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Getting there


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Today after dumping my heavy bag I headed for the loo before class, had a word with a friend of a student who has been absent too many times to get credit for the class, and then as the bell went for class, asked everyone to begin vocab sheets. I put away past papers, or students spend time picking up their work in vocab checking time, then stood at the door to catch latecomers.

Most had train tickets, seems to have been delays, but a couple didn't, so I marked their sheets and will detract marks for being late. Stood at the door acting as a checker for two students, then called everyone to hand in the papers. As I launched into the day, two students suddenly handed in papers two minutes late,,,,I stopped in mid-sentence and said you same guys did this to me last week, and deducted two points for being late...I hope they get it in on time next time.

Everyone sat in their countries, and I handed out the rubrics, and explained a high listening and thinking rubric mark meant taking notes and using questions about different criteria, and to take notes in the grid on the back as evidence. (YES< Today I have included the grid with criteria and country names for notetaking on the back of the rubrics)

I also said this was the chance to speak, and that group leaders who were getting a bonus were there to help by reformulating and summarizing, so that they were in a mini-teacher role today, and to make use of fluent students' skills positively. Then handed out colored slips. Three Canadian researchers were absent, which put a hole in some discussions, but the first round of discussions had five teams in favor of Canada, two for Senegal and one each for Malaysia and South Korea. The second round had six in favor of Canada, one for Senegal and South Korea and Malaysia was dumped.

Ok, great, get comments on your rubrics and hand them in, and no homework except next week there will be an open book test on investment criteria, so make sure you review what we've been doing. ...Kinda thing.

As I walked round I pointed to how the two worksheets I had prepared could scaffold the conversation to make it more business-like, and reaffirmed here and there that in group interviews even in Japanese it was important technique to make notes of names and use them in discussion, to have a portfolio of research to draw on to make an impression, and to ask questions and ask for clarifications actively.

The discussion was great, nice atmosphere in the classroom, although sometimes I heard smatterings of Japanese...I have a feeling the quality of the Tuesday research was a little more intense, but conversely the data manipulation and discussion structure in English seemed better in this class ( the grid with criteria and the Japanese translations helped).

I made a slip-up with one absent student who asked me what to do, and I said it's too late to research, you'll not get the credit for the discussion...they were asking this in the middle of an explanation moment, like, I need to tell students to see me right before class starts if they have an issue, not in the middle of nowhere or everywhere as I try to manage the class...At any rate theykind of sat down, I only had half a moment of attention as I was speaking to everyone, and I realized at the end of the first discussion this student was sitting there reading the stagflation article, not participating. Oh dear, I said, you need to join the discussion, listen in, start to use the concepts, even if you haven't prepared any research you can take notes and be an active listener, or even ask for criteria....But you said I get no credit, they protested....okay, sure, you can get credit on some rubrics, I said, didn't apologize there which I could have, because my response to them initially had been unclear. The basic pattern which is problematic is addressing student issues inbetweentimes when they suddenly pop up at me with a problem when I'm in the middle of something else.