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Any Questions? How to use Lateral Thinking Puzzles in the Classroom © Simon Capper The Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing.

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Presentation on theme: "Any Questions? How to use Lateral Thinking Puzzles in the Classroom © Simon Capper The Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Any Questions? How to use Lateral Thinking Puzzles in the Classroom © Simon Capper The Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing

2 Lateral thinking is a termed coined by Edward de Bono, to describe the solution of problems through creative and indirect thinking, literally ‘lateral’ means ‘of, or related to the side’. Lateral Thinking puzzles are situational puzzles that have some kind of twist, some kind of unexpected outcome, and finding the answer requires people to break out of the usual predictable patterns of thought. What is lateral thinking? 2

3 For fans of Task Based Language Teaching, (TBLT), they tick all the boxes:  they’re goal oriented.  they provide meaningful communication (based on a genuine information gap).  they involve extensive (meaningful) repetition.  they enable high student involvement (even in large classes).  they mimic real life information gathering & problem solving.  they provide options for a focus on form.  they’re fun. Why use lateral thinking puzzles in the classroom? 3

4 Student preparation is the key to success. Encourage students to prepare their questions before the class. Set this as homework in the previous class. The more time that students invest in these activities, the more they will enjoy the challenge of solving the puzzles, and the more they will benefit. Student preparation is the key to success. 4

5 These puzzles are designed for students to work … individually (for preparatory homework) in pairs (to check their questions) as a group (to interrogate the ‘leader’), then as pairs again (to interrogate their partner and give everyone a chance to become a 'leader'). Encourage students to work together. 5 Change the groups every week, by randomly numbering students and giving them a chance to meet new partners.

6 (1) Introduce the concept of lateral thinking. (2) Demonstrate a puzzle. (3) Give students the first puzzle question preparation sheet. Train students to question more effectively by … focusing on what’s important (“Is the food important?”) encouraging learners to think systematically about their question making, going from general to specific (not “Was he shot/stabbed/ strangled etc.?”) Procedure: Week 1 (follow this pattern for the first week only) 6

7 In the first class, to demonstrate the format to the class, the teacher can be ‘the leader’, answering the students’ questions. The questions should be answered using longer responses. If the question is not important, reply ‘Irrelevant’ In subsequent classes, teachers will make student groups of four. At first, it may be easier to give the leader’s role to reasonably competent students. These leaders will be taken out of the classroom, told the answer, and will later return to act as ‘leaders’. Do the first puzzle as a whole class activity. 7 Yes, it is No they don’t Irrelevant

8 Give advice to learners after the first puzzle has been completed. The solution to the puzzles cannot usually be found in one or two easy steps. All the puzzles have a little twist, which challenges the questioner’s preconceptions and makes it difficult simply to use a logical approach. Instead, learners have to ask as many questions as they can, and slowly but systematically eliminate possibilities, until they reach the answer. For example, one puzzle tells of ‘The dead man in the field’. “A man is lying in a field. He is dead. There is no-one near him. He is wearing a backpack. What happened?” After the 1st Puzzle: How to help the learners. 8

9 The learner’s first intuition may be that the man had been hiking, but this would be misleading. They should approach the puzzle as if they were detectives, without preconceptions. A good detective would first establish the cause of death: how did he die? They should find information using yes/no questions. So, How did he die? Was his death natural? (No, it wasn’t) Was he murdered? (No, he wasn’t) Did he kill himself? (No, he didn’t) Was he poisoned? (No, he wasn’t) Did he die of hunger? (No, he didn’t) Did he have an accident? (Yes, he did) Effective questioning: 9

10 Good questioners start with general questions, then work towards getting specific information, for example: At first, you don’t need to ask:Was he stabbed? Was he strangled?Was he hit by someone? Was he shot?Was he punched? Was he poisoned?Was he attacked? It’s better to ask if anyone else was involved. Ask: Did someone kill him?(No they didn’t.) Was he murdered?(No, he wasn’t.) From general to specific. This eliminates many of the questions above. Someone may then ask “Did he have an accident?” 10

11 The question “Did he have an accident” receives a “yes he did” response, so learners should follow this line of questioning, thinking: What kind of accidents are there? They may ask questions like these: Was he attacked by an animal?No he wasn’t. Was he electrocuted?No he wasn’t. Was he hit by lightning?No he wasn’t. Did something fall on him?No it didn’t. Did something hit him?No it didn’t. Did he fall?Yes he did. So, did he have an accident? 11

12 The question “Did he fall?” received a “Yes he did” response, so learners should try to find out what he was doing when he fell: Was he walking/hiking?No he wasn’t. Was he working?No he wasn’t. Was he playing a game?No he wasn’t. Was he doing a sport?Yes he was. etc. Did he fall? 12

13 Learners should pay attention to all information in the puzzle hint. In this puzzle we know that he is a man, that he is in a field, and that he has a backpack. So let’s try the backpack! Was / Is the backpack heavy? No it wasn’t / isn’t. Was / Is it empty?No it wasn’t / isn’t. Was / Is it full?Yes it was / is. Was / Is it brown?Irrelevant. The first question, Was the backpack heavy? uses the noun ‘backpack’, but thereafter a pronoun is substituted. Use of pronouns will make questions more natural. Also, with the final question Was it brown? the answer is not important or helpful, so we should answer ‘irrelevant’ (not important). Pay attention! 13

14 Note also the repetitive question patterns. Most are very predictable and offer a good chance to see passive/active forms, the use of adjectives with nouns, and the importance of time and aspect in questions. For example, simple present for repeated actions, present continuous for actions which are in the present and still going on, or past continuous for actions which were going on over a period in the past, all depending on how we see the time in relation to the action). When learners become more adept at questioning, they may start to ask questions, such as these, which immediately show what is important and what isn’t. “Is it important that he is wearing a backpack?”or “Is the backpack important?” This will help them find out where to put the focus of their questions. Repetitive question patterns 14

15 (1)Ask if anyone knows, or thinks they know the answer. If someone knows the answer, make them a group leader. (2)Remind learners of the puzzle, and the response options "Yes (he did) / No (they can’t) / Irrelevant” (3)Ask learners to check their (homework) questions with a partner. (4)Make groups of 4, and ask each group to choose a leader. (5) Remind students that the key point is to ask lots of questions, slowly eliminating options until they reach the ‘Eureka’ moment. Week 2 (and all subsequent weeks) : Step by Step 15

16 no hints and no gestures (only the teacher gives hints) no L1 (if group members ask a question in L1, leaders should request the question in English) give a complete reply (not “no”, but “no he didn’t”) when the group has found the answer to the puzzle, they should close their books (to let the teacher see that they’ve finished) and the leader should lead the group in ‘free talk’ (in English). Teachers may prepare some questions to guide this free talk, and display them on a screen in the classroom. check question forms; discourage questions using statements with intonation (not “He was old?” but “Was he old?”) Guiding the leaders (6)Take the leaders out of the classroom, and explain the answer to the puzzle. Tell them the leader’s 5 golden rules: 16

17 (7)Teacher then takes the leaders back to their groups, and play commences. Monitor the groups, offering judicious advice and encouragement where needed. (8)Students can use handout questions or use their own. (Be ready to quieten groups when they near the answer, to avoid information leaks). (9)On completion of the activity, hand out corrected sample question sheets. Tell students to practise in pairs, one as a ‘teacher’ (who is not allowed to look at the question list), one as a questioner (with the list), then reverse roles. (10) Introduce the next week’s puzzle and give students the next question preparation handout. Next … 17

18 … but the job can be difficult for lower proficiency learners, especially if their group is not forthcoming with questions, or if they are not sure how to answer the questions. The teacher should be constantly vigilant, and prepared to give support. The teacher should also be ready to give judicious hints, in order to prevent fatigue and disillusionment setting in when creativity wanes. Leaders should be discouraged from giving hints, as they are invariably too generous with the information! Setting a time limit may also be helpful. Most students enjoy being the leader … 18

19 Many learners try to think of the solution in one step. This is usually very difficult to do, and should be discouraged. If the answer is found too quickly, opportunities for practise will be seriously curtailed. If one group appears to be nearing the answer, the leader should encourage them to lower their voices, in order to avoid other groups learning the solution. Use time limits to keep learners focused. Ask stronger students to help weaker ones. On completing the puzzle, students should use any extra time to get to know each other in English! Not in one step! 19

20 Final practise: partner pairwork When enough groups have finished the puzzle, ask them to form pairs, and give a complete, fully corrected question sheet to each pair. Partner A should then ask the 25 questions on the sheet. Partner B should respond (as the leader did) with the correct response, without looking at the question sheet. This enables the teacher and the learner’s partner to confirm that learners have fully understood the questions, and are able to respond appropriately. At the end of 25 questions, partners should exchange roles. 20

21 Students’ feedback is always positive. They often say it’s not like any other class they’ve experienced. After a week or two the routine makes it very easy to manage even large classes of 50 or more. Finally … 21

22 A man and his wife have dinner in an expensive restaurant. The food is first class, the kitchen is spotless, the waiters are very clean, and the man and his wife have no allergies. Yet just after the meal, both the man and his wife are violently ill. Why? Yes (it is) No (they don’t) Irrelevant Sample Puzzle: A Healthy Diet? Students ask for more information. Teacher replies: To make it easier for learners, give them a question worksheet, or ask them to prepare the questions for the appropriate unit in Any Questions? … 22

23 A healthy diet? Rearrange the words to make questions: 1meal finish they their did _____________________________________________ 2much they too did eat _____________________________________________ 3problem some have kind of they do health _____________________________________________ 4the fault their restaurant’s sickness was _____________________________________________ 5restaurant people there in were the many _____________________________________________ Match the question head to the tail 6Are they a famous restaurant? 7Did the chefvery unusual? 8Had they been to this restaurant before? 9Is it married? 10Was the fooddo something wrong? 23

24 Complete the question heads 11_______________________ food very oily? 12_______________________ been poisoned? 13_______________________ have any allergies? 14_______________________ alone in the restaurant? 15_______________________ eat raw fish? Complete the question tails 16Are they _____________________________________? 17Did they _____________________________________? 18Was it _______________________________________? 19Is the ________________________________________? 20Were the _____________________________________? Now make your own questions! 24


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