Posts Tagged ‘competition’


January 28, 2016

2016-01-28mathWhile studying to be a teacher of English, I did supervised teaching in a primary school. At one of the lessons I had to introduce numbers, so after reading a respective chapter in a methodology book, I wrote on the board two columns of math problems that included addition and subtraction, split the class into two teams and told them to compete against each other in solving the problems: the left column of the problems was to be done by the team on the left and the right column – by the team on the right in the classroom.  The pupils knew math well enough to subtract or add, and this time they were only to train their language skills by articulating in English what they were doing. Of course, mathematical correctness counted too. A pupil from each team waited for their turn to rush to the board, do their own problem and return to their seat, while the next person from the team picked up the baton and did the next problem. It took longer for slower pupils to do the job, those who were more advanced did it in the blink of an eye. When the language-and-math shuttle race was over, a girl from the team which lost burst into tears and I had to run for a glass of water for the girl. Since that time I never arranged any competitions during my lessons.

I remembered the episode when I read Danielle Sensier’s poem Experiment. Danielle Sensier is a published author and an editor of children’s books. Some of her books are Costumes (Traditions Around the World), Masks (Traditions from Around the World), Poems About Weather, and Poems About Journeys.


at school we’re doing growing things

with cress

sprinkly seeds in plastic pots

of cotton wool.

Kate’s cress sits up on the sill

she gives it water.

mine is shut inside the cupboard

dark and dry.

now her pot has great big clumps

of green

mine hasn’t

Mrs Martin calls it Science

I call it mean.



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