be more persuasive, less susceptible to the influence of others, and more confident. Power breeds optimism, higher self-esteem, and action in pursuit of goals.
The article focuses on experiments that have demonstrated that people who were asked to write about a prior experience when they felt powerful were much more successful in job interviews than others.
It got me thinking about my lesson, as well as different activities I have students do prior to taking standardized tests.
I don’t see any reason why something like this shouldn’t work in that situation, too. Another alternative is to time my lesson to right before standardized test-taking time.
You can find out more of my thoughts on test-taking at The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad).