Too much has happened in too little time. School closures have impacted about 98.5% of the world’s student population. Online learning and teaching have brought a major disruption in education. Several teachers get the impression that no matter how creative and resourceful they have been over this school year something is still lacking. Without that spark in pupils’ eyes the echo of their voice is hollow. Real engagement, participation and interest is needed. Do these times call for new methods in language teaching? Or should we just try to keep everything simple and go back to basics?
Children and teenagers learn best when they are challenged with novelty. They learn by observing, listening, exploring, experimenting. Getting them to use their hands to touch in order to understand different concepts makes it easier to involve them in the learning process.
The term „Lap Book” has been around for quite some time. Lapbooks are versatile, hands-on educational tools which have mainly been used in homeschooling. It’s high time for educators to adopt them in classrooms!
So what exacly is lapbooking and what does a lapbook look like?
Take an average file folder, insert templates, cut-outs, hidden pockets, add mini-books to it, include diagrams, create stories, attach timelines. There is no right or wrong way to put a lapbook together. Focus on the content and use your imagination. By following these simple steps you immediately get a project book in which you can display unit studies and topics in a creative manner. It can be either used as the primary source of information or as a review tool. What is really impressive though is that this considerable amount of information simply fits just as well on a teenager’s lap as it does on a child’s lap, since it is developmentally appropriate for all different ages.
Differentiated teaching is a privilege in overcrowded classrooms. Teachers need to respond to their students’ needs and teaching them as one homogenous group is probably not going to work very well. We need to adjust what we are teaching and how we are teaching it in order to make sure that it is benefiting everyone in our class. Lapbooking enables teachers to explore learners’ learning styles and integrate Multiple Intelligences in teaching a second language.
No two learners are the same and no two lapbooks are exactly alike. This tool not only promotes creativity, but it also teaches learners about planning and helps them develop their research skills, making it easier for them to memorise new information. Besides, lapbooks are educational fun!
So, is there a need to reinvent the wheel to engage our learners in the 21st century? Not if you ask me. As long as we teachers stay flexible and keep looking for ways to spice up the tediousness of scripted lessons while having such versatile educational tools at our disposal, come what may, we are ready.