Thursday, December 17, 2009

What do you mean good sir by this word you use constantly autonomy?

Well, I had my last reading class for the year today. I was surprised to see some many students absent. I am not sure why they were absent, maybe it was because of going home, but honestly, isn't it still early to be heading home for the holidays, especially when most will go home only for New Year's? A mystery indeed, my good Watson.

Anyway, today's lesson followed the same pattern, except this time I did not have them come up to get the handouts, but instead I had several students hand them out. I did this because I thought it may give them a little more time to work because when they come up for the handouts, there is usually a long line and people have to wait resulting in a waste of precious time. I told them that once they got their papers, they could start, which most of them did; some had to be 'encouraged' to start.

Today's class consisted of an exercise on adverbs of frequency, a review of the articles 'a' and 'the', this time with a Japanese explanation, a reading activity, a sentence correction activity, and finally a writing activity, this week's theme being 'hobby'. This week was also the last class for the students being able to jump right into the writing part. In our next class, they will have to brainstorm first before writing. I haven't looked at the article work yet, but I hope that the explanation was clear enough to help them understand better the usage of the articles. I also simplified the sentence correction worksheet in that I provided two sentences one correct and one incorrect and asked them to choose the correct sentence. I thought that maybe seeing them both would make picking out the mistakes easier. I guess what I tried to do today was make it challenging, but at the same time, not overwhelming, and also more conducive to finishing on time, and they all did; actually, I think even the last to finish finished early.

One thing though that I have to reinforce next time is the quasi-rule of telling me when they are finished before they leave because I had to remind them of that again today. It's obvious why I want them to tell me because if they didn't I would have chaos with students leaving and me not knowing if they have submitted everything or not. It's also a way to let me say goodbye to them as well, something which I think is important. Other than that, I think this class style is going well, but one thing I just remembered, I need to make sure to ask them if they have any questions regarding the material before they leave. I think that if I don't, I run a serious risk of having students leave with the potential of not fulling understanding what they have done. However, what we are doing is not so difficult, ie the adverbs, and I am looking at their paragraphs to check them before submission, but it's better to ask than not because to assume that all students understand completely the grammar handouts, because that is really what I am thinking about, even with a Japanese explanation is foolish, and actually to think of it careless. There I said it. What I need to do then next time is ask them when they are submitting their work if they have any questions or if they are OK with the work to check if they are in fact clear on what they've done, and if they're not, to help them with any problems they may have.

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