Friday, October 16, 2009

My! What a lovely English class you have!

I was surprised by today’s class because last night when I was preparing for it I was a little worried that there would not be enough material in the chapter to fill out a class without my own supplements. However, I was unable to complete the chapter, and even had to assign the final pair work activity as homework.

I arrived at the class around 9 and set up my computer. While waiting for the computer to come on, I wrote the goals for the class on the board and then went to the office to borrow a CD player (mine is not reliable anymore as it tends to skip). I then came back and passed back the work they did last week. This took more time than I was expecting, so we did not start review until 9:14; I gave them 10 minutes to complete it, but the majority had completed it before time was up, so I collected it and then moved on to the word stress (the document is on the previous post) following the same procedure as laid out in the post first introducing this activity. Actually, I just remembered that I did something a little different – I picked individual students to clap the stress and had the students repeat after that student.

Once finished, we moved on to chapter two which focused on compliments. I asked the students to think of what you can compliment someone on. Some students were not sure as to what to write, so I gave them some examples ie haircut etc. I probably gave this activity, considering it was a warm-up, too much time, so when I do this in Monday’s class (we are using the same book), I will tell them they only have 5 minutes. Once I felt they had enough time to think of ideas, I asked each student to write their example on the board, and there were many, and many of them great, like smile, fashion, etc. I then had them keep their books closed, and I dictated three questions (I was going to erase their examples but thought it better to leave them) for a listening activity - they had to listen to a short conversation and answer the questions. After they listened to the CD, I had them repeat the dialogue after me, and then asked them to read it in pairs. Next, we looked at some expressions for complimenting and some responses to compliments. I had them repeat after me telling them that how they said it and how they looked when they said it were important, as giving someone a compliment with a frown can actually mean the opposite. After practicing, I had them change partners and then had one person read sentences randomly to their partner, who listened and repeated.

By the time we finished this task, I realized I did not have a lot of time left. I decided to continue with task 2, a short dictation type listening activity, before going on to the pair work, but I probably should have started the pair work at that time omitting task 2, because we did not have enough time to finish it. I ended up setting it for homework, instead, along with review of pages 6 and 7 of chapter 2 for next week’s review quiz. The pair work was a modified version of the pair work dictation exercise in that this time, once they had finished, they were asked to make 6 different conversations, each consisting of three sentences. Unfortunately, this was one time when Japanese did not help clarify the activity and I know now that an example, which in the end I did write on the board, would have been clearer. Also, due to lack of time, I was not able to really explain what to do; again I thought the Japanese would be sufficient. Therefore, next time if I do something like this, I need to give myself more time to explain with examples. What I mean is that first, I should have asked them to do the first part and check their answers and then asked them to listen to me while I explained the next part. In short, I rushed a possibly good activity, something I need to be careful not to do again.

I have to say that I am amazed how quickly today’s class went by, and how I was wrong to think that there would not be enough in the chapter because it turned out to be quite the opposite. However, I could not help feeling that my students did not have so much speaking practice today, what I mean to say is that I don’t feel we really practiced how to compliment and how to respond to compliments. Indeed, we looked at different expressions and the homework asks that they make short dialogues of that nature, but there was really no in-class practice, so I think that in future classes, I need to try to focus more on that kind of actual practice, even if it means reducing or cutting out altogether another activity.

Well, I think that is it for this post. If you'd like to leave a comment, by all means please do!


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