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Spotlight on Learning: Year 9, Die Deutsche Autobahn and a Lollipop Stick…

05 October 2017

Read time:  1 minute

It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City. Students had been fed and watered and the last lesson of the day was well underway. Mr Goundry was enthusiastically leading his Year 9 charges through German economic policy in the 1930s.

“How did the construction of the Autobahn help Nazi economic policy?” 

Mr Goundry’s energetic smile began to fade as only one meek hand was feebly raised before him. Had they forgotten everything since Mr Falconer had entered the room? Had his presence triggered total taciturnity amongst the sea of pupils?

Undeterred, Mr Goundry reached for a weapon in his armory - a collection of lollipop sticks. Each of these small pieces of balsa wood resembled the next, except for the students’ names that were written on them. Nikhil, Louise, Minh or Vincent? Who was Goundry’s victim? Who would feel the wrath of his open-ended, high-order questioning?

Helas, there was no victim.

“30 seconds thinking time then discuss with a partner”, chanted Goundry as pupils sprang to life and a turbulent buzz of paired discussion echoed throughout the room. Goundry listened intently and his effervescent smile returned – they hadn’t forgotten anything at all.

“Stop” he cried as he randomly grasped one of the 23 lollipop sticks held in his palm. Before he could draw his next breath and proclaim the name of the duly elected innocent, 23 hands shot up. Everybody had the answer, everybody was engaged and Goundry was spoiled for choice. The lollipop sticks did the rest and Mr Falconer left the room knowing that ‘Think-Pair-Share’ has its place in every classroom. 

Lee Falconer, Assistant Head Teacher, An Phu Secondary