Data Handling with year 9, EAL, SEN… it was interesting to say the least.
Asking children with a very loose grasp of the English language to design survey questions got me some very blank stares.
“All the people in this class… If you could ask them a question, what would you ask them?” I asked.
“Nothing,” says the shy girl who would rather work in the universal language of numbers than with words.
“If you had to ask them three questions, then. What questions could you ask?”
“I don’t know, Miss.”
“Ok, I’ll start you off. Do you have any pets?”
“No,” she replies.
“That is going to be your first question,” I clarify, “so now think about what answers people could give. What kinds of animals do people have in their house?”
At this point, the girl next to her is trying to help out, “You know, like cats and dogs,” she prompts.
“Good,” I tell her, “there’s two we can use. What other animals do people have?”
“Giraffes!” is the eager response I get. I confess to laughing a little.
“Where would you keep a giraffe? They’re very big!”
“Anas!” she says, pointing to a boy at the front of the class… I’m not sure whether she means that Anas IS a giraffe, or that he HAS one.
Later in the lesson, I look over someone’s shoulder.
“You have all ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions,” I say. “How about trying to think of ways to ask a question so that you get different types of answers?”
“Ok…” he says, and sits back to think. A few minutes later, he tells me he’s done, and I ask him to give me one of his questions.
” ‘Do you play sports?’ is the first one.”
“Oh… and what response boxes do you have?” I ask him.
” ‘Yes’, ‘Maybe’, ‘No’ and ‘Not at all’, ” he tells me.
Back to the drawing board…