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Getting there


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stood at the door today to catch latecomers and wrote L on all their papers, after ten minutes late i began to write the times, and asked for train slips. One student dripping with sweat came really late, and told me the trains were running late by ten minutes, so I credited for that and began class with my wee lecture on vocab and collocations in Japanese using the put on your hat, put on your gloves, put on your shoes example.

Talked about the phrase suffering damage rather than receiving damage which latter is a literal translation from the Japanese, and which I saw a lot of in the homework texts on investment criteria.

Okay, so no more latecomers, handed out the rubrics, asked teams to congregate in their research groups and then handed out the color slips of paper to separate the banks into red, green, yellow, etc. Two absent students had done no research preparation and had not managed to contact me...I asked them to listen in. What with absences and the two we only had seven discussion groups.

As I wandered round listening in and prompting, it hit me that group leaders had not necessarily checked the Day 4 Group Leadership Worksheet for hints on how to conduct the discussion. One student was redefining the parameters of what to do, rather than asking each Manager in turn for a recommendation with justification, was asking for comparison of one particular criteria across the board. Which also makes sense, to set up a total field analysis, boxed and gridded, I had thought of giving everyone the grids to make notes on as the discussion progressed, but this time I was more interested in having people making a short recommendation and then responding to questions on other particular criteria, rather than on the overall discussion following a business like checklisting pattern or progress. I dithered over that decision in the staffroom and decided not to go for notes but more for talking....

Big mistakes of the day was putting my best speakers in charge of separate banks, with the dual role of group leader and researcher in charge of Malaysia. Basically I thought each fluent speaker would a) cope well with extra load of the dual role b) be able to coax other people to talk and maintain the flow of discussion.

This would have worked if other people had been more researched and prepared overall, but what happened is that each group descended into Japanese or hesitant speech, and because more fluent speakers were always isolated, no group ever really got gutsy. When I look at the preparation which was handed in with the rubrics i am heartened, because I see some good solid thinking and preparation in there, at least on the criteria people were asked to invest, if not the whole gamut of criteria related to the country, but although people were learning to manipulate and work with a lot of data and how to present it in a short time or concisely, I think the use of English was not as smooth as I had hoped.

After class a couple of people came to me to say they had tried to maintain an English flow, but that it had been impossible as the group lost track, failed to understand or cooperate, so that for group leaders it seems to have been a pretty frustrating experience. At least three of my more fluent students were hitting this frustration.

Hmm, I said as we wandered off home, we're recycling the language from the vocab sheet, the classroom rules, we worked on the language in the group leadership worksheet and I'm handing out scaffolding sheets for people who need visual support, I've given you text-to- speech site addresses, I think if you really want to speak, you can prepare and do so.

That's my job, to help you want to.how can I increase the willingness to speak?..kinda like leading a horse to water syndrome...I admitted my separating out fluent speakers had deprived them of a chance to enjoy with each other...a management thing I have to notice...and perhaps some time the university will split groups into streaming, (although in some ways I am not all for it, but today my calculations on the will and investment of effort by less fluent students was somewhat idealistic) well, it's the first period, everyone is sleepy, I guess, ...

Ho hum, but since there is a lot of research and thinking involved it's not possible to switch countries at short notice, although someone else can do the group leader....I must say I didn't notice much summarizing going on on the part of group leaders...hmmmm...I have heard the voices of some group leaders, who were frustrated, I wonder what other people think/ time to do a wee anonymous survey next week, methinks, as well as get the permission to use student work for my research purposes.