One of the techniques that seems to be a cornerstone to comprehensible input (CI) language instruction is the ability to introduce failure as a concept in learning a language. Failure should be embraced much like an engineer would embrace it – failure becomes a means of detection for weak points and also as a way to assess strengths otherwise known as failure analysis.
Students are often protected from failure. We stress success but neglect the price paid through failure. Learning a language requires repetition, and yes, bad repetition can push students away from achievement and mastery. Isn’t that, of course, the mission of a teacher in the first place? The role of the teacher is not to prevent mistakes, but instead to alert students when they may have made them and why. The corrective action is then put into place via a plan and students learn through the process. Only in making mistakes are we allowed to reassess and recalibrate the direction we are heading.
How, then, can we introduce grammar to students without scaring them off by over-explaining but also by not creating too steep a learning curve? By introducing failure into the lesson in the first place.
When students fail, they actually become interested in why they failed. This establishes a feedback loop whereby students can then be alerted to their behaviors and make corrections. It is through the repetition of this process that students make progress. And “blind” Kahoots present a great way of achieving just this.
Over on Kahoot’s website, they have really taken to this philosophy by creating a template that teachers can use to create their own blind Kahoots whereby a concept is introduced not through direct explanation, but through direct experience. Students feel the concept and assess where they went wrong, thereby strengthening their understanding of a specific concept as you progress through the lesson.
What is great about using a blind Kahoot template is that you now have a structured approach to introducing a grammatical concept that you can role out in each class. The process is repeatable for each class and each student, on the other hand, gains a unique experience each time they practice with the Kahoot.
What is also great about using Kahoot to introduce new grammar is that it goes from a passive activity where a teacher “lectures” to a group of students who take notes and more or less tune it out. Instead, they enthusiastically grab their cellphones or laptops and compete with one another via the Kahoot. The template creates some questions which will be used for verifying the concept with your students and award no points.
The blind Kahoot puts the emphasis on understanding a concept and reinforcing it with the follow up questions which are also rewarded with points for accuracy. Teachers get data in the form of feedback that gives a great sense of whether or not the class understands a new concept.
The folks over at Kahoot are always innovating and improving their product. Currently, they have a “classic” mode where students compete individually but they also have a “team” mode where students compete as members of team. (See also their new format called “Jumble” which is still in beta at the moment.)
There is also “ghost mode” which captures student past performance and you can replay to see if students can outscore their previous selves. This gives students a sense of learning and accomplishment as they literally see their improvement as their scores increase over their former ghost selves. Also, you can use ghost mode to have different sections of your classes compete against one another – see which period, for example, performs better. A little inter-program competition is always good fun, too.
Check out: 5 Ways to Make A Kahoot Awesome