Using a Fellow Teacher’s Lesson Plan

[Another between-courses post here, written while I’m mostly doing office and planning stuff and teaching the TP students, trying to keep…and grow…our community of learners]

Some teachers in the ELT world create unique, inspired lessons and then freely share the lesson plans on their blogs. I know. It’s pretty darn cool! We’re talking full-scale usable lesson plans here: nicely produced printable class materials, links to online media, even expertly-crafted teacher’s notes.

One of those teachers is Cecilia Nobre. She’s on twitter here and blogs at the highly recommended https://cecilianobreelt.wordpress.com/, which includes interviews with fellow teachers (including me, a big fat honor!). Every post is smart, fresh, and insightful. What more can I say, Cecilia simply rocks!

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On November 7th, 2016, Cecilia shared this very well put together lesson plan with the world:

Conversation lesson: Do you mind if I take your picture? A lesson based on Humans Of New York

US-CULTURE-PHOTOGRAPHY

Now, this isn’t actually a post about the topic of using fellow teachers’ lesson plans. I think there’s something – perhaps LOTS of things –  to say about how and why teachers freely share lessons, what it means for other teachers to use them, how this could be one harbinger of the eventual downfall of the coursebook industrial complex, and oh! how about a helpfully listing the various lesson super-creator-sharers, out there…

Yeah, that’s all good but…for now, in this post, I’d like to simply share a bit of what I did with Cecilia’s lesson and how it went. Call me simple. ;P

The idea for this post came out of just wanting to get some feedback to the OLC (Original Lesson Creator), Cecilia. I was thinking maybe I should just send her email or a comment on her original post…but then, perhaps others might find it interesting to see for some reason? So here we are.

The learners, by the way, were around the B1/B2 level at the higher end. There were 8 of them in class that day (yesterday). Ah, this was last week now that I’m actually getting this posted – last Wednesday.

First, I’ll add my notes to the “Lesson Plan Outline” Cecilia shared in her post. My notes are in bold red:

Aims:

* Describe pictures beyond the use of adjectives

Achieved: Ss used adjectives to describe the pictures, but also, when prompted constructions for speculation like “she might be a model/perhaps she’s a model”, etc. 

* Create meaningful stories through storytelling

Not achieved: I wish it had been! I ended up focusing on listening and lexis during the 2nd half of the lesson, rather than giving students a chance to do much speaking/storytelling. 

* Discuss reasons to share or not to share intimate thoughts with strangers

Mostly achieved: when prompted, Ss (to varying degrees) got a chance to express their personal views on ‘opening up’ to a stranger (many were mostly focused on how trustworthy/”normal” the stranger seemed). 

* Listen to details

Achieved: plenty of listening practice with the video. While I wasn’t thrilled with bringing Fox News into my classroom 😉 the clip was quite nice, containing some nice vocabulary and a nice arc as a text.  

Next, more text from the procedure section of Cecilia’s lesson outline and my notes:

Before I moved into Step 1 below and the first slide (I used the PPT and also gave the Ss the slides in a double-sided packet to take away with them), I linked this lesson to the previous lesson by writing

Do you mind if I…

on the whiteboard and elicited the learners’ understanding of this phrase from last week’s class (use: everyday semi-formal polite/indirect request, meaning: asking for permission for something usually immediate and usually small, pron: connected speech happening, form: + base verb and do can become would, etc.). 

I then asked pairs to come up with common examples. Then, leading into this lesson, asked: imagine some random person, someone you never saw before, a stranger, walked up to you and used this phrase? Imagine what they might say? 

The predominant thing Ss were thinking of, it seemed, was “Do you mind if I ask you for directions?”. So we briefly discussed this kind of ‘requesting to make a request’ and why that could be used to be extremely indirect. 

Then I said: now, what if that stranger had a camera around their neck? and maybe even looked like a real photographer? What might they ask? 

Unexpectedly to me at the time (but with the luxury of hindsight somewhat predictable), the Ss had quite a hard time getting to “…take your picture?”. Because I’ve learned to deal with emerging learner language issues to some degree of success we spent some time here, teasing apart confusions about who’s taking what for whom exactly! Not at all an obviously ambiguous construction there…

OK! Then right back to it. Show Slide 1 with the title of the lesson…

Step 1
Prime students with the three questions from slide two before showing them the two pictures. Give them enough time to observe and hypothesize (Slide 1). 

Step 2
Show them each picture separately and give them a few minutes to discuss the initial questions with their peers. They might jot down some ideas if needed be ( Slide 3 and 4)

The 3-question prompts got them talking about each of the 2 pictures for about 3 minutes each. I floated around giving prompts to some of the less productive chatters.

Step 3
Share the three pictures related to the woman’s story ( the wedding dress, the hair stylist, and the dog) and, in pairs, they should come up with a story. Help them with vocabulary if needed be ( Slide 5)

Then this, which was fun…however less productive than I’d hoped. That’s not the lesson’s fault – but only one of the pairs really jumped into imaginatively constructing a possible story line and coming up with rationales for why it might apply to one or the other person from the photos. Next time, I’ll energize this by switching up pairs, maybe have them in standing and rotating pairs instead. In fact, I only switched up pairings during this whole 2 hours lesson towards the end! 

Also, some of these students are not as used to this kind of lesson. Admittedly, it’s got quite a different dynamic than the somewhat more highly structured CELTA TP lessons they get during courses. The amount of speculation and inferencing I prompted them to attempt was a stretch for some of them. I ‘sold’ it and scaffolded it as best I could at the time, but nevertheless think heard the odd stomach growl for a bit more solidity. 😉 

Step 4
Then, share the three pictures related to the couple’s story ( the subway, the cookies, and the Black Label). Students should come up with a story using the three pictures in pairs ( Slide 6)

Same as above. 

Step 5
Show the two pairs of sentences to the students. They are supposed to match the sentences to the pictures.
“I wasn’t even planning on going out that night” and “I just started dancing by myself” are related to the couple’s story.

“I quit my job” and “everything is one big question for me right now” are linked to the woman’s story ( Slides 7 and 8)

Perhaps oddly, this got a bit more buzz then the pictures above. Again, I should have switched up the students. I can think of one imperfectly matched pair who I left stranded with each other most of the day. Doh. Maybe it’s not odd…maybe the pictures seemed just a little bit too random to build logical bridges between, but these two pairs of phrases seems more coherent to them. 

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Step 6
Next, students are supposed to read each story.

Ask them: Did you use the pictures correctly to make sense of each story? Were your inferences accurate? Were your initial questions answered within the texts?
Some phrases and expressions you might need to go through:
Story 1 – The woman
I feel like I’m about / I can’t help but… / to mess up / nothing has come of it

Story 2 – The couple
cookie dough / to make out with someone / to run into someone

I didn’t pre-teach that vocab, but I soon had the sense I should have. When I post-taught, I found only cookie dough was thoroughly known. The phrase that we actually had the best time focusing on was “I chopped off my hair” – looking at how this word choice conveyed a sense of violence, conveying the act as an emotional reaction to something difficult. You’d never hear, I got a new job! To celebrate and prepare, first I’ll chop off my hair, then…;P

At one point I asked the Ss which story they liked most. Most chose the woman’s story, I think simply because it’s a bit richer and more involved. 

Step 7
Have students join small groups to open the debate with their peers. Allow them to agree, disagree, make jokes, etc.

This particular step (7) didn’t really happen – at least there was no ‘debate’, and not really any S-S ‘joking’. Thinking back to my reading this plan before the lesson (about 30 minutes before, when I decided at the last minute to try it instead of something I’d had slotted in but wasn) 

Step 8
After the debate, they should click on the links to leave a comment or reply to a comment from the post. Help them with new vocabulary and monitor what they write. Ensure their opinions are respectful and supportive.

We didn’t go online, but the Ss did seem to want to check out HONY through their personal facebook pages outside of class (I’ll find out tomorrow who actually found and followed it). 

Photo 1 : Link here

Photo 2: Link here

Step 9
Listening to details: Tell your students they’re going to watch a three-minute video about Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York. Let your students read the topics that Brandon might tackle in the video ( Topics mentioned: Why he thinks people open up to him, his most popular photo and the questions he likes to ask people). Let students share their guesses.

This news clip was nice. As I mentioned above, I have several reasons not to love using Fox News in my classroom, but clip was nice and I could grin and bear it. It’s very a typical/conventional ‘human interest’ news segment. It’s a good length, has a good pace, and a nice arc. Some nice varied lexis, which we treated a bit after the gisty listening task included in the lesson. At this moment I’m a bit too busy and lazy to recollect exactly what and how. 

Watch the video here.

Step 10
Questions about Brandon Stanton and Humans of New York. Let your students make questions in pairs or small groups. Share their answers with the whole group.

Here’s where we did a productive skills activity (speaking), and it was pretty straightforward: walking around, one of you is Brandon with his camera and his questions (we had his types of question on the whiteboard from the video). Ask, as politely and friendly-like as you can, to take a picture (act that out – ‘click! click!’) and then follow up requesting to talk and asking a question or two (can you tell me about the time in your life when you felt guiltiest?). I encouraged students to share personal stories to the extent they felt comfortable (this group is generally pretty open, even confessional). 

This was a bit rushed. We had only 14 minutes left in class by the time this began, which is ridiculous given the task and the potential for multiple longer, open-ended interactions. But some nice stuff came up and some animated conversations ensued. 

Thanks for the great materials and lesson plan/ideas Cecilia! As you can see, it was a pretty decent success. And it went from blogpost to live classroom in just +/- 30 minutes! 

Finally, I’d like to applaud Cecilia’s efforts in the area of PARSNIPS. This lesson is one of a handful that contain content that is either a little bit or a lot “parsnipy” (see this lesson dealing with domestic violence and rape) and I, for one, love it. In the last-minute rush to prepare this lesson I regret that I didn’t gather myself to include an intentional, specific way to address this in class. I kind of ‘made space’ for students to react/respond to the gay couple in the 2nd pic, but didn’t force anything. I guess that WAS my approach, and it felt comfortable. While I think perhaps some learners were quietly surprised to find something less whitewashed than they usually do in these classrooms (we use the standard heteronormative mainstream coursebooks during CELTA courses on which they are the trainees’ TP students), there was a nice sense of recognition and a ‘not-a-big-deal’ vibe. 

I look forward to the chance to use another one of Cecilia’s shared lessons and maybe one day even get the chance to return the favor! 🙂 

 

#ELTchat summary for Nov 30th, 2016: Ideas for Making the Most of Exercises

Welcome to this week’s summary.

I was quite sad to have missed last Wednesday’s weekly #ELTchat teacher discussion on twitter (pesky little thing called work often gets in the way at 11am here on America’s west coast) but I had suggested the topic originally and was happy to read back and find another worthwhile live chat between a group of wonderful and teachers! If you haven’t taken part before, do yourself a favor: GET THEE TO A CHAT, PRONTWISE. Anyway, I was able to engage in the “slowburn” portion, and was rather happy to get the chance to be this week’s summarist.

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I’ve been taking this great online class with Vicki Hollett at iTDi.pro and looking for all the chances I can get use and get better with video (boy do I have a long way to go!). So, I decided to produce this #ELTchat summary in video form. You’ll find my Part 1 and Part 2 videos below, plus a short written follow-up to account for the slowburn. Enjoy!

(BTW, my iTDi classmates are have been making wonderfully professional-quality stuff under Vicki’s expert tutelage; I’m just the class clown – so don’t let my goofy videos affect your impression of that course!)

Note: Part 1 is a hearty, potentially TL;DW 6+ minutes long, and contains more…um…’Matthew being Matthew’. If you’re interested in getting right into a list of some of the ideas shared in the #ELTchat, skip to Part 2, which is more focused and a brisk 1:57.

1

2

THANKS FOR WATCHING! 🙂

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When the live 60-minute #ELTchat is finished, we go into slowburn mode. That means for the next 24 hours we keep the discussion going. Involved in slowburn chatting last week were mainly @sadeqaghazal, @Marisa_C, @getgreatenglish, and me. 

burn

[edit: more on ideas from slowburn coming here very soon]

The slowburn culminated in a Google Doc with 2 typical coursebook-type exercises (from the Headway 4 workbook) and places for teachers to share ideas on how they might approach them with extensions and further/varied exploitation of the content in mind. Please don’t hesitate to join in! That’s HERE.

And don’t forget to submit a chat topic idea for the next #ELTchat and that’s HERE.

suggest

Who do I think I am?

I just read Tyson Seburn’s post “Who do you think you are?“, loved it, and decided to have a go myself. The other day I’d also watched the recording of the discussion panel on teacher identity at the IATEFL/TESOL Joint Webconference Tyson was a part of, so I read the post with interest. It in, Tyson responds to and reflects on the same questions which guided the discussion bringing forward a lot of interesting issues.

The questions and my own scribblings, then…

Who are you?

First name Matthew, last name Noble. Son of Chris and Bette. Chris is retired now, but was a lawyer. He decided to go to ‘go square’ and attend law school only after studying the drugs Indian mystics took to make sure they had the best visions (it’s that sort of cheating?). Bette (1944-2002) was doing a project on sustainable agriculture when they met at Benares Hindu Univeristy…so I’m a ‘child of India’ in that way. Bette was mostly a freelance writer during her life. Bette was also a sometime ESL tutor in our home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Maybe that had something to do with my interest and who I’d become?

I was raised in a multicultural environment. We often had international tenants living in our house,  I went to a progressive and diverse Quaker elementary school, there were a lot of former civil rights activists around for dinner. I chose Malcolm X as “my hero” to write a paper about in 6th grade. I remember being most amazed, reading his autobiography, by a sense of how much freedom he finally found in leaving the US and meeting a larger, meta-national community of people in Mecca. I had a real sense, even then, that it was extremely important to leave the US, to burst the bubble of one’s one environment, culture, familiar world. Maybe that had something to do with my interest and who I’d become?

I could write several more paragraphs, all ending with “maybe that had something to do with my interest and who I’d become?

…but I don’t wanna. Instead, I’ll get back to where I started and the concrete sense of being a member of a particular family in a particular place. That family and that place definitely had something to do with my interest and who I’d become. Reading that back, I’m actually sort of surprised at myself. I guess I’m getting older. I supposed I’ll add that I’m 38 right now.

rents

What is your teaching philosophy? 

To this question Tyson Seburn wrote: “Ugggh. That one’s the worst” and for my part I’d say: not a truer word could be spoken. I wholeheartedly agree, which is ironic because I recommend the composition of one to trainee teachers all the time. I suppose it’s more of a feeling-based reaction than an intellectual one, because I know how important it is to articulate beliefs. But really the important thing isn’t the paragraphing of some kind of bold, thorough statement of beliefs as if it would hold as a ‘constitution’; rather, it’s the process, the actual brain- and heart-power and exploratory intent directed towards the bright (though dim at times) light of “what do I believe in?…what makes me want to teach, and teach the way I do?” and it may or may not be easy or even worthwhile to capture in paragraph form. I’ve attempted to compose a ‘final’ type of teaching philosophy statement several times, but perhaps inevitably they really don’t seem to have much staying power – they weaken as soon as I cap the pen or minimize the window…because I’m so busy, instead, instead, trying to live those questions constantly (which may contribute to accounting for of my high levels of interest and engagement in the field existing alongside relatively low levels of very conventional/concrete productivity…like, actually attempting “answers” to the questions in article or book form, for example..but I digress).

I loved the image Tyson used for his blog, which really animates this sense of something moving to much to pin down, composing and eroding simultaneously, in flux:

brain-and-identity-800x450

From: http://bit.ly/2gW8yJe

But right now I am writing, and the make-up of my mind as it is now has me thinking about three of the many puzzle pieces (that keep changing shape) which I can say fit together, mostly, to form an image of me, mostly, as above:

 > Pacifism: I mentioned the Quaker school above, but not my dad’s overtly non-religious but sincerely pacifistic Quakerism (expressed, for example, in his conscientious objector status during the Vietnam war). That was passed down to me. And I do, I think, clearly perceive and frame my activity in the ELT realm as a pacifistic, peace-building endeavor. Basically I want to avoid soulless work buying, selling, or processing stuff, just like Lloyd Dobbler…but more than that, I want to do work that I feel promotes peace. (I’ll add that I’ve literally had to ‘make peace’/mediate potential in-class violence once in my career, and it was a room full of teacher-learners, not English students).

 > Multiculturalism:  I also already mentioned the multiculturalism that my marked childhood environment. I suppose I see myself as a ‘multiplier’ of culture(s), not so much as a cultural ambassador for any kind of monolithic cultural entity competing with others. I try to be very sensitive about when and how materials I may be using seem to be presenting some problematic cultural bias. I originally became a teacher of English initially as a way to be a student of culture and language and history different from my own. I feel as though I am still the student in many ways no matter what position I take in a classroom or courseroom.

mee

 > Buddhism. My best friend’s family was Buddhist and I started to read about Buddhism and Buddhist texts and started joining in Buddhist meditation retreats when I was sixteen.  I found the psychology very helpful and the cosmology very fascinating, and of course the pacifism resonant. I ended up with a BA in Comparative Religion, but really focused on Buddhist philosophy (along with a minor in Conflict Resolution). Clearly, I wasn’t all that career-oriented! But what I was was interested in what happens in those spaces within and between people. Perhaps this explains why my favorite ELT quote of all is Earl Stevick‘s “Success depends less on materials, techniques, and linguistic analysis, and more on what goes on inside and between the people in the classroom”. I perceive and make sense of many of the most crucial skills I’ve developed (no – am developing) as a teacher in terms that I originally found in Buddhism, like the mindfulness required to facilitate and scaffold instructional conversations, or give explicit corrective feedback in a radically non-judgmental fashion with a sense of a non-duality between right and wrong. And most concretely, it was the opportunity to teach English to Buddhist monks at a rural Sri Lankan monastery school that made me take my first dive into language instruction.

signified

Image from: https://literacyteaching.net/2015/07/10/

What does it mean to you personally to have a professional identity?

It gives me a feeling of purpose, and of self-worth. Going back to family, I think it is likely very important for me to feel like a “professional” on a deep psychological level because both of my parents had clear professional identities. They were both always extremely open to whatever I might ‘become’ in terms of work and career, so I don’t think I ever felt explicit pressure to make choices based on expectations. But I’m aware that I do expect myself to “live up” in some sense to the challenge of establishing a professional identity…based on work that you believe in, that is perceived as valuable to yourself and your community.

I recently read this blog post  from Elly about the experience of friends and family not quite taking this career seriously:

ticha-quote

And boy can I relate. I think some kind of positive, concrete identity can be a kind of bulkhead against these waves, as wont as I am to ‘go with the flow’ and make it ‘not about me’ in all sort of ways. Actually, it IS about me – it’s my career.

But I don’t think that developing and maintaining a positive professional identity is particularly easy in ELT. It certainly has not been for me. Listen to me and my understatements. Shall I re-write those last two sentences? Developing and maintaining a positive professional identity in ELT is possible but as far as full-spectrum professional resources and support it’s a fucking shitshow people.  I’ve clawed tooth and nail, through thick and thin, to get to this special happy place where I can even consider myself vaguely accomplished. Goddammit! 

Whew. Okay…we’re back. Hey, I feel…cleansed. Back to our regularly scheduled program:

I have probably experienced more overall identity insecurity and negativity since I started in 2004 than the opposite, but at some point I tipped the scales towards a positive, productive, and healthy sense of self as an ELT person and it’s ‘snowballing’ now.

Although I’m working as a teacher trainer right now, I would say that my identity is primarily based on the feeling of a joyful absorption (jhana in Buddhist terms) I feel in an ESL classroom as a teacher/guide working with the ‘inside and between’ stuff and language knowledge and skills that can connect people and cultures across boundaries. *I wrote that sentence thinking about how I felt this morning given the opportunity to sit down with a learner one to one for 30 minutes. It stuck me so viscerally: this makes me feel happy. As does working with new and potential teachers, knowing that I’m introducing something that I know to be so wonderful.

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How far is it useful to be conscious of your identity as a teacher? 

I think Tyson makes great points about how non-static/fluid identity is, and how it’s a “starting point” for new experiences and new growth. I think it’s a starting point for connecting with others. At the annual TESOL shindig you meet 100s of other teachers and the first thing you do is share where/who you teach (or play “spot the info on the name tag without seeming rude”)…but it’s anywhere from there.

And with students – they want and need to know you as a complex, sometimes contradictory, normal person, sure, but also as a known amount: a teacher who does this because they believe this, who doesn’t put up with this because this is their stance on this.

And of course the more conscious of the fluidity of your identity as a teacher, and the conditionality of it, the more able you are to try to set conditions that favor growth. Even when they sometimes cause pain. I remember asking to be observed and fellow teachers looking at me like I was crazy to want the extra stress and likely pain of critique. But I was looking for experiences that I knew would likely instigate some kind of growth. These days I try to ask assessors for extra bits of criticism they might give of my feedback session, or whatnot. I think to the extent that I’m conscious of my identity – or rather, the open-ended and open-to-change nature of my identity as a teacher – the hungrier I am for not just critique specifically but…dunno, identity-instigation. Things that will force me to ask, yet again, who am I? Why do I do this?

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How far is a teacher’s identity linked to their sense of value, and how can teachers’ associations foster this sense of identity and value?

I’ve been to a few state-level conferences and 6 TESOL conventions. Sadly, I’ve never been to IATEFL or any other conference outside the US (we all need goals). But I’ll say this: when I walk down the corridors from session to session at a TESOL convention I feel a very strong sense of tribal communion. A near-spiritual humming of identity-confluences and overlapping egos…it’s great. It’s important. It’s invaluable, really. And I stay plugged into the ELT borg-matrix through the greater PLN on twitter and FB, the blogs, iTDi.pro, etc. All of it fosters a sense of identity which, without any of it, could really be weakened (let me also just mention here the precariousness of ELT and ground all this idealism in a reality of sometimes looking for abstracted satisfactions where for many, well-apportioned vacation travel does the trick).

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What experiences have most deeply affected your own sense of professional identity?

So many. I think I’ll just list a bunch, whatever springs to mind, in no particular order…joining in iTDi webinars (for teachers, by teachers!) as both presenter and participant, having an ELT book sent to me by a member of my online PLN, once being walked out on by unhappy students before turning it around to be a great class, starting to have courage to submit proposals..and have presentations accepted, being encouraged by trainees to write a book, being contacted by fellow teachers with questions and “i thought of yous”, positive feedback from ESL students, finding a well-professionalized position, having my dad say he was proud of me and the work I was doing, moving back to the US and maintaining/evolving an identity I’d developed abroad (I wasn’t 100% sure about this), marrying a ‘non-native speaker’ and across cultures, writing this blog, finding old materials I created in piles of papers and seeing their value afresh, feeling like I can (and will) move to any number of places to follow the paths of the work, seeing trainees succeed in their work, knowing someone out there is reading this…and so many more…each and every day…and by saying that there are so many I hope not to water the whole thing down. Of course there are big ones, with real, lasting impact, and then there’s “the little things”. But it all matters. It’s just how I feel, because I’m pretty much ensconced and as my brother used to say, I’m a ‘meaning junkie’.

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Finally, I’ll say that many of the experiences that have most deeply affected my own sense of professional identity are not directly mine; they are those of other teachers sharing their stories and their own expressions of identity…but these things don’t feel so other. In fact, they almost feel like my experiences – like shared experiences between members of a ‘tribe’ who share a bond that verges on psychic. Which is why the joint webconference was so great, especially sessions 3 and 4 on teacher identity. And why iTDI is so important, and all the connections between teachers and experiences on twitter and blogs, not to mention in the staffroom at work. We’re in this together, and our identities as professionals don’t only exist inside us alone, they’re also between us teachers and between us and all of our learners. Maybe this is actually what we ‘buy, sell, and process’ in this work. Just don’t tell Lloyd Dobler that. And it’s almost as good as kickboxing, but don’t tell Lloyd Dobler that either. 😉

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How does any of that resonate with or against your puzzle pieces? Consider a blog post with the question prompts, or simply leaving a note in the comments section…

Trainer Diary: 20

Compared to many other trainers I’ve met and/or worked with, it seems my interest in and concern for some kind of affect-focused, personal course wrap up activity is relatively high.

That said, I don’t actually feel like I have a quality storehouse of options for this. Maybe I should ask Zhenya? Adi? Scholl? In the meantime, I’ll ask some other folks at work…and google it. 😉

We’ll see what happens. This much I know: I’m excited for this afternoon’s ceremonial conferment of whiteboard markers to the graduates…

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😉

Trainer Diary: 19 (TPFB notes)

Today in place of the usual journal entry business I’ve been doing I’m going to put some recent post-Teaching Practice feedback session notes (notes I make going into feedback to remember some things I want to bring up) into the flow. And write a final day ‘diary’ entry on the morrow…

So these notes…they likely read cryptic, but I’m sure I’ll be glad to have posted them here for a revisit later. 

A couple quick notes: 

1) it’s towards the end of the course that ’emergent language’ tends to come up a lot. One could argue it should be more proactively presented earlier, but it seems to ’emerge’ itself once trainees are competant enough to set conditions where the learners are *actually* communicating and needed new/related language is sometimes actuslly getting pushed out and all that. 

2) another thing in there is the common issue of getting back onto the solid ground of TELLING when you’re stuck floating in a sea of ELICITING. Some trainees lose sight of land, and find it difficult to identify those times in lessons when teaching – actually transmitting knowledge – to the learners is actually what’s right and good and proper. 


The over-elicitation (“if only there were a teacher here!”) syndrome is a bit too common for comfort and makes me re-examine what I can/should do to help some trainees avoid mistaking “student-centered” with “teacher-weak” and feel confident  really taking the reins now and then. I can just feel Michael Swan himself is cheering me on in this.