Monday, September 12, 2005

Notes on Observation 1

Notes on ASE 1

1st half—T1

9 students, all male. 7 Asian, 1 French, 1 Turkish.

“When I read the paper, I had trouble breaking up thought-groups.”—the student is connecting real-life experience to course material.

T has good rapport w/ Ss—they tell anecdotes, joke, she jokes with them.

Starts out w/ review—“how do I get from your house to here?”—makes him be specific: “give me a landmark.” At first it’s just one student, but as he struggles she invites the rest of the class to help out.

Transition to Housekeeping:
Assigning V/F topics (what is love? What is friendship?) T asks Ss “How will I do this?” elicits answers from them.

Rev.s V/F website, uses A/V, gives instructions then repeats them, few (no?) students taking notes, but one has Q. Tà “Kwangnam, can you answer that?” after other S answers, T confirms answer.

Warm-up: Summary of news article

When nobody volunteers, T picks someone. He’s hesitant, she repeats his information, clarifies, asks follow-up Qs. (article is about a “miracle cat” during the hurricane) “Why is it a miracle cat?”

Transition to next student: “OK. Who’s next?”

One student has article about gangs, she asks about gangs in Korea—instead of talking about article, convo digresses to Korean gangs.

S has difficulty answering Q, T tries a few diff ways but finally backs off, goes on to next S without resolving or greatly clarifying difficulty.

Q for T1—how do you determine which students to spend time on, which to dismiss quickly? Is it based on the issue (one has more potential for discussion), or on the student’s needs?

Writes diff. word (“veto”) on board.

One student’s article is on gay marriage. Q for T1—was there any fear of broaching a controversial topic, any worry that it would digress into a fight? Have you ever had a situation where Ss have gotten into nasty disagreements?

Transition: “OK, so let’s talk about some idioms. Can you guess what ‘tightwad’ means?” gives some chances, then explains. Ss’ guesses are way off, but T affirms their courage—“that’s a very logical answer.” “No, but that’s a clever guess.”

About three students are giving all the answers for vocab. Is this OK? Or is it not ideal, but too much time/ effort needed to get them to back off and make other students try?

Uses board for vocab.

Discussion: transitions “OK when you’ve finished [reading an article] I want you to get into grps of 3 & discuss what you think.” (brief article about a court case; the Ss have to decide how they would rule if they were the judge)

One group immediately starts talking actively; others she has to prompt or even re-explain the scenario.

What do you do when one S dominates discussion?

T only goes to 2 of the 3 grps—“we’re running out of time.”—could you tell that the 3rd grp was doing fine on their own? 1st grp you listened briefly, then moved on to 2nd grp where you spent a lot of time carefully going over the situation with them.

In an opinion-gap exercise, how does the teacher elicit discussion, and make the students look at a situation from different angles, without imposing an opinion on them? ie, how can you encourage students not to agree with your opinion but to come up with ways to refute it?

Wrapping up:

Uses blackboard to assign hwk.
Hwk—reading, and highlighting difficult words in the news article.

Q—how do you decide on the hwk? Is it evaluated? What percentage of Ss do the hwk?

2nd half—T2

17 students; 15 Asian, including three females.

Sits on desk, starts w/ joke. “you can never underestimate the power of being a smartass.”
S—“what’s a smartass?”
T—“there ya go, ya gotta ask Qs.” Tells anecdote about being a smartass.

Activity based on native language—sound contrasts that, depending on native lang., may be difficult. “Difficult sound contrasts for [Korean] speakers.”
Explains minimal pairs, uses humor. “Germans are good at talking about zis and zat.”

“The sound files are coming. Unfortunately, so is Christmas. [pause] That’s American humor.”

Uses lots of idioms.

Transition—“OK that’s what that’s for. That’s reference. What I really to do is…”

At this point T involves me in exercise. Ss break into groups of four, and each grp pairs with a native speaker who helps them with sound reduction. ie “He’s busy” = “hizbizi.” I say the sentence aloud, Ss repeat and practice the reductions.

T is in same room as me, on other side of the room. With his grp, he occasionally uses the board to explain things, or write down the changes of sound.

No official conclusion to class. When each grp is finished, it disperses.


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