What do you do when your students hate the unit of work?

26 Mar

I am currently teaching a unit entitled ‘Asian perspectives’.  The unit is part persuasive writing and part creative writing.  My Year 9 classes and I are a few lessons into the unit.

When I told them that we were studying Asian perspectives I got a lot of eye rolls and groans.  When we actually started studying it, opinions were more clearly and frequently articulated.

In a bid to encourage my students to get their negativity out of their systems, I set them a persuasive writing task which required them to write to the Minister for Education and explain their views about the inclusion of ‘Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia’ in the new English curriculum.  The students then posted their letter to Edmodo for feedback.

The underlying passion of many of the responses has shone through, with many students producing a better than usual quality of work.

While I think the experience was positive, I am now in a situation where I am fully aware of students’ viewpoints on this topic.  Accordingly, I have to respond by making some changes.

One way I am going to do this is to bring in some literary texts earlier than planned and also to broaden the scope a little beyond merely Asian texts.  Next lesson, for example, we will look at Lazola Pambo’s poem ‘The Man in a Wheelchair‘ (found at New Asian Writing).  We will examine this alongside my current favourite YouTube clip ‘Because who is perfect?‘  (a German clip).  Students will then be tasked with writing a letter in which they seek to persuade the principal of our school to include ONE of these texts (students pick the one they like best) in a special assembly marking International Day of People with a Disability.

A peer review activity will follow, thus allowing me to ascertain that they can write and  recognise persuasive features in other texts.


One Response to “What do you do when your students hate the unit of work?”


  1. Changed perspective | Once uPUN a time... - March 28, 2014

    […] noted previously, my Year 9 class was not enjoying their ‘Asian Perspectives’ unit.   In […]


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