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Getting there


Thursday, October 14, 2004

sitting down to this late today, flaked out after coming home....and so, what happened today?

I got to class only five odd minutes early, and as students worked on vocab sheets I wrote up the class schedule on the board. I could see all students were working nicely, using the English format to check each other's work, and I supervised a couple of late-comers to make sure they went through properly, meaning they couldn't cover all the words, and scolded another pair who had come too late but just whipped through the marking without checking carefully verbally , telling them I would not accept their work. They sheepishly moved back to their chosen seats, and we launched into the homework, most people had really prepared.

Asking some students by name if they got nervous, and offering some ideas for how to combat it, since brainstorming fell flat. Then we went through the handout on DELIVERY, no big thrills, just concentrated listening exercises, and then had a five minute break. In the break I checked with some of the students if they had ever studied the wherefore of presentations like this, and they said no, that it was useful and interesting.

I started the class on time after the break even though some of the students were not back, but I wanted to set the tone. TEAM TECHNIQUES in focus, using repetition of key items in different voices to link up partner speeches, and questions to involve the audience, and so on. The great thing about pushing through an exercise sheet like this is that it's kind of head down and do it stuff, look for things, underline, realize, recognize and I know all the names to call on people to offer an answer after having time to consider and talk briefly with peers, and it gets the basics out there quickly. How they implement the information remains to be seen as they work in groups next week.

Then I asked them to make their groups, write me a wee paper with the names of group members, and choose a topic. I had five different topics, double of each, and fortunately there were no problems, every team seemed to find one they wanted, rather than everyone going for the same one and everyone feeling they'd lost out. Felt blessed, and lucky! One of the students asked if it was ok to expand the topic information beyond the sheet i had provided: "yes, " i replied, "of course" delighted with the autonomous suggestion, and passed on the query to all the students, mentioning who had asked...great stuff, i said. Go for it!

So that was a bit of movement and shifting of chairs and places, and then we shunted into the last part of the exercises which was a short listening on intro structures ( finding the correct order), practising the "By the end of the presentation, you will know key concepts related to Accounting/ Bonds/ Exchange Rates" with emphasis and pauses in chorus, which at first they mumbled about, but when i said this was not pronunciation practice but delivery practice, they all hotted up to, and then just filling in for/of/ about/on etc. phrasal verbs with linking sentences, to give them some filler phrases to move the presentations along smoothly.

Finished a couple of minutes early, so there's no homework, said one student to another, of course there is, said another, we've got to think about this presentation! Too right, mate! Marched off, chatting on the stairs to two of my students about summer activities, tennis and football and me being at Hiroshima for the Birmingham Uni summer seminar...