Friday, January 8, 2010

First class back and already a long weekend.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2010!

I had my first class for the new year today, and I think things went well despite the students looking a little tired, but who can blame them? I started the class off by wishing them all a Happy New Year before giving them a short review quiz. I then introduced the topic of the day - Inviting and Making Plans after which I dictated four questions for the dialogue in the book. As usual, I wrote the questions and answers on the board to allow everyone to write them down. Next, I had them repeat after the CD. After that, we did Task 2, a fill-in-the-blank dictation activity. After we finished, I told them to practice with a partner. There was an odd number of students, so I sat with one of them to even it out. I don't always do this because it obviously impedes me from observing the students, but at the same time, it allows all students to have an equal amount of time practicing because if you were to put three students together for a dialogue for two, there's a chance, especially if you give them a time limit, that they will not finish. By the time we finished this activity, I noticed that our time was running out, so instead of doing the second part of Task 2 which was answering questions on the dialogue that had just practiced, I handed out the conversation construction worksheets and gave them five minutes to get ready. Actually, I gave them more than that, but I find that 10 minutes is too long, but it also seems now that even 5 minutes is not short enough to prohibit students from speaking in Japanese about unrelated topics and with different partners! When I do notice that, I ask them if they are ready which helps them get back to work. I also tend to choose those pairs who aren't working on task to present, but I just don't spring it on them; I usually hint at the fact that they will probably be on the list to present, and sometimes even first. However, I should also add that not everyone gets distracted and that most, from my own observations, tend to stay on task, or maybe they're just good at hiding it!

The remainder of the class, we reviewed disappearing and linking sounds. I did this because first, we did not have time in the last class to finish both parts of this worksheet, and second two weeks had passed since we last did it, so some much needed review was in order. I had also planned to look at contrastive stress, but by the time we finished the review, we did not have enough time, so I told them we would do that next class (I will talk about this at that time). This of course means that I might have to make something extra for Monday's class if we are able to finish the disappearing sounds handout in our next class. However, since our first class for the new year will be January 18, perhaps I should review the linking sounds that they did before the break. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I was just going to post this when I had a thought. Obviously, I will have to think about this further, but it may be an idea to split the chapter into halves instead of doing one chapter a week. I think some teachers already do this, and honestly, I used to do exactly that when I was teaching at a language school. Of course, at such schools you may have students for a long time, so this was the main reason for doing it, but it may be worth considering, especially since I am not just using the textbook, but using the pronunciation activities as well, and as I have said before, sometimes I'm not able to finish everything completely, and there have been times when I'm sure I've had to rush it, when I was hoping to spend more time on the topic at hand. Perhaps if I reorganize my lesson plans, I may be able to do certain topics in more detail, although the setback is that I will not be able to do as many topics, but one could argue that not all topics are necessary. Hmmm...I guess I have one more thing to consider then, don't I?

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