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Turn The Third Hour Into A Big Power! When the third hour was first introduced in our Preparatory schools for the 7 th, 8th and 9th grades (Middle School), I felt really lost. How am I going to “furnish” these sessions? With neither a teacher’s book nor a course book, things seemed “weird” and unusual. Knowing that “There's lots of learning in a really fun environment”, the question was: How am I going to find a sequence of activities to give the lesson a logical, motivational, smooth but above all an “enjoyable” flow? The tendency was then to devote these sessions to “entertain” the learners, without distracting them from the core objective of class sessions i.e. LEARNING. Indeed, learners play all kinds of language games, listen to English songs. They are also given some projects to work on and then present and evaluate them during these sessions. Students were, then, offered another atmosphere of learning where they can move, mingle, interact, chat, play, show their potential but above all, learn. And no one can deny how beneficial all that has been for them. They have become more responsible for their own learning. The credit, definitely, goes to the teachers who worked hard to get ready with well-prepared and correctly-planned materials for these sessions. Unfortunately, I can’t help asking myself IS IT ENOUGH???? Is it enough at this time of technological advances! In this era when the World is full of “Unexpected stories”? In this era when everything seems to be a threat to our stability? At this time when everything seems to disturb our serenity of mind? Now, when adults are struggling to cope with all this “chaos” around though “The Maturity of mind is the capacity to endure uncertainty»? How is it when it comes to teenagers who are in constant and indefatigable search for justifications, explanations and proofs? They are waiting for someone to “tap” on their shoulders and reassure them that everything is going to be alright! To push them a little further! They’re dreamers at that stage of their lives. They’re strong believers in Life OPPORTUNITIES and want to see them in reality. They’re more sensitive. Work on that and try to make it SHARPER simply because the more they grow the less sensitive they become. It’s not a matter of lying to them; it’s all about “REASSURANCE” that Life can be better. They’re too young and the way is too long ahead. Give this 3RD HOUR the credit of being a moment of OPTIMISM, a source of KNOWLEDGE and INSPIRATION. It’s a must to make the 3rd hour content and shape complies with the syllabus. But give it your “touch” and let it take the learners a little “FURTHER”, somewhere beyond the classroom. Indeed, 1-It could be an occasion to open the students’ eyes on THE RICHNESS of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Dealing with phrasal verbs, collocations and idiomatic expressions, will make their vocabulary larger and richer.

2- Make the students travel during these sessions. Take them away on a sightseeing-like tour but offer them also a journey in the target language culture. Let them know about native English speakers’ traditions and customs. Indeed, all the mentioned sites here are packed with colouring, reading activities and loads of games about different Festivals and holidays. Just visit them! (Videos of sightseeing tours, Christmas carols with Lyrics, Halloween preparations and songs.....) 3-It might offer them the opportunity to feel and experience the real use of the target language. Run debates in class. But make sure to equip them with the appropriate tools to maintain a class discussion. And never forget to tackle the topics of most interest to your learners. Here is a link to a video showing a class management and activities before and while a class discussion is on. Teaching Activities - British Council - BBC 4- It could inspire them. Help them grow self-confident “IF OTHERS CAN, I ALSO CAN!” .Let them read about success stories. They are great to uplift their spirits and motivate them. It might even enlighten their minds with values that might have been lost on the way i.e. Perseverance, Determination, Hard Work, Respect for yourself and Your Work.... Prove to them that they are still the key to SUCCESS.

And the list is endless to bring back FAITH in their minds and souls. 5- Let them know about people who are “sweating” for others’ well-being . There is no need to go back far in history to look for examples. The younger the people they know about are, the greater the inspiration is.

-Check the Kielburger’s website: ttp:// Take the opportunity to teach them life lessons and values. And no matter how SHORT this space may appear, let it TEACH, SHOW and EXPLAIN life lessons. 6- Make them understand that English is far from being a mere subject taught, tested, corrected and graded. English is a “TOOL” to express their feelings and speak out their minds. English is the “TOOL” to show their potentials and abilities. So:  Listen to them they’ll teach you a lot. Ask them and involve them in any decision or

idea concerning their English class. You’ll be amazed at “the maturity” with which they deal with things.  Look for the ‘the potential’ in them and offer them the SPACE, TIME AND SUPPORT

to help them SHOW it. Having put all these “ingredients” in a 3rd Hour session, be sure you’ve sensitized your learners, helped them acquire the “ I’ve heard about it”, “ I know about it” and “ I can handle it if it happens” behaviour. You’ve prepared them to face life. Eventually, I would like to end my article by Car Jung’s quote: “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our HUMAN FEELINGS. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but WARMTH is the VITAL element for A GROWING plant and for THE SOUL OF THE Child”. You’ll not only help a” Soul” of a child grow, but you’ll also help YOURSELF “GROW” as a teacher in your “Students” eyes. I’m not saying that I practised or I’m practising ALL that I’m preaching but I’m simply saying that I’m trying my best to practise the maximum of it. “Dare to try new things”, “Give it a try”, “Go for it”. This is what I hear my Teacher Mr Rachid Najar saying to encourage us to try new things in our classrooms. Success won’t always be there, for sure, but trying has always taught me something about my class, my students and myself as a teacher. Special thanks are for my inspector and teacher Mr Rachid Najar and everyone who has trusted and encouraged me to pen and share my ideas.

Turn The Third Hour Into A Big Power!  

My thoughts and ideas about teaching and learning during a third hour session.

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