Monday, November 9, 2009

How's your memory?

I had a lot of work today, so by the time I passed everything out, it was close to 9h15. Once I passed back their work, I had them do the review test. I told them to be careful of spelling because some of the words I put on the test were a little easy to misspell. After they had finished, I asked several students how to say different Japanese dishes in English. I also explained the difference between deep-fried and fried, as this can sometimes be confusing as a result of first language interference. In Japanese, for example, the word ‘furai’ is often used to mean ‘deep-fry’, so some students will say ‘fry’ as a result. Next, I moved on to the three-syllable word stress patterns. I did not give them examples but used hand gestures to illustrate the two patterns we were focusing on today. As in Friday's class, I practiced the stress patterns with a listening activity, and similarly, the students seemed to have no problems with the stress. After the listening, I had them repeat after me.

Next, we moved on to the textbook. I dictated the questions before having them listen for the answers. I then had them repeat the vocabulary after me, and then had them in pairs practice the question, 'How do you say (Japanese) in English?' I told them to do this as quickly as possible. Once finished, we moved on to the final task, a dialogue construction task. I told them to choose one of the patterns provided and remember the conversation. I gave them 10 minutes to memorize the dialogue and then I asked some of them to present in front of the class. I did not ask everyone, but I noted those whom I asked and next time, I will choose different students. I should mention that although I had asked them to choose one of the patterns, some pairs chose to use their own ideas or to mix the ideas in the book, things which I really appreciated. Finally, as there was some time left over, I had them do a listening and a dictation activity, a sort of cool down activity to follow the dialogue practice.

After today, I am thinking that having them do more activities such as the one we did today where they had to make and remember a conversation might not be a bad idea to continue. Although the textbook does not always provide this activity, it may nevertheless be something which I could try to make each week and have them do. I think it would not only give them some conversation practice, but it may also help them remember the expressions or the conversation strategies a little more. In the end, I think that if the textbook only had longer listening and perhaps more of these conversation tasks, I might appreciate it more.

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