Anyway, I digress. This week's idea was relevant for EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. The debate went deeper the higher the level but the core idea was relevant from 7 years old all the way to adult. The example I'm going to give today is with the FCE exam but it can be adapted to any activity, be it worksheet or book based.
I started the class by telling students they were going to participate in a psychologial experiment based around the effects of music on concentration. At no point did I mention the fact they would be doing 4 seperate Use of English part 2 activities.
I told them they would listen to 4 different songs and complete activities whilst the music was playing. This served as both a distraction and a time limit. The 4 genres were. Drum and Bass, Rock, Pop and Classical. I informed the students it was to see which type of music was best for concentration and which was worst and we'd hold a plenary after we'd finished the activity.
The next step was to rehash exam technique for part 2. When doing this I always use this from https://www.fceexamtips.com/reading-2-3. I also make a list of the most common words that come up, just in case they are lost and need to fill a gap. At the end we double check the 4 different exam parts and see how many of those words came up.
Next I handed out the first part 2. I told students not to start until the music had begun.
Students then complete the task. We don't correct it. We move straight on to the next task accompanied by the greatest band of all time the foo fighters.
After that we quickly move on to a pop song of the moment. I went with Love Someone by Lukas Graham because all of the students know it and they found it espacially hard to concentrate because they were so distracted by the song they knew and loved.
Finally we did Pacelbel's Canon
This last tune was a bit longer and gave them a bit of calm time to double check all their answers.
After we'd finished the final task we had a quick discussion.
The basic questions I asked were: Which music was most difficult to concentrate with? Why?
Which was easiest? Why?
Which did you find most stressful? why?
Which did you find most relaxing? Why?
Which one do you think you got the best score on?
Now obviously there is very little science behind this as some student may do better on different tasks, some tasks may be easier and also by the time they're doing their forth exam part they are well into the groove of things and it sohould be much easier by then.
That said, we then corrected everything and took down the scores. In general it wasn't a great shock that the best scores came out with the classical music, the worst, however, were with thethe pop music as students were too busy singing as opposed to doing the activity. We then checked which words came up most frequesntly.
This was a great activity for the students not only to help with their debating and discussion skills but also as pure exam revision. When doing 4 UOE part 2s they noticed that the word SO came up every single time.
Hope this helps