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Thank goodness the holiday period’s over and, hopefully, some form of normality returns to this CAE group, although I have already been warned of some disruptions due to exams commitment, plus, not forgetting, the carnival’s around the corner! Never a dull moment!

Only one absentee today and we have a new student! He’d actually come last week – I didn’t blog about that class. Only two were present then. In the first hour we chatted and I explained my methods and the Wiki, and then we moved the class to a cafeteria, where we spent the next three hours in conversation! It was a good morning šŸ˜‰

When we’d rearranged the tables and they’d settled down, I beamed a slide up which says this:

  • Interview Alejandro
    • past
    • present
    • future
  • Discuss: has anything memorable happened to you during this recent holiday period?
  • Discuss: what are your personal goals for 2013?

They started speaking to each other while I took a back seat, but occasionally chipped in to encourage more activity and to throw in questions which demandĀ  third-person answers.

I also took the opportunity to ask for their opinion regarding their own progress since they began the course. The feedback was very positive, and almost unanimously they said that their speaking skills have improved inasmuch as they are more self-confident and are less worried about making errors.

Following that, I showed them two related videos on formal and informal letter writing.

For the first video, these were the questions they needed to answer:

  • What problems can arise if you are too formal in an informal email?
  • What problems can arise if you are too informal in a formal letter?
  • What do you write in the very beginning of a formal/an informal letter?

For the second, the task I set them was:

  • Try to remember some useful words or phrases from both formal and informal writing.
  • How do you end the letters?

They then did some controlled practice exercises from their exam coursebook, followed by a letter-writing activity. I gave them the choice of doing it at home or in class, and, unsurprisingly, the majority preferred to do it in class because, as with the other group, they don’t do many of their home assignments.

They did this quite fast while I went around suggesting corrections and improvements.

Taking notes while watching video by Chiew Pang

Taking notes while watching video by Chiew Pang. Copyright 2013

When we completed this stage, I wanted to lighten the mood a little, so I showed them the now-famous orang utan image. We talked about this for a while. Then, I set another writing task, but not circular writing this time. I asked them to dream up a dialogue between the man (well, all right, me) and the orang utan.

This was quite fun. When they finished, they read each other’s output, and had a few laughs.

My thoughts:

I was very pleased to have six students today, probably the first time I had six since the first day! If Santi had come, there would have been seven! The four hours went by quite quickly, and I think it did for them, too, as I didn’t notice any fidgeting at all; in fact, they were all still seated at 14:05, and I had to say, well, that’s the end of the class! Haha.

Or perhaps, they were all too exhausted to move!

Seriously, though, it felt like it was a productive class. There wasn’t much verbal error correction – a sign of better output? – but, yes, I was constantly dishing out suggestions and rectification during the written practice. I hope that it’s been of use to them.