I’ve been musing more on our students’ response to “heads down” activities since a 10-year-old in one of my classes recently said that he doesn’t enjoy speaking activities and would prefer to do a written task from the book. He’s a strong student, although I would perhaps ‘label’ him as more of an intrapersonal learner: he’s quite quiet, will answer questions when directly asked but is more reluctant to volunteer, takes a more supportive rather than dynamic role during team games, etc.
However, I was wondering whether it’s more than just the learner’s personality which accounts for their interest in completing written tasks. Written activities are permanent and measurable: when a learner completes a written task, it’s corrected and provides the learner with a sense of achievement. On the other hand, spoken tasks are far more transient and although the teacher will no doubt be monitoring the task, it’s impossible to hear what every student says during a pair-work activity, so errors may go uncorrected.