I’ll keep it a simple roll call of my shifts this week.
Journaling Taking cues from my most recent RP meeting in Busan, I decided to follow the lead of a participant who said at one time during his teaching career he journaled immediately after class. I now strive for at least 5 minutes of journaling immediately out of class. It has yielded some fruit already, as detailed in the notes below.
Corpus lines? I typically do a basic inferential learning exercise when I introduce a target grammar/function item. I will show worked examples and students need to determine the appropriate pattern. I figure, I should briefly consult corpus data (such as the COCA) prior to construction of such worked examples. Even after consulting the corpus data, I fully expect that I will have to modify the examples to both a) accommodate target vocabulary and b) simplify the text so students are neither overwhelmed and may be able to comprehend the text.
Scripted Instructions? This is an idea I got from reading Michael Griffin’s post. Sounds great for my level of learners. I try to keep it as simple as possible. Perhaps next semester I will attempt to train students on such procedures. I’m already a firm believer in prefabs. This seems like a nice extension of that general concept.
Arrange desks The virtues of journaling. Previously, I would simply leave a class once I had finished teaching. Since I started journaling, I noticed some teachers will rearrange the desks which students inevitably manage to put into disarray during a lesson. I figure I should do one of two things. A) Train students to rearrange the desks at the end of the lesson or B) help my co-teacher. B is the more likely option at this point. Perhaps I can start A at the beginning of next semester.
Learning Tab Merge A learning tab is a simple device that serves as a visual reminder of the basic theme of a lesson which I put in the right corner of the screen of the powerpoints I produce. In the future, I hope to simply use the learning tab image as an illustration during a typical worked example. Perhaps this adds excessive seductive detail? My hope is that it manages to reinforce the basic concepts of the lesson. Though, this is definitely a largely insignificant point. Nevertheless, I feel it is important I do whatever I can to improve my teaching, however minor it is.
New Rules I’ve noticed I am becoming more precise in my thinking, and thus better able to name what annoys me about student behaviors. Thus, starting next semester, I will add a few new rules for students. Rules include: a) after a class has started, the student is not permitted to stand up…if they have an issue, the student can raise his hand and explain the situation. In my present teaching environment it is all too common for students to get up to do things like toggle with a fan, et al. Another rule is that students can only have a notebook, pen/pencil, English textbook, or relevant folder on their desk during my class. I’m tired of confiscating scissors that serve the purpose of constructing more aerodynamic spitwads. Note to self: paying attention to all dynamics in a classroom is good, thus RP=very good.
Questions Plaguing me
I got two wonderful responses from students this week: For a multiple choice question during “game” time in one of my classes, a student answered the following to this question: “Which of these live in the sea?” Student: “Hot dog.” I asked another student to spell the word town…his answer? “T-O-W-teacher what is this?” Korean English Teacher: “that’s an N.” How does one justify their salary as a teacher when so many students perform in such a dismal fashion?!
‘til next week,