Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The pass

A genius blog entry from David Deubel about "Small Musts" in the ESL/EFL classroom.  I want to talk a bit about:

10.7 Not asking students what they learned. End each class with a review of the target language/expressions/vocabulary. Also, end each class by asking them if they are happy. Just by reminding them they can be happy – they will be a little more.

This is something that I did a while back at the beginning of the next class.  I'd always do a quick review of the previous week or two, either in the form of a warm-up game or activity, or just a few questions from me to the whole class.  But, I really, really like the idea of doing it at the end of class as well.  I think language learning is all about hearing/learning/seeing something enough times that it's impossible for you not to know it.  One or two exposures to a vocabulary item or grammar point is not enough for it to really "stick" in your brain.  And I also plan to get back onto the review at the beginning of the next class train.  I don't really know why I got off.  I just kind of forgot I guess. 

10.9 Not allowing students to “pass”. Students are human beings. They have emotions. They sometimes just don’t want to answer. They should always be allowed the safety of being able to say “pass."

In Korean universities (at least mine!), students are generally quite lazy and showing up seems to be equated to passing the class in their minds.  Asking them to answer a question, such that they actually have to pay attention is often entirely too much.  Giving students a "pass" option would, in my poorer classes result in a continuous series of "pass" "pass" haha "pass" "pass" hahaha.  So, this is how I do answers:

1. I will ALWAYS give students time with their partner to answer the question before I will ever make someone answer in front of the class.  This way, they at least have some answer they can say.  Or, if I don't give the students time, I will ask for volunteers to answer.

2. The students in my class sit in groups of 2 or 3.  I will almost always go by groups.  Like one person from the group has to answer this question.  Then onto the next group for the next question.  This way, if there is one person who is really poor at English or just doesn't want to answer they have their friend to help them.

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