Thursday, December 17, 2009

I shoulda asktim abou disappearin sounz.

Today I did what I said I would do - change the order of the lesson, first doing the book then the pronunciation. I think it worked well, but I now know that no matter what order I choose, I have to manage my time better because we were unable to finish the pronunciation. This was due to being spontaneous, and I am completely aware of this because after finishing the listening comprehension in the chapter, I had them work through the conversation with a partner looking for linking sounds, a sort of review, and then I had them write the linking sounds on the board. If I had my time back I should have left that until the end of the class when we were completely finished what was planned, and if there was enough time to do such an activity. I do think it was a good activity, but misplaced resulting in not being able to complete the pronunciation component. However, if I had used fewer sentences, maybe 10 instead of 12, or if I had not added the second part asking them to find the linking sounds after finding the disappearing sounds, which was today's focus, we may have been able to finish in the time we had, but in the end it was because I was spontaneous.

Honestly, this brings up something that I may not have said, but it seems that in this particular class, I am never satisfied with my teaching or how the class goes. I cannot put my finger on it, but something just doesn't feel right. Perhaps it's the textbook, I'm not sure, but each week is almost the same - I leave with a sense of dissatisfaction, not a deep sense mind you, but I always feel I could have done better or if I had only done that or if I had only taken less time to do that; it's as if I feel inexperienced in this class despite using a fairly easy-to-use textbook, which leads me to think that perhaps the textbook is causing this, or maybe it's due to lack of preparation, but I prepare for this class, going through the chapter for that week making sure I know what each task is about, choosing the order in which I do them etc, but when I enter the class it's as if that preparation disappears or goes away just at that particular time. I wonder if any teachers out there have experienced this sort of thing or even going through a similar ordeal now. I would be interested in hearing from you.

Anyway, today's chapter focused on invitations and making plans. I started the class with a review of last week, then moved on to dictating questions for the listening comprehension. Once we finished I had them look for linking sounds as mentioned above. After that, I had them practice and remember a short conversation with a partner. Next, I did something new, something planned, not spontaneous though - a pair work activity provided in the book. Each partner had a schedule and they had to ask each other questions about the plans in the schedule to find six differences between them. I gave them five minutes to do this before checking their answers (Actually, I think maybe one of my problems is time limits. Maybe I should try being stricter when it comes to time limits next time because now that I think about it, I tell them that they have a certain amount of time, but I don't always enforce it, which may be one of the reasons behind why I feel the way I so often do in this class. Another thing I need to do is specify the goals because recently I have noticed that I do so orally, but I should be writing them on the board to make them clear for everyone. Hopefully, these little things will help improve my sense of satisfaction with this course). By the time we finished this, I knew we did not have much time for the pronunciation, but I thought that if I gave them less time to work on it, 5 minutes as opposed to 10, but perhaps 10 minutes would have been too long anyway, we would have enough time to go over the answers, which in fact we did, only we did not have enough time to do part B, that being looking for linking sounds. However, I told them we would review this next class, so I will be able to do this at that time and besides, after a two-week break, a good review of disappearing and linking sounds will be in order.

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