Evening 5 (Tues 2012-01-24)
This evening had three parts:
- 18:00-19:00 Presenting New Language
- 19:00-19:30 Class management
- short break
- 19:45-21:00 Teaching Practice Preparation
1. Presenting New Language through a situation
The warm up exercise was identification of grammatical errors. I didn’t get the connection with “situation” but perhaps there wasn’t any. Class started off working in pairs, discussing what was wrong with sentences like: “Did you ever eat snake?” (would that look incorrect to an American?) Or, more obviously, “Has he been a good student when he was at school?” – so a mixture of tenses.
Then we moved on to watch a video of John Shepheard teaching a language class. The theme, or situation, centred around travelling abroad. John Shepheard was (is?) a bit of a hero of our tutor but I can’t find any videos of him on the web so I’m guessing it was a while ago. We glanced at how JS set the context, what aids he used, modelled sentences, contracted “been” to “bin”, “he has” to “he’s” etc, repetition, choral, individual, group work and so on.
2. Class Management (30mins)
Working in pairs, discuss whether these are “Do’s” or “Don’ts”: Do stand on your instruction-giving spot. Don’t tell students what they will do after the activity. Do check understanding through concrete evidence. And so on. Then handouts (Michael Lewis & Jimmie Hill, 1985) to read in our own time. 17 pages of them. Isn’t this covered in the recommended Scrivener or Harmer books?
3. Teaching Practice Preparation (75mins)
Looking back at my notes I see that I wrote that it’s better to say “In pairs” rather than “I’d like you to get into pairs” – something I should have remembered on Thursday’s teaching practice class, but didn’t. Oh well!
There were some worked exercises: given verbose instructions, make into succinct, direct instructions. This was particularly uninteresting. No way would I have uttered these artificially wordy instructions in the first place. I found myself skimming it – and then, when asked to give my interpretation to class, I got caught out 😦
Working in groups of three, trainees were given a game and asked how we would instruct EFL learners to play it. Ours was a mutual crossword. What instructions would we give to complete it? We struggled with this a bit. The starting point had to be the assumption that students wouldn’t know what a crossword was. Really?
As an example, where Student B’s crossword had three blanks, student A’s crossword had JAM, and at the bottom of the page was a picture of a frilly-topped jar next to the word JAM. If student A really didn’t know what jam was then this picture surely wouldn’t have helped him. So basically I disliked the game, couldn’t come up with clear instructions in the short time, and didn’t write the instructions out boldly on the A2 paper provided.
When the time was up, we walked around the other three groups, looking at what instructions they’d written for their games. They’d done a lot better.
I didn’t feel especially motivated by any of the day’s lessons. Perhaps this was due in part to worries about the imminent teaching practice (in two days’ time).