Best to be Prepared

Words by Amanda Harrison 

Why do we have to prepare for lessons if it’s already loaded in the classroom like Picaro, or if the content is available for downloading anyway? It’s already all there right? Right! So, why prepare?

Preparation is key to a successful session with Breadies. Picaro can seem easy as the lesson materials are already in the classroom. There really is not much preparation involved… Or is there? There are a number of reasons why we should prepare. First of all, if we go in blind, the parents who are watching the lesson, will know immediately, and that reflects badly, not only on the teacher, but also on the company.

Preparation is important because we need to extend the lesson. It gets very boring for both Bready and Buddy if we just present what is on the surface, so we need to make sure we know the content beforehand in order to feel confident with extending it, taking it apart and molding it to the particular Bready’s needs.

More importantly, some valuable material gets missed. The pre-session teacher resource for every CGE unit is available online, and all the recording transcripts are in the Teacher Resources folder. The audio exercises are really important for developing our Breadies’ listening skills so don’t just miss them out. I take a screenshot of the Audio transcript, open it in Photos and crop the text so that it can be uploaded into the classroom!

Here’s a little tip regarding the screenshot. Find the relevant material before you download the teacher file, then take a screenshot, the quality is 100x better than taking a screenshot after it has been saved into your downloads folder.

There is so much to find in the CGE material, it really is not difficult – unless you haven’t prepared!

The language tip box is a valuable resource, you can ask the Bready to make a sentence with the given grammar. If it’s unfamiliar, then an introductory lesson (usually on the whiteboard) is a good way to introduce the concept. Making sentences strengthens the concept for the bready, and don’t forget to do a recap lesson for next time to check that the Bready grasped the concept.

Picaro is a wonderful program, but not quite as easy as CGE. I find preparation imperative with Picaro. It can be a very quick lesson if you don’t prepare, and during preparation the extension will become apparent. My first Picaro lesson was a total bust. I got so used to CGE that I didn’t know what to do with this work in front of me. The Bready did the whole ppt in 10 minutes flat, and I had to figure out very quickly what to do next. I never went into a Picaro lesson again thinking, “Aaah, this is easy!” Sometimes the Picaro PPT can look very sparse, especially if it’s a series of exercises where the Bready has to colour in objects. I ask the Bready to make a sentence using the object, the colour it was coloured in and where the object is or what the object is doing. Preposition introductions are almost always a given.

Another aspect of preparation is writing down in a book exactly which lesson the Bready will be doing. It must include the total number of slides of the Picaro lesson, that way, if you don’t go through the whole lesson, and you have to tell the team in More Bready information group, that they have to reload the same ppt, they will be able to assess whether there are enough slides left to reload the ppt or just load the next lesson.

Preparation doesn’t only count for Normal sessions either. If you don’t know what to expect in a Taster session because you are unfamiliar with the work, you’re going to run into trouble. Always go through the slides the night before to familiarise yourself with the Taster slides, it becomes second nature after a while, but especially in the beginning, it’s important to go into a Taster well prepared. It is after all, an important session, as this might determine whether the Bready signs up with IQBar or not. So don’t view Tasters as easy sessions.

While we are on the subject of Tasters, and being prepared for the session. It’s also important to know how you are going to handle the introduction. Which questions will you be asking? Everything is relative, and the age of the Bready does not determine their level in English. So be prepared for different scenarios. Always introduce yourself first, to give context to the greeting, especially for the lower level Breadies who don’t yet grasp the English language. When you introduce yourself first, you introduce the Bready to the concept of an introduction. I’ve watched some videos where the Buddy asks immediately what the Bready’s name is. For more experienced Breadies, this is easy, but for Breadies who are doing their first lesson, it can be very confusing.

I find that when the Bready struggles to grasp the introduction, I usually then say “my name is Amanda, and yours?” Always using TPR to help the Bready see what you mean.

Our Breadies are important to us and we should always strive to do the very best we can for them. After all, we’re teaching them to speak a language with some weird and wonderful rules.

Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.