Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Last stop for TOEIC Town! All aboard! + Reply to Darren's Comment about Dogme ELT

Wednesday TOEIC

Today we had our final class since the last two will be use for TOEIC mock tests. We looked at unit 28, the final unit on Part 7, which focused on forms/charts/tables/emails-a slightly different double passage question type, and probably the hardest for students. The tips were skimming the questions and choosing which passage to look at to find the answer. The chapter also focused on the different parts of the charts/forms/emails/tables in order to help students understand better where to look.

We started the class with the weekly vocabulary review. However, this time I gave them some individual study time to prepare before putting them into pairs. I think this worked better, but since it seems that many are not taking the time to work on the lists outside of class, I think quizzes or homework would be a solution; as I explained in a previous post, next year I will not base their mark solely on their test scores, but make participation a prominent part.

After we finished, we corrected Unit 21 Quiz, which was homework, but again I noticed that some had not finished, so once again, next time, I will ask them to submit the homework, if I give them such work to do. I may also ask students to help me with corrections as it may also help them review more.

Next, we began unit 28 and we went through the unit as we normally do, so I will not really explain the lesson in detail. We just did task 1 and task 2 which focused on the answering skills for the type of question mentioned above, and then they did the mini-quiz. After correcting the mini-quiz, I set Unit 28 Quiz for homework as well as vocabulary lists for next week. I did this because the listening part of the mock test will not take the full class, so before or after we finish, we can do some final review before the reading part of the mock test the final class.


I have pretty much decided that I will change the format of the lesson starting with the textbook, which for reasons explained previously - those being the length and difficulty - I will not use it again. As stated above, I am probably going to include homework that will have to be submitted and perhaps vocabulary quizzes to encourage students to study a little more. However, I have recently been considering two other things that could help students with regards to the TOEIC – the AWL and computers.

How might I use the AWL and computers in a TOEIC class you ask?

First of all, the AWL can be used for TOEIC, but it can also help with tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, which for those students who would like to go abroad, they would be required. Now, I haven’t searched extensively, but I have found one site that has online practice of the AWL, which I could have students use. There are quite a few exercises on this site, so I could let the students choose which activities that they would like to do, and let them work through the lists at their own pace. As for the actual words, I could have them make an online blog, or have them join facebook (I would have them join MIXI, but I cannot register as I don’t have a cell phone! I wonder how many of you were saying, ‘What? No cell phone? How is that possible? :)), and have the students post new words perhaps with its information or even have them try to write or find examples. Of course, I would have to look into how to do something like that because I have no experience with administrating a group like that, but perhaps it would be worth a try. As for listening practice, I could upload files for them to listen to (they would need headphones, of course, but I think most would), or have links to sites such as VOA, but of course, depending on the site, I would have to make up activities for them to use and that would limit their choice in what to listen to. This brings up the question of the textbook, but if I still wanted to use a textbook, I could have part of the class for that and then give them the rest of the class to work on their own.

Assessment/Evaluation Considerations

As for assessment, well I would have to think about this more, but perhaps I could still have quizzes, or I could give them a quota to meet each week, for example, you have to listen to so many recordings, or you have to show me that you studied so many words, that sort of thing. Of course, if I go this route, I will have some things to check out, and I’m sure that some things may not run smoothly in the beginning, but maybe it’s worth a shot.

Dogme and Renaming People

Since I was writing this post, I thought that I might as well respond to Darren, previously Daniel in my mind. I’m sorry about that; I have no idea why I was calling you Daniel, even referring to you as Daniel to my wife, but rest assured, I will not do it again.

I think you’re absolutely right about how Dogme like most new ways of thinking takes time to get used to, and how from my own experiences and preferences, it may be intimidating, and probably scary to try Dogme, especially since my classes tend to be big ones (25 to 40+) students. However, it is reassuring to hear someone else using such a method in a similar environment, and as you and Karenne have said, if I remember correctly, it doesn’t have to be the class, but it can be incorporated into it, so in that way it probably wouldn’t be as intimidating. That said though, it would be great to say Dogme in action with a large group, as I tend to be a visual learner, and as they say nowadays, ‘A webinar is worth a thousand on-line articles or is that twitters, or maybe its blogs?’. Anyway, I think many others out there, too, would appreciate such a demonstration to see how it can work. One last question though, Darren, before I go and buy or borrow the book (Yes, I’ve decided to go for it), since I assume you have tried Dogme ELT in your classes, and assuming many, but not all of your students are similar to mine in that they tend to use Japanese a lot and can be quiet, how do they react to Dogme ELT?


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