Friday, December 18, 2009

Would you be so kind as to tell me if I am suffering from spontaneous combustion? Thank you.

Today I continued the pattern of textbook followed by pronunciation practice. We started immediately with the review, and then I dictated them questions for the dialogue. However, this time I wrote the questions on the board. I did this so that everyone would be able to get the questions because before when I would ask them orally, some would speak very softly, so it was obvious that not everyone could hear it. I also explained the meaning of block just in case not everyone understood what it meant. After listening to the dialogue about three times, I asked individual students for their answers and wrote them on the board as well. After that, we practiced the conversation as a group.

Next, we continued with task 2, a fill-in-the-blank dictation exercise. I played this about two times, and then asked them individually for the answers, writing them on the board, too. I then did something a little spontaneous, despite what I wrote yesterday, but it worked fairly well. I wrote five requests on the board and asked them to put the requests in order from least polite to most polite. The only problem with this was that two of the sentences were very close in politeness, so next time I should make sure that all sentences can be easily placed in order. Again, as this was spontaneous, I did not have adequate time to consider which requests I was writing. Here are the requests I wrote:

Open the door.
Can you open the door?
Would you mind opening the door?
Could you open the door, please?

Would you be so kind as to open the door, please?

The requests in bold are the ones that posed me the problem because I think they are quite similar in regards to politeness. However, with the added please, 'Could you open the door?' would probably be considered more polite, although it is more direct than 'Would you mind...?'. As you can see, I should have excluded one of these had I wanted to make it a clear distinction.

By this time, I noticed that we did not have enough time to do task three, so I gave them the conversation construction worksheets. I gave them about 7 minutes to practice before I called up a few pairs to present; this time I called up four pairs due to time constraints.

Finally, I handed out the pronunciation worksheets and explained the task using an example on the board. I gave them five minutes to work on it with a partner and then started asking students to go up and write the answers on the board. However, unlike yesterday, I walked around choosing students and helped them with the answers before having them go up to the board. This way I could save a little time. After all the answers were on the board, I had them repeat each sentence after me; for some of the sentences I wrote a sort of pronunciation key on the board. For example, for 'called her', I wrote, 'calder'.

I think today's class went well, although I need to be more careful with doing things on the fly. Honestly, I am not sure why I don't think of those activities when I'm planning; they seem to come to me just at that time. Like yesterday's class though, I still haven't decided if I will continue this book next year or not. With the exception of the listening, most of what I use is my own materials or adapted materials from the book. However, having the Japanese explanation may be advantageous in that those students who actually review or prepare at home can have some support that an all English textbook does not provide. In any case, as long as I don't go off the lesson plan - although considering that it is based on the book; we are still using it, just expanding on it, so it's not that bad - I think I will have enough time to do both the book and the pronunciation, so I think I will continue this pattern from now on.

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