This morning was a pretty typical morning at Norra Real. In English 7, students read Virginia Woof’s short story Legacy and reviewed the vocabulary words highlighted in yellow throughout the text. The students were tasked with “glossary work” after reading the story. This involved finding Swedish translations (which I was no help with), using an English thesaurus to find synonyms and then writing 5 sentences using 5 of the words from the texts. Words that students frequently had trouble understanding at first were: “tiffs,” “inquest,” “incongruous,” and “implored.”
Students were allowed to work in whatever way suited them best. They could work independently or in groups, they could listen to music or work in the hall. The sense of choice and independence is quite different from many of my classes in high school where teachers had a prescribed way they liked students to approach an assignment.
The only explicit rule that I have heard in the classroom is that students must use English when speaking, even if it is just in conversation with other students. I am always impressed by how well this rule is followed. In my own language classes going through school this was never followed in our personal conversations. But there is a distinct switch between Swedish and English when class begins and then a distinct switch from English to Swedish when class is over.