This was the first week of Module 2, the teaching practice module, and seemingly the most intense. We’ve had a bunch of input sessions, met our classes, taught unobserved lessons and a diagnostic lesson, got feedback, started writing our Professional Development Assignments and tweaked our background essays (written as a pre-course task). When I say ‘tweaked’, I more or less mean re-wrote. We’ve also done a needs analysis on our students, and decided what to do for LSA1, our first (of four) assessed lesson.
1. What was your lightbulb moment this week?
I think I had one…
2. What was the most stressful thing?
Trying to work out what to do my LSA 1 on after I realised that I had ended up with pretty much the same background essay (focused on used to and would) and idea for a lesson as someone else in my TP group! Our tutor gave us some advice, and when I realised I could use one of the unobserved lessons to lead up to the class, I found a way out of the problem. (In case you’re interested, I’ll be comparing used to for past habits with be used to and get used to.)
3. What do you wish you could have done?
Exercise was totally neglected! Aside from that, no regrets.
4. What is the best activity you have learned this week?
It’s an icebreaker activity that we did with our students. Two of the other teachers in my group had used it a lot in their school in Canada. I don’t know if it has a name.
Each student thinks of three dates important to them and the stories related to them. It should be things they can remember, ie. not their birth. They write one each (month, year) on three small pieces of paper.
Students work in groups of 5-6. They put all their dates on the table and arrange them in chronological order.
Each student takes a counter and each group is given a die. The first student rolls the die. If they get a three, for example, they move three spaces from the start of the chronologically placed dates and land on the third date. Whoever that date belongs to then tells their story. The other students listen and ask follow-up questions. When that’s over, the date is removed from the board. So if the next person also rolls a three, they will land on the next date. Play passes round the board until you run out of dates or out of time.
We did it with our new class of upper intermediate students this week and they really enjoyed it. We played too, so we had the chance to get to know one another. I also noted down some errors I heard for later correction (although we completely ran out of time!)
5. Whats the best tip you have learned this week?
Another one from our tutor: he illustrates the idea of the process involved in get used to by appealing to something the adult students will definitely be familiar with: getting drunk. At one point, you’re sober, later you’re drunk; what happens in the middle? Yup. Nice!
6. What have you done to relax?
Still going with the mindfulness thing. This week’s practice is listening to a lovely guided meditation during which I’ve never managed not to fall asleep. I took most of the night off yesterday after my diagnostic lesson and had some delicious green wine.
7. What is your new favourite word or phrase?
I’m not sure it’s a favourite but it’s certainly odd – backchannelling, or saying “Uh-huh,”, “Mm,” “I see,” etc, whilst you’re listening to someone. Oh, now I remember I do have a favourite. It’s coalescent assimilation, where two sounds smoosh together to make one, as in Whatcha doing?
8. What book have you added to your wishlist?
Um, all of them, already read.
9. What’s your favourite quote this week?
“Teaching less usually involves teaching better,” from Correction by Bartram and WAlton (57)
10. Which area have you improved in this week?
I’ve just done my diagnostic lesson, so I’ve got some areas to work on for the rest of the course. I tried harder this week to include pronunciation work, and for the first time I team-taught with someone from my TP group. I really enjoyed it.
11. What resource (teaching, learning or other) would you like to share?
Ever heard of an Ngram? Check this out. It’s a phrase-usage graph.