Monday, May 7, 2012

Catching Up on Thoughts

Wow, it has been a busy few weeks for us over here in Southern Germany. Even with the ridiculous number of Bank Holidays between April and June (three 4-day weekends and one 3-day weekend), I haven't been able to find the time to write as much as I'd like to. I've got two articles on error correction waiting to be reviewed, as well as a brand new copy of “Teaching Unplugged,” waiting to be read...or waiting to be finished, that is. I've already started reading it.

In the meantime, I'd like to mention some thoughts I've had lately that I haven't had time to develop into complete blog posts.

Student Expectation:
I'm constantly surprised by mismatch of my students' expectations for the structure of our English course and the research regarding the most effective learning and teaching methodologies. I went in to a class today, prepared to offer them a more interactive setting for future meetings (more Teaching Unplugged, more conversation, more grammar, more vocabulary). Instead, they expressed that they wanted to continue as we've been - reading the articles I've been bringing (about their field) and discussing the implications for the world, their company, and their jobs. I was so sure that they'd be tired of that by now, but I guess not. Maybe I should take it as a compliment of my superior discussion class leading skills.

Notes in Class:
In another class, the students have all stopped taking notes during class. Now, one student will take a digital photo of the flip-chart at the end of class, and email it to everyone. They all print it out, and when they are referring back to the previous lessons, I see them looking through pages of my handwriting. I wonder if this is effective. It does free them from having to write during class, when the focus is communication and talking; however, I have always felt that I learn better when I do the writing myself. Perhaps since the notes on the board are student-directed (I just write and correct major grammar issues), they are still salient. Either way, in that class, I've made a conscious effort to keep my board-work (er....flip-chart work) very organized for them.

First Language Acquisition:
Tim just started a course on First Language Acquisition, and I'm sure he'll write about it soon. I'm trying to keep up on the reading with him, since I miss being in school so much. We've been talking about the topics and the ideas of first language acquisition, and I'm curious to find out which issues are the same for second language acquisition and how we can apply the findings to be better English Teachers.

That's about it for now. I'll be writing more in detail about my reading adventures soon!