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Getting there


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thursday, Autumn Semester Day 2

I began class by greeting everyone, reminding them of the meaning of the English intros to checking vocabulary (useful phrases for discussion) and asked students to go ahead and work with someone new. I helped a couple of people find new partners, and asked two to work with two newcomers, who had not done the homework. (I notice one signed into the yahoo group yesterday evening, too late to ask for help in face of confusion....)

As everyone worked, I wrote up the book recommendation, the flow of the class, and the topics for the presentations. When people began handing in the work, I was pleased to see most had thought about the rubrics, and on the train home i was happy to read comments...more on that when I'm not so tired.

Well, so I explained about going to the computerroom next week, and asked everyone to get into groups and choosed a topic, which all went smoothly, after which I began to hand out the worksheet, and noticed too late one group has seven members ( I only have six groups, i suggested some people could break away and go head-hunting to make one more group, but everyone was happy staying put).

Basically I quickly explained how to use the worksheet, and off we went, with me modelling. Ok, time to check your answers in your group. I went round prompting people to already think about changing things for their topic, and to begin practicing the greeting and set up who would speak first, second and so on for the introduction, and make notes of who would say what when.

Then we checked the answers, and hit the break. I popped to the loo, and had fun chatting about summer holidays with some of my students, but then we headed back to work. We had lost a couple of people to the smoking area, but I decided they could hit the ground running and we moved into how to end a presentation. Same pattern, number the moves and then consult with your group. The middle group needed prompting, what with being back late, so I reminded them they could consult one member who was holding the fort, and supported their answers. Between them they get it right :) .

Finally I asked students to think about how to respond to /evade responding to questions, and after helping a while here and there, I just explained the answers, ( I was slower getting to this point compared to Tuesday because I had given students more time to already think how to adapt it to their presentation topic), happily heard Japanese murmurs of "Oh this is useful" " Yes, absolutely"sort of thing, as we moved into chorusing the phrases, which everyone did heartily, what with thinking it useful. Again I explained that we'd have no time for real questions inbetween presentations, so to make sure to use these phrases every week.

Finally I handed out the topic worksheets and the answersheet, (having forgotten them on Tuesday I just gave out the answers on a printed sheet). Explained how to open a new folder and post files in the yahoo group, and how to email each other personally using the yahoo ids rather than personal mail and phone numbers as people did last year. I didn't warn about abuse, and how i would punish it. I prefer to think there will be no abuse, and if it crops up I will get shirty at the time, if ever, and ban someone. There was definitely no abuse of personal info last year and I didn't warn anyone or anything, so i'm waiting to see if the whole id thing being less personal will incite someone to see it as more of a game, but otherwise I'm trusting we're all adult and businesslike. I also pointed out links, suggesting beginning with wikipedia, and the link to the online financial glossary in eemsophia.

Meanwhile I was going round groups making sure they realized that there were things that could be initiated, like research and getting a basic feel for the topic. In a last gasp on the chime I recapitulated at the front, suggesting someone already work on handout vocabulary, another go get a basic definition, a third memorize the intro and ending (reworked provisionally) and a fourth go for the concrete example, a fifth think about the implications, pros and cons of a particular topic. During the last ten minutes I had really focused on organizing and leading one group which has two newcomers, because they need to get a feel for the class attitude, and it's kind of one with a mix of different yeargroups, so not so much gel through hanging out together all the time. I'm hoping they'll gel and integrate over the presentation preparation, and then over the term get to really gel with the whole class.

Finally I mentioned in a further final last gasp on/after?? the chime the book, economics and language, that I have reserved in the library, and said thank you for the good work on the rubrics, and we all went home.

I feel like I had better pacing on Tuesday, but that today people really got more of a feel of the fact that they're going to present in two weeks time, perhaps because I prompted people to begin reworking the exercises 'beginning a presentation' for their group and topic, rather than just doing it as an exercise sheet with techniques to be applied later. So although I moved more slowly, when it came to grouping and brainstorming already people were more focused. Maybe it's just my own having taken control of and focused a particular group, dishing out different things for each member to prepare for next week, which made me feel overall that that one group was representative of the class. So that really overall Tuesday and Thursday are the same, only I was busy delegating and leading today, so I feel overall Thursday has more clarity????

Ah well, time to take in the futons and begin thinking about cooking supper....I'm trying not to think of the piles of vocab sheets I have to look over, and put in my excel file with attendance, nor the fact that I have to really work out if there's a general acceptance of the rubrics or not, and to report and summarize the opinions for everyone...teacher homework! And I want to customize my delivery worksheet, rather than just copy a textbook like last year...too much Einstein in the limelight, wondering if I can't get a clipping from a (economics related?) speech of Hilary Clinton, or the Californian afro-american? congresswoman?/senator? who was the only one in the US to veto something or other like the Iraq war....help, anyone out there? know who I'm talking about?