Monday, September 12, 2005

Questions for T1

How willing, typically, are the students to interact w/ one another?

50/50. Some are consistently eager, others reluctant. There's one student in particular who just won't talk much.

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 students’ needs?

Both. There are some students who are weaker, and so I make sure to get them to talk as much as I can. One or two will say two words and that's it, unless I work to extract more information from them. But if any student introduces a topic that I think the others will find interesting, I try to get the whole class involved in a discussion on it.

Re. gay marriage—do students handle controversial discussions well?

Yes. You have to test each group, and this one seems pretty okay with controversial topics.

For vocab, about three students were giving all the answers. Is this OK? Or does it just take too much time/ effort to even it out more?

Sure. The important thing here is just for everyone to get the definition. I don't really care how much they interact in this part of the lesson.

What do you do when one student dominates discussion?

I'll try to give each student plenty of time to speak, but if one is really taking up most of the discussion, I'll say something like "let's give so&so a chance to speak, now." As gently as possible.

You went to only two of three grps—could you tell that grp 3 was doing fine? Or was it just that there wasn’t enough time?

I ran out of time. But in the next class, we did a follow-up exercise, and I made sure to give the third group plenty of attention.

In an opinion-gap exercise, how do you elicit discussion & make students discuss 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?

I just have to keep trying something different. Different strategies work for different students, and for this one student I just haven't found something that works. He'll do whatever it takes to say as little as possible. One thing I've noticed is that he brings a little electronic dictionary to class and spends a lot of time using that. Next time I might take the dictionary away from him and force him to interact instead. We'll also be having one-on-one evaluations shortly, and in the evaluation I'll emphasize that if he wants to pass the course, he's going to have to get more involved in the class.


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