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Getting there


Thursday, April 15, 2004

Well, this Thursday class is nice, we have a nice sunny room, hot even, none of this basement and neon stuff, even able to open the windows.
Had all the prints laid out on a table at the back for students to pick up as they came in, the classroom rules, the networking sheet, the article, nice to feel prepared, know where the printing machine is this time. Wnadered round greeting early birds, talking about watches and cell-phones, I realize there's no clock in the classrooms here and I don't have a watch any more. One guy had a really cool watch, present from his girlfriend, nice intro, good way to start, before the group solidifies into a let's study seriously mode, get a feel for the people. I notice once the class starts, people don't like to listen to other people talking in casual conversation, and don't join in. Wonder if uni students are the same? But there's the huge matter of the Economics vocab here, and the task at hand. I told them right away the class is not about casual conversation, they could go to a private company for that. And set out the goals. had a nice wee chalked up list of dictionaries , the textbook, and my e-mail addy, saved scribbling up frantically with my bum wiggling.
Got a bit of flow going here, second time round is always more fun, more aware of the pitfalls and holes in planning...so i have discarded the dictation race in favor of a read the rules, think about which rule you like best and why and stand up and tell as many people as possible activity. Asking them to use phrases like: I think blah blah (the rule) is most important because... and I think (blah blah) is self-evident because... and I think blah blah is problematic because.... Over shot the mark with this, KEEP IT SIMPLE RENATA, all the lovely new words like problematic and self-evident, which as I said to them , i said, are really useful for arguing a point and talking in presentations, were too much input. Or rather too much to expect them to produce immediately, I think the whole idea of the importance of the words themselves and how useful they are struck a note. Like interested them.
Sort of meant to be an icebreaker in that it's interesting to see what other people think. I neglected to tell them I think the rule about being able to renogotiate any rule is the most important.....not creating enough time here for whole class feedback, just hit the break, but then they can go to the loo with their new made friends, or get into a wee conversation, so no sweat, i guess. After break I launched right into networking... Next year I'll give them a choice of activity: either get in a group and brainstorm as many rules as poss, or do the above activity in small groups. Not so much milling around, but getting to know small group members, and involves choice. Now why don't I think of this when I'm planning????Always polishing, always improving. I guess that's part of the attraction of teaching. Challenged every time. Alive :)
So anyway, networking, and running through it pretty much like Tuesday, scribbling up a couple more personal examples as students answer my question: Why did you choose to study Economics? It was close by becomes It's located at the heart of Japan's capital, in touch with the pulsse of the nation. It's a good university became It's one of the best in Japan, the teaching is excellent. Because I got in became "The educational standards are extremely high", that sort of thing. One student came up with: "I chose Economics because it trains disciplined and innovative thinking." Bingo! They're getting it ;) I thought, and launched them into exchanging name-cards, launched into the activity myself, only as always i'm so busy twirling and whirling I never manage to really remember the names and faces of even the few I do talk to as I wander round, scaffolding and doing it. But I remember the incredible feeling I got when I was a pseudo student in Wayne's class and he interacted with me, somehow he transformed into Harrison Ford, so i reckon moving down into the class and participating is really important, even if i don't remember the names.
Couple of students at the back were really lost, hadn't been following the handout, didn't understand the conversation openers, the lot, not a clue...but no time to reteach the whole thing...kind of fudged, practiced only the opener, pointed to where it was on the sheet and wandered off : P
All too soon the time was up, I had three student name cards in my hand, and a couple of students were staying behind to reconfirm how to fill in the vocab sheet, which doubles as an attendance sheet, and to reconfirm the pages in the textbook, 9-11. Wonder how many will e-mail me for the excel version, had four from the Tuesday class so far, great students today, worked hard...

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. x
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 7
Percentage of total strategies used in Quadrant 3 50%
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