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Getting there


Monday, April 11, 2005

Well, the new term starts tomorrow and I have been cooking with it these past three days, waking up in the mornings with ideas or having fleeting thoughts on things during the day. I kind of reserved the whole day today for actual put it into reality sort of work, starting this morning by throwing out old papers and bumph and making sure I have a new file, plus pulling out the old student papers and my teacher files from the first term last year.

Not sure about goals and objectives, which is what my last essay was about, sort of more interested in how my lesson flows, or hooks together. I have cut the classroom rules (see blue text below) mightily down to size, making them less wordy so that they can be taken in at more of a glance (don't I just love wordiness,, mmm those delicious little midgets of arabesque expression) and adding a wee exercise at the bottom to scaffold students talking about which rules they like and why. This is an extension of last year, where I was popping up the words on the board...this time I have used the pencilled stuff i noted down, important expressions for stating opinions( important, self-evident, problematic et al), along with gently hinting at how we use synonyms to avoid repeating the same words as we go...see how rule, guideline, precept and policy function. This is indeed a wee fruit of my discourse cohesion studies, or perhaps the vocab lexis studies from Birmingham uni MA course, although genius me already had the find a definition or synonym in the third part of my vocab sheet which I plan to use again this year too....

1. Please bring study materials including a dictionary. Switch mobile phones to manner mode.

2. Come to class on time. Being late disturbs the class.

3. The brain needs oxygen and water: drink in class. Make use of opportunities to breathe and stretch in a non-disruptive way.

4. Respect the teacher, respect yourself. I expect you to do your best. Help other students, explain, discuss, share your expertise.

5. Please speak in English in group/pairwork activities. Do homework to prepare for speaking in pairwork/group activities.

6. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes.

7. Listen carefully to the teacher’s instructions. Take notes. If necessary, ask the teacher to repeat. Call the teacher when you don’t understand.

8. Make things real…how can you make your learning useful for life after university? The goal of the course is to broaden your English Economics vocabulary and help you talk intelligently about your economic knowledge in English.

9. Any more you rules you can think of? We can discuss adding or changing rules at any time.
Please complete and discuss in English with a partner:

1. I think the rule “………” is most important because….

2. I think the guideline “………” is self-evident because….

3. I think the precept “………” is desirable because….

4. I think the policy “………” may be problematic because….

Which then links nicely after a wee feedback session into rule 6. about not being afraid to learn from mistakes, and I plan to ask the students if they think you can be a world leader if you make a lot of mistakes in English, and to write the answer on their name slips, and then ha ha, have them try and correct the collected mistakes of President Bush. http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/blbushisms.htm

And then before the break, see if they have changed their minds about English mistakes preventing you from being a world leader...

This activity is a brainwave of a lady in Korea, Jessica , Gumi, South Korea, blueberry3671@hotmail.com discovered and taken from Dave's esl cafe, http://www.eslcafe.com/ideas/sefer.cgi?display:1094100092-45105.txt which I went to on the serendiptous hint from a Houghton Mifflin speaker we were listening to at JALT Yokohama yesterday. This is so serendipitous, cos he was talking about selling US textbooks and how Korea are snapping them up, and en passant in private how you can read about the situation of efl teachers there, so I was reading a bit on dave's esl bulletin, and after vicariously exploring korean teaching, I moved onto the Idea Cookbook for Business English...bingo!

After the break I plan to introduce the vocabulary sheets, which you can read all about around April May in my archives, hmm, let me type it in later here, now then Tuesday April 20th 2004, and then run the exercise sensitizing students to collocational uses of economic words...and that will link up to section four of the vocab sheet, which is about learning words in relevant and up-to-date context, so they can be used. I have sent the essay I wrote on the whole consciousness-raising shebang in as a chapter for a book, wondering if it will be accepted, so not going to go into too much detail now, top secret, Hah! somebody write and tell Tom Farrell of the LTR series it is a work of genius and needs to get published! I live in hope... I fear I have not quite got the hang of the academic genre yet...so many ways to say the same thing, or is it then not the same thing??? I like my blog. Safety in my own space, comfy in my own wording of my experience. Oh the politics of academia and professionalism, long live blogs.

So then after that, assuming we can navigate in fifty minutes, and I think with a previous student example and my knowledge of what confused people last time to go by it should work, I have rearranged the reading text from the textbook to be rewritten in a cell phone version for homework, to help students think a) about the various sectors of the economy and b) how they fit in to it, which should flow nicely into networking for next week, what is your life economy, as it were, and who are your resources...plus a bit of work on labelling industries, methinks, and considering if recycling is the fourth sector of the economy or not, but that is charging into week two. MMMMM feeling good to go, blessed to have access to such wonderful students.

Big hurdle tomorrow is to get a uni account set up, I want to have more of my worksheet files up and available for absentees, and not have students post to my private email, but to a uni one, so that way I can save all their vocab sheets and have the data online for some kind of research (??) Can I hack the techno stuff? Trepidation.