Four-clover-method

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Method & Rationale

An effective way for activating and improving students’ oral proficiency.
 

Description

A group of eight students stand and orientate themselves in an outer and inner circle (see diagram). The outer students circulate every minute answering a question posed by the student in front of them in the inner circle. The students who posed the question listen and record the other student’s answer. With each rotation the student in the inner circle repeats the question, recording the answer from the next students. After four minutes, the outer and inner circle switch places and the exercise repeats. By the end of the 8 minutes, students have 8 answers to the four questions. An extension now, is to review the eights answers and continue the discussion. 
 

Students Outcomes

   -     Improve oral proficiency on a particular topic.
   -     Gather information by listening.
   -     Deliver an answer within a fixed period of time.
   -     Engage in peer learning.

 

Key Skills

   -     Oracy
   -     Active Listening
   -     Working together
   -     Time Keeping

 

Visualisation

Phase 1: Every person in the outer circle asks his question, persons in inner circle answer, afterwards the outer circle rotates to the next person
 Phase4
 
Phase 2: Repeat until every person of the inner circle has answered four questions
 
 
Phase 3: Change inner and outer circle
  
 
Phase 4: Repeat until every person has answered four questions
 
 

Evaluation

Statistics:

Country
Number of pupils
Aged
Number of teachers
Topics
Austria
89
14-16
3
Christmas, Accounting, Programming
Belgium
32
14-17
2
Project, Dutch
Ireland
Sweden
 16
 14-15
1
German
Spain
100
13-16
6
Spanish, English, Ethics, French, Counselling

Results of evaluation of students:

Students found it fun to do something else in the classroom. They like to be physically active - it is like a play for them. The engagemant was great.  
Most pupils found the exercise mainly useful for revising already gained knowledge. It was a good way of checking your own knowledge level.
After some (rather thorough) instructions, all students could perform the exercise. Most of them would like to work with this method again.
 
Pros:
-        easier to understand the topic
-        fun 
-        instructive
-        especially good for social science and similar subjects
-        method increased motivation
-        interesting idea
-        good introduction in the topic
-        easy questions
Cons:
-        a queue might form
-        you may overhear what other students are saying
-        boring questions
-        could not answer any question
-        was not interested in the topic at all (social competence)
-        could not understand the partner
-        too less time
-        no direct feedback (correct/not correct), because the partner did not know the answer too


Results of evaluation of teachers:

Method was rather easy to explain to the students and they worked with great engagement. There were some problems with forming of queues and some students complained about hearing what the students next to them were saying. If there is an odd number of students in the class, the teacher must play on role in the "game" and then the teacher cannot supervise the exercise.
The method could the students to easier see the bigger picture of the topic if the teacher make the right questions. It was a good way of revising existing knowledge and skills, rather than to learn new things. It is difficult for the teacher to assess the students´ performance, since there is so much going on at the same time.  
It is always a good thing to vary your teaching and this method could be used now and then - primarily as a means of revising things you have taught your students, for example before a test. The students in the inner circle, who are checking and correcting the answers learn their topics very well. It takes some time for the teachers to prepare the questions.
 
Pros:
-        All students are active
-        All students are engaged in the same topic at the same time
-        Good method for revising existing knowledge and skills
-        Stimulating change in the every day classroom work
-        Students get a chance to meet other students
-        Good method to start a discussion on a topic
-        Good method to make a short repetition on small topics
-        Works much better if you have an observer and time-keeper
-        Listening and speaking competences were increased
 
Cons:
-        Thorough instructions needed
-        Time-consuming preparations for the teacher
-        Queues might form
-        Some students only repeat what the student before them just said
-        Students could not understand the sense of this method
-        Students repeated the answer they have got, when they had to answer
-        Problems with the time-slots (sometimes too short, sometimes too long)
-        One student could disturb a whole group
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