Thursday, October 15, 2009

The road to self-access is a long and winding one

Yesterday, I had my first actual self-access material development class. I say yesterday because I spent most of the evening trying to install/uninstall a program to no avail (I got rid of most of it, but it still lingers in my add/delete program window - it doesn't want to leave apparently!), so by the time I gave up (yes, I had to), it was time to head home or stay the night, something which I am not quite ready to do yet.

However, this particular class does not really need any detailed explanation as would demand the other classes I teach because I am really only there as guide, a counselor to help them with their questions and problems. If you are interested in what I am doing in this class, please take a look at the following post:

In the first class, I had asked students to come to my office before the second class, so that I could talk to them more about the class itself and also so that they could choose a book. In order to help them choose a book, I had them fill out a short questionnaire, but really what I had them do was choose something that would interest them even if it was a different genre from what they would normally read.

In yesterday's class, I distributed their books and told them to type out a chapter or a part of a chapter of their choosing; I recommended the first chapter, but tried to leave it up to them as much as possible. I should also mention again that I had gotten permission to use these books in this manner before the semester started. I told them that in this class they should try to finish typing out the chapter and if they had time, to start the vocabulary. Most of the students were only able to finish the typing, but that was OK. I then had them save their work in a folder and then had them email me the file of their work. This is something I will do each week as a check to see what and how much they are doing. If I sense that they are slacking or not doing enough (are they talking with their buddies etc) they will be marked absent. I know that this may be strict, but as long as they work and show me that they are doing as much as possible to the extent of their ability, they will be OK.

Next week, they will continue with the vocabulary lists and then move on to the activities. I have given them a handout with many activities (I won't upload the document because it is about 20 pages long), and have asked them to refer to that if they have questions about what activities to make. Of course, they can also ask me or what I hope, they will use their own creativity and imagination and surprise me. Hey, everyone likes surprises, right?

One final thing before I go, I am very fortunate to have an exchange student join this class. Honestly, I have never team taught a class, or rather team supervised, but I think he will be able to help me a lot. I really have a good feeling about this class, and I think we may get some great materials for the center. I think that I may have forgotten to mention this, but I have informed the students that their materials would be made available in the center although anonymously, so what they will be doing will be very useful and helpful to everyone here at the university, especially those who choose to use the center.

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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