Monday, May 17, 2010

Another week, another post...

Hey everyone,

I’ve realized that I haven’t introduced my Monday and Friday classes, so today I will quickly go through my morning courses for those days.

Monday Morning = Friday Morning = Last Semester

Actually, these courses are pretty much the same as last semester. I had planned to do both classes in a computer room, but unfortunately, due to various reasons, it did not happen, so this semester I am in a regular classroom, but it is not too bad because it gives me a change from being in the computer room most of the time.

I had planned to do more focused listening activities like those I do in my other classes which take place in the computer room, but as that is pretty much impossible, I try to give them the regular listening practice that is done with a CD player. However, before I have them listen to a dialogue, I dictate the questions. The textbook also has, depending on the unit, some extra listening practice which I also use. Finally, I have students make their own conversation and present it after a specified time limit during which they have to practice and remember the dialogue. Here is an example:

As you can see, I give students a lot of support, but I encourage them to use their own ideas as much as possible.

So, just to recap, both Monday and Friday morning communication classes follow this pattern:

Review Test
Question Dictation
Listening Comprehension
Conversation Practice
Listening Activity
Conversation Construction and Presentation

Impression so far

I think the class is going well overall, but it would be interesting to try this in the computer room as I could have them do more extensive listening and dictation-type activities. I guess in many ways, I am focusing more on students’ passive understanding rather than active this year, and I know that some of you may not agree with such a style, but honestly, I like this new direction, and it will be interesting to see the class evaluation in the future. Actually, maybe it might be a good idea to get their opinion sooner, but as I read on ELT news a while back, consistency is important and I agree with that. If I have to completely change a class midway, wouldn’t that interrupt everything?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank you for your comments everyone!

Whoops, I almost forgot. Thank you Darren, Karenne, Fernando and Angela for your comments on my last blog post commentaphobia. It’s nice to hear that you have felt or still feel the way I do. Recently, things have been busy, so I haven’t really been keeping up with what’s been going on, but I hope I can get back on the horse soon.


eisensei is not dead...yet

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I posted anything about my classes, but to be honest, I am attempting something quite different this semester, something which doesn't give me a lot to talk about in the way I used to last year. For example in today's class, which focuses on academic English, I have my students work individually in a computer room. I give them a short quiz based on the academic word list in the beginning of class based on example sentences that I record and post on my site for them to listen to, and then I give them a handout that explains in detail what they have to do. Here is the handout I give them. If they do not finish before the end of class, I give them a deadline by which they have to submit the work.

Lesson Guide

Academic English – Unit 3 Life Sciences
May 11, 2010

Read all steps before you start!

1. Do pages 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 B.

2. Correct your answers.

3. Put your book away, and go to my webpage, ********************************

4. Under ‘Basic Skills for the TOEFL iBT – Dictation Unit 3’, click on listening file.

5. Do the dictation in your notebook. Double space.

6. Check your dictation with your book. Use a COLOR pen (red, green etc).

7. Give me your notebook.

8. On the same webpage, click on Academic Word List Official Homepage. Then click on Sublist 3.

9. Read all the words. Look up the words that you don’t know in your dictionary.

10. Go back to my webpage. Under ‘Academic Word List - Vocabulary Listening Practice WORD LIST 3 Vocabulary’ click on the listening file. Listen and repeat.

11. Go back to the AWL Sublist 3.

12. Choose ONE exercise from each group (total SIX exercises) and answer the questions. Make sure you answer all questions correctly (A correct answer will have the :-) symbol).

13. Copy and paste all exercises in Microsoft Office Word.


15. Email me the file as an attachment.

16. Then go back to the same webpage and under ‘Academic Word List - Vocabulary Listening Practice WORD LIST 3 Example Sentences’ click on the listening file. Listen and repeat.

If you do not finish, the deadline is 1 PM Friday May 14, 2010.
Put your textbook work and your dictation in the SAME notebook.
On Tuesday May 18, 2010, there will be a REVIEW TEST for AWL Sublist 3.


My overall impression so far is that I think this works quite well. This was our 3rd class following this style and after working out the initial bugs, for example, in the first class, there was too much to do, so I had to reduce the amount, and then there was getting students use to the format of the class, using computers and so on, I think things are now running smoothly. First of all, students are getting very intensive listening practice with the dictation I provide for them. The textbook is at a level that requires some preview before class, which some students are actually doing; in the past, this number would almost be non-existent. They are also able to learn much academic vocabulary in context as well as through example sentences provided on a website I have them use. Also, this style of class allows all students to finish even if some have to work throughout the week to do so. This would not be so easy to do if I gave instructions and time limits orally in class. Finally, as there are answer keys available, students are able to self-correct their work and get immediate feedback.