Why my worksheets don’t have numbers

Along with my complete disregard for appearance and even hatred of pointless illustrations, probably the biggest difference between my photocopiable materials and paper-based published ones is how mine almost always use bullet points rather than numbers and letters. Unlike the third big difference which I will mention in my next post, this one is entirely deliberate.

Ever since my TEFL course, it’s always struck me that even a few moments with the students or teacher saying “7 C” and “9B” is completely wasted, and that a page of a notebook that says those kinds of things is a sure sign of something that has been ticked off and dismissed in students’ minds and will never be remembered.

Even if it takes a bit longer, it’s much better for students to say the words that they are matching up, the sentence that they are filling the gap in, etc etc, both when working in pairs and when checking answers as a class. Ditto with the teacher checking answers with exchanges like “Right, and the next one. ‘Am I allowed to dot dot dot’. ‘Is it okay to dot dot dot’. Etc. Which one on the next page does that match up with? That’s right. ‘Do I have your permission to dot dot dot.’ Etc.”

That will inevitably lead to more misunderstandings and the need for things to be repeated, but that means more genuine classroom communication and is therefore a good thing. On top of that, students will say and hear the language more and so hopefully remember is better, and depending on your policy on drilling this might be their only chance to hear the teacher saying the things on the worksheet and have their own pronunciation corrected.

Or so says the man who wrote the worksheets anyway, but perhaps I’m not the best person to judge…

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One Response to Why my worksheets don’t have numbers

  1. Absolutely agree on this – I even would delete the letters/numbers when using published worksheets. Nowadays I scan them and edit them graphically removing useless colour and shading before printing them out too – but in the stone age I used correction tape.

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