Image by Dan Belton
So... lots to reflect on after today - some real highs and some areas to work on!
The moment when a Polish, male learner could not stop laughing. I have no idea what set him off but it looked like he was laughing at his Asian, female partner whilst she was speaking. I'm sure he wasn't! But dynamics in a class of boisterous, flirtatious Polish guys with strict Muslim ladies isn't always the easiest and it could have gone oh so wrong! But we were using what came up in the classroom so I taught them got the giggles. Up it went on the board. We chatted about what to say in similar situations to avoid offense e.g. "so sorry I've got the giggles". By the end my Asian ladies were laughing and thanking him for teaching them new language :-) Later one of the ladies also got the giggles, which everyone loved pointing out.
The creativity and variety of stories that came out of the reverse reading on Saira's Day ... from Valentine's Day surprises and a house decorated in celebration of a birthday to a special trip to the seaside and the return of a long-lost sister.
The noticing that went on when I let them be the teachers whilst they were correcting eachother's texts. For example, "Anna they've spelt morning wrong haven't they?" "No, no that's right." "Ohhh ... I've spelt mornign wrong haven't I?" "Yep... but it's great that you noticed!!"
The level of engagement and activity as they started their own coursebooks in their notebooks, used texts they were genuinely interested in, checked new vocab with me and eachother, wrote their own questions and had a laugh correcting their partner's mistakes and successes.
Areas to work on!
Language feedback! I love the principles and ideals behind Teaching Unplugged and the many many ideas contained within. Including the one I tried today. I can 'set it up'... I can 'let it run'.... but I need to get so much better at 'rounding it off'. Orally taking in what they are saying, how they are saying it and how I can move it forward is a real area of development for me. I can focus on content, I can focus on form and I can focus on ways to improve but not all at the same time. Not yet anyway. So in the first class... we just did content feedback. In the next class I did write up some good examples of language I'd noticed and then we fedback onto the board some more ways you could keep a conversation going e.g. follow up questions, appropriate contributions, discourse markers etc... But I have a long way to go in terms of developing that vital teaching skill!
Making time for vocab! Recycling vocab is so important and I don't give enough time for it... and again we ran out of time before I could try out Cecilia's great ideas! So first thing next week... ;-p
Overall impressions of the day...good... the learners were engaged and enjoying the activities and once again... I was left wishing we had more time. Instead of scrambling to fill the time with anything and everything, letting the break drag on a little too long etc... we were really using the time and there's always so much more that could be done. With the notebooks as coursebooks session they only got as far as answering eachother's questions in the books. The listenings, the dictogloss, the projects... haven't even got there yet.
There's a lot to learn and I'm a long way from where I want to be but there were more than enough moments to feather my magpie's nest with today. So thanks again ELT bloggers you're transforming my teaching world :-)