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You’re the teacher now

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By Neil Jarrett

Giving children the chance to be the ‘teacher’ is an engaging strategy which motivates them with their learning.

“By learning you will teach; by teaching you will learn.” – Latin proverb.

Child at whiteboard

How can the students take the role of teacher?

  • Play ‘spot the mistake’. We all make mistakes. And do you know what? Pupils love it when you do. It engages them and lets them see that everyone makes errors – not just children. This game is when you make slips whilst teaching and children have to signal when the mistake occurs. It works great as a fun starter. You can even challenge one of your children to come to the front of the class and the rest of the pupils must spot his/her blunders.
  • Give questions AND answers in maths. Children must find the errors and correct them (see the example resource below).
  • Use technology. * Doing this certainly helps because of the ease of editing. I asked my children to ‘up-level’ poor quality writing in a Google Doc. I did this as a group activity and the results were amazing (see the activity below).
  • Give the class a story, littered with errors.* They can mark it following the school marking policy. (See the activity sheet, ‘Correcting grammar’)
  • Challenge children to get things wrong on purpose. * When they are finished, the teacher has to find the mistakes. Following this, the children can check if the teacher found all of them. This motivates children to find out the correct answer first so they can see if the teacher is right.
  • Play ‘2 right and 1 wrong’.* Children write facts or calculations and challenge their partner to spot which is incorrect.
  • Perform poorly in front of the class. For example, reading a poem or book in a dull, monotonous voice. Ask children to evaluate and then give tips to improve.

In conclusion, handing the ‘teacher power’ to your class is both an empowering and positive experience for them. Have a go and I am sure you will notice learning and confidence increase.


Download the activity sheets for each of these activities.

Correcting grammar Working backwards and correcting maths problems

These activities can be used as a template and adapted where necessary.

1. Ask children to expand the passage below, improving the quality. They should focus on adjectives and adverbs.
The man walked into the woods. He was scared. He looked behind. He looked behind again. He saw something. He ran. It followed him. It was a monster. The monster got him. The man got a stick and hit the monster. The monster let him go. He escaped.

2. Ask children to correct the incorrect grammar in the ‘William Tell’ story on the activity sheet, ‘Correcting grammar’. They should check for verb tenses, singular/plural nouns and articles.

3. Hand out copies of the activity sheet, ‘Working backwards and correcting maths problems’, which contains answers to maths problems. What could the questions be? Ask children to focus on word problems.

4. Using the same activity sheet, ask children to mark each of Anita’s solutions for different maths problems and explain where she went wrong.