One of the great side effects of discovering and reading so many ideas online is that they begin to sink into my subconscious... ready to pop out during a class. I had no intention of doing a Live Listening the other week in class and hadn't really thought about it. I can't remember now what the original plan for the lesson was but I know we only got as far as the 10 minute warmer! Having now done a bit of backtracking I'm pretty sure the source comes from Scott Thornbury's Teaching Unplugged resource section. So thanks to Scott for his willingness to share so many of his ideas and experiences online!
I'd asked them to look at this handout from New English File
and some interesting and quite lengthy conversation ensued. It led on to a discussion about their own traditions and customs and quickly developed into a very lively debate about arranged marriages.
One lady had the whole class in stitches as she told the story of how she first met her husband. The atmosphere in class was so fun, everyone was laughing and I just couldn't bare to pull us away and into whatever I'd planned.
So instead... I wrote up some notes based on the story she'd told us on the whiteboard.
You can probably get the gist from the whiteboard... but basically she'd never met him, she'd seen a photo and agreed to marry him, then she saw him on her wedding day and he looked nothing like the photo. She said no but it was too late. Looking back she thinks he was just a bit tired and they are now very happy with three children!!
I then asked them to tell eachother their own stories of how they first met their husbands and make short notes as they listened. However, they had other ideas and convinced me instead to tell my story. I agreed with the proviso that it was nowhere near as funny as the first lady's story!
Well, it was great fun, they were actively listening, engaged and interested. When they weren't quite sure they understood they checked me with me and they had a great time doing it. After the story was over I asked them individually to make some notes - which they did with alacrity... one said that it was easy to remember! They then compared notes and I asked them to write my story up in full in groups giving them some discourse pointers to work with like first, next, then and in the end.
They produced some great pieces of writing, there was a lot of discussion and chat... no she didn't say that... it was like this ... oh yes that's right and in the end their problem wasn't that they didn't have enough to say it was that they'd remembered too much and didn't have time or space to get it all down.
The lesson ended there... but there was still so much we could have done... that's what's so interesting about teaching like this. The time seems to fly by... two hour sessions no longer seem long enough! (Don't tell my boss!)
So the next session we did some language feedback using these great English Raven templates that I've spoken about before. Again some really interesting things came out of it like a great discussion about conjunctions and how to use them.
Then finally I got them to tell eachother their own stories and orally feedback to the class what they'd heard. Again, lots of laughter and lots of language and nearly two sessions worth of 'material'!
Definitely a great moment or series of moments to add to my collection so thanks to Scott Thornbury and if you're interested Alex Case at TEFLtastic has written a very informative post with more info on Live Listenings!