On Monday, I met the class for the first time. It was supposed to be the previous Monday, but due to misunderstandings or misinformation, they weren’t told. This is a group comprising of primary, and some secondary, school teachers (from the same school), and my task is to bring them up to B2 level by June. *clears throat*
Class will be once a week, and lasting 2 hours.
Room: Computer lab! Whoopee! Computers on each table, projector, and a chalk board! Wow – do these still exist? Haha. Thankfully, I could write quite well on it unlike some I’ve come across! There is also enough space between the tables for me to weave in and out.
The first thing I did, without even introducing myself, although some of them, no doubt, would have been told about me, I wrote five words:
Their task, I said, was to ask the questions of which these were the answers. The first responses were yes/no questions such as “Are you British?”, which had to be reformulated, naturally.
This activity went quite well although it became clear to me the enormity of my goal, or rather that of my employer. I would categorise these students at A1 or A2 level. *Great! Another challenge! Haha*
After some coaxing and prompting, they succeeded in coming up with legitimate questions. I then asked them what level they thought they had. Without exception, they said, “Basic”. So, in no uncertain terms, I told them that they would need to work extremely hard by themselves, and that we would then devote the 2-hour class to conversation and clarification of doubts.
Extending the questioning activity, I directed them to a needs analysis I’d previously prepared in Google Docs. They were tasked to “interview” each other to fill in the information of their partner, and this was what I sought:
Topics of interest
Tech Level (0-5)
I also asked “What would you like to do in class?” grading from 0 (= never) to 5 (= always).
This part of the lesson suffered some delays, principally because Internet Explorer doesn’t cope very well with Google Docs. Fortunately, albeit surprisingly, they were allowed to download Chrome. The other initial hiccup was that they weren’t used to seeing a document being updated “live” by someone else, and they kept writing over someone else’s details!
When this was done, I told them that I will have another document, and this will be the class notebook, where all of us can write on it. This will work better than having a blog, for example, especially seeing that all of them classified their tech level as “2” or “3” in the needs analysis.
Here, I had the links to Flo-Joe’s word bank, my blogs (directing them, in particular, to my Useful Resources page), and my ScoopIts on International Exams and Grammar Exercises. I also told them that I will inform them of any tasks that I want them to do in this document. When I got home I appended these three questions:
What did you learn today?
What would you like to do in the next class?
What did you like or didn’t like about today’s class?
I added that they should choose a colour each to identify themselves, but if they wish to remain anonymous, they could write in my colour, which is black.
Going back to the day’s lesson, here are a few other activities I did:
- A short Move-it! around the halfway stage to liven things up a little.
- Truth or lie (with just one student only as it didn’t work very well because he didn’t do it seriously. It did, however throw up a word new to them: six-pack).
- I asked each student to construct two sentences about themselves. Just to ensure that they were paying attention and that they could manage third person constructions comfortably, I surprised them, every now and then, by asking about someone else instead: What did she say? Are you sure?
- At the end of the lesson, we reviewed what they thought they’d learned.
this/that/these/those (Those who are wearing trainers, sit down!) Also: pronunciation drilling.
have/have got (He doesn’t have/hasn’t got a six-pack) Especially: negatives and interrogatives.
like/hate + -ing (I like sewing)
flat (Who lives in a flat?)
What I liked: They understood my instructions; they understood the context of what I was saying, if not all the words. All of them had a chance to speak.
What I didn’t like: I wasted some time on the tech side, and I was, perhaps, talking more than I would have liked to. However, this being the first lesson, there were a lot of instructions, clarification, etc.
What I subsequently wasn’t too pleased about is the fact that only three so far had written on the class notebook, so the tasks remained undone. The three questions I asked there are to be the springboard from which the course will spring, but now?
And I thought they were motivated…