That’s the fifth – and penultimate – week of Module 2 (if you’re confused, we started with one week of Module 3 prep). We had no LSAs this week – WHOOPEE! Instead we had to do our Experimental Practice lesson and prepare for LSA 4 – the Big One. Starting to get worried about dropping the ball for this externally assessed lesson on which everything hangs (if you fail this one, you fail the whole thing), because I’m kind of tired of it all by now and am finding it hard to be motivated!
1. What was your lightbulb moment this week?
I don’t think it’s just me. I think the background essay just doesn’t make sense. I’ve done four now, and got good marks for them, but always had feedback that made me go “Oh, I didn’t realise that was the aim of the game,” mostly with regards to the analysis. It seems to me a very synthetic format that doesn’t feel natural or logical because it isn’t. Or if it is, I’m not clear on it. (I think perhaps I might be intolerant of ambiguity at times.) I think it would be helpful to have a question that the each part of the essay answers, so you know how to angle your analysis. Something like:
- What language do I want to teach and why?
- How do native speakers use/do it?
- What problems do students have using/doing it?
- What do I suggest to solve the above problems?
- What problems do teacher have teaching it?
- What do i suggest to solve the above problems?
I’m not even sure that’s what it’s supposed to be. But it seems logical, doesn’t it? The handbook doesn’t add much clarity and doesn’t mention anything about expert speakers. Maybe I’m making a fuss over nothing (wouldn’t be the first time) – we all thought the analysis was a big deal, but it turns out the problems and solutions are of most importance.
2. What was the most stressful thing?
Waiting to get my lesson feedback. You talk yourself into it being terrible, even when it isn’t. The longer you wait, the more terrible you imagine it was. Goodness knows how I’ll feel by the time I get my Module 2 results!
3. What do you wish you could have done?
Gone out and enjoyed the late October sunshine more. It is HOT here!
4. What is the best activity you have learned this week?
In an input session on Monday, we were introduced to a very simple noticing activity, which our tutor got from Leoxicon (and I can’t find it there, I’m afraid). Basically, the students choose a topic, and each write a question on a post-it for the teacher on the topic. Then you collect them in and talk naturally for a while about the topic, trying to incorporate responses to the questions. While listening, the students write down useful chunks of language, like “we traipsed off…” “I’m not terribly good at…” (They might need a bit of training on this bit.) Then they compare what they wrote down with each other, then tell you and you board it. As you board it you can check meaning, pronunciation, form (what can follow the chunk) and appropriacy. Then you can go over the whole lot on the board again with a different colour and elicit how the phrases can be changed by substituting words, e.g. “I’m not awfully good at…” “we trekked off….” Then you give the questions back to the students and they ask each other, answering using the new chunks.
5. Whats the best tip you have learned this week?
I would like tips on how to write lesson aims. What’s in vogue seems to be by the end of the lesson, students will…. by: followed by 3 bullet points, which basically describe your lesson. I’m not sure of the appropriate wording and I think I’m spending far too much time on it!
6. What have you done to relax?
I went outside at nighttime! I went to Cordoba for the night to visit a friend. Like a normal person!
7. What is your new favourite word or phrase?
“Just one week to go.”
8. What book have you added to your wishlist?
Translation And Own Language Activities by Philip Kerr, recommended to me by Rachael Roberts. Thanks!
10. Which area have you improved in this week?
Making notes for background essays. Highlighters, people, highlighters! A different colour for each part of the essay. So much quicker.
11. What resource (teaching, learning or other) would you like to share?
I registered for the Image Conference in IH Cordoba – http://theimageconference.org/
12. What are your goals for the coming week?
Last week’s goals were:
- Get my Experimental Practice done CHECK
- and write up as much as I can NOT CHECK
- Reading for LSA 4, CHECK
- writing the background essay, CHECK
- and coming up with a GREAT lesson plan idea.CHECK?
This week’s goals
- Killing it in LSA 4, obviously. If you’ve got any positive vibes on Tuesday lunchtime you don’t know what to do with, send them my way!
- Finishing my final versions of LSA 2 Background Essay and LSA 3 Background essay
- Writing up my Experimental Practice assignment
- Writing my final version of Stage 3 and also Stage 4 of my PDA.