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Getting there


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

First day, kind of interesting, not as nervous as I thought. Waiting for things to get going, one of the students asked me if it was ok to use the old textbook, so we had a deco at the contents, seems to be pretty similar. Chatting casually, nice.
Tried to start with a bang on time and found my watch was too fast, the chime went moments after I literally closed the door: later!! And in walk students right on time…and I’m starting to tell them off for being late:oops. Guess I was a bit nervous after all. But I want the overall tone to be professional. Setting out the goals, and how I assess, then intro vocab sheet. Kind of talking a lot, also putting up my blog and email addresses to suggest going there to get the excel vocab sheet file. I figure the method of translating and writing definitions will match back to their previous learning experiences of vocab, with a focus on autonomy in deciding which words to study. Unfortunately didn’t have the Oxford Economics dictionary to hand to show students, only my file and the textbook.
Wanting to change the pace, get students moving around, thinking about class rules, set up a dictation race and realized omg too late, the students can’t get out of their seats, the room’s too small!!!!! Didn’t have any ideas on how to change off the top of my head, seems like the contents of the rules are too heavy for easy memorization, too….Not a total success, but the students took it manfully and we all had a break. I guess they just liked being in groups, after all the concentrating on my teacher talk. Suppose I should have just gone into a make up your own rules routine. Been more productive?
After the break I launched into the importance of networking, trying to make the course as real as possible, emphasize the skills they’ll need out of uni. Trying to link up to an icebreaker, create your own namecard and network with the people in the room. BUT simply the idea of casual conversation openers seems to be new to students, when I T=S presented like, “This room is small, isn’t it?”, the S replies, “YES” and clams up. Kind of feel a dilemma between basic conversation skills and the need to make use of the special vocab here, like, I do not want to make the course a re-run of nova. So what do you do? Trying to explain that you have to sound good in the business world, I realized that no-one has a clue about altering things to sound good: still thinking on a personal, private conversation level: So, do you like Sophia? So-so. Scribbling up phrases like Yes, it’s one of the top universities in Japan. Or, if they really don’t like it, Yes, it has the most beautiful cherry blossoms in spring.
Things I thought I could take for granted will need to be trained: obviously need to get more learner-task centred here, do a consciousness- raising exercise on what sounds good, (gasoline transfer engineer/ gas station attendant/ pump jockey; lift for elevator;housewife/homemaker/caregiver; student/ Economics Major at Sophia University; I like Finance/ I’m particularly interested in Finance/ I specialize in Finance, particularly Derivatives ) and then asking them to rewrite some personal sentences in groups to make it sound better.
Also the whole concept of networking and its importance is not clear to them as students. Better get some Economist ads for business schools to illustrate, and have them read and think about what networking is, next year….The good thing is, students mixed and milled happily in the time allotted and didn’t seem to mind that they weren’t really performing as I had hoped.
I think they like me dancing around explaining away full of enthusiasm about networking and the importance of sounding good, simply the new concept in itself, but they can’t put it into practice right away. And I’m certainly on the go, in my business suit, feeling all professional and doing my best, trying to be an example for them. Or maybe I just like me that way, knowing it’s ok to make mistakes, that somehow my devotedness in itself will lift them into a frame of studying hard and enjoying exploring the world of Economics in English in and out of the classroom.
Students invited to take copies of the article on networking: and yes, I only had twenty for a class of thirty six, and they were all taken bar a couple, so there is a lot of interest here to build on :) Trying to make it real, up-to -date: gift of the gods, that timely article.
I’ve gotta get the rules copied. I’ve gotta get a room the right size. I’ve gotta get prints of the conversation openers, the conversation endings and the kind of questions they might want to ask in a networking situation, so they can at least clutch it as a scaffold when they mix and mill. I’ve gotta make a test for the second day, oh boy, so much to be done, so much to find out about how things work at uni.

Creating the Basic Motivational Conditions
1 Demonstrate and talk about your own enthusiasm for the course material and how it affects you personally. x
2 Take the students learning very seriously. x
3 Develop a personal realationship with your students. x
4 Develop a collaborative relationship with the students'parents.
5 Create a pleasant and supportive atmosphere in the classroom.
6 Promote the development of group cohesiveness. x
7 Formulate the norms explicitly, and have them discussed and accepted by the learners. x
8 Have the group norms consistently observed.
Total Strategies Used in Quadrant 1 5
Percentage of total strategies used in Quadrant 1 62.50%
Generating Initial Motivation
9 Promote the learners' language related valuse by presenting peer role models.
10 Raise the learners' intrinsic interest in the L2 learning process x
11 Promote 'integrative values by encouraging a positive and open-minded disposition towards the L2 and its speakers x
12 Promote the students' awareness of the instrumental values associated with the knowledge of an L2 x
13 Increase the students' expectancy of success in particular tasks and learning in general.
14 Increase the students' goal-orientedness by formulating explicit class goals accepted by them. x
15 Make the curriculum and the teaching materials relevant to the students. x
16 Help to create realistic learner beliefs.
Total Strategies Used in Quadrant 2 5
Percentage of total strategies used in Quadrant2 62.50%
Maintaining and Protecting Motivation
17 Make learning more stimulating and enjoyable by breaking the monotony of classroom events.
18 Make learning stimulating and enjoyable for the learners by increasing the attractiveness of the task.
19 Make learning stimulating and enjoyable for the learners by enlisting them as active task participants. x
20 Present and administer tasks in a motivating way. x
21 Use goal-setting methods in your classroom. x
22 Use contracting methods with your students to formalise their goal commitment.
23 Provide learners with regular experience of success.
24 Build your learners confidence by porviding regular encouragement. x
25 Help dimish language anxiety by removing or reducing the anxiety-provoking elements in the learning environment. x
26 Build your learners confidence in their learning abilities by teaching them various learner strategies.
27 Allow learners to maintain a positive social image while engaged in the learning tasks.
28 Increase student motivation by promoting cooperation among the learners. x
29 Increase student motivation by actively promoting learner autonomy.
30 Increase the student' self-motivating capacity.
Total Strategies Used in Quadrant3 6
Percentage of total strategies used in Quadrant 3 42.80%
Encouraging Positive Self-Evaluation
31 Promote effort attributions in your students.
32 Provide students with positive information feedback.
33 Increase learner satisfaction.(celebrate achievements, display work)
34 Offer rewards in a motivational manner.
35 Use grades in a motivating manner, reducing as much as possible their demotivating impact. x
Total Strategies Used in Quadrant 4 1
Percentage of total strategies used in Quadrant 4 20%
Taken from Doernyei, Z. Motivational Strategies in the Classroom. Cambridge University Press 2001