May 31, 2009

Why do we work in groups?

"Communicative language teaching sets out to involve learners in purposeful tasks which are embedded in meaningful contexts and which reflect and rehearse language as it is used authentically in the world outside the classroom."

Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000

When reading Tricia Hedge's quote, I thought of the innate characteristics of group work in the classroom. Regardless of your viewpoint on language teaching purposes, we can't deny that language is a key element in life, and life as we know it today necessarily means living and sharing with others. Therefore, it is not hard to believe that one of the key elements in a Communicative Classroom will be PAIRWORK and/or GROUP WORK.

Some of the often given reasons for using group work in a communicative classroom, which I agree with, are that it increases opportunities for practicing the language and it enables students to take risks with the language and to see if they can negotiate meaning. Working with peers gives the students the chance of practicing the language in a more realistic interaction and allows them to develop their strategic competence, taking risks and accommodating their language to achieve communication successfully.

It is important, however, to highlight that working with groups in the classroom may have a main disadvantage reflected on behavior, students may feel that allowing group work and communicative activities are a waste of time and start misbehaving; the teacher's role, there, is to help students realize that within a group there is always somebody who should be interested in keeping the group on task as well as somebody who should be interested in maintaining interpersonal relations within the group.

Our challenge as teachers is to introduce pair and group work in our classroom, and "selling" our reasons for doing so to our students, strongly believing that they will profit from the activities and that in the end they will become BETTER COMMUNICATORS in life. Are we ready for such a challenge?


Based on Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000 (Chapter 2)


May 27, 2009

This is my.... TeLeScOpIc ObSeRvAtIoN

As part of my training as a teacher to be, I should observe some lessons at high schools. Today, you'll share with me the experienced I had in a 3rd year in a school in Buenos Aires.
I hope u enjoy reading about this experience....

Observation 1 - 3rd year - Colegio C. - Methods2 - 2009
Observation 1 - 3rd year - Colegio calasanz - Methods2 - 2009 Shorli83 First observation on a 40-minute lesson in 3rd year of Colegio Calasanz, CABA, 2009.

May 14, 2009

First Class in a new adolescents or adults course, what shall I do?

At the beginning of a new course of adolescence or adult students, I'd try to engage them in a set of activities. That very first class (assuming a 40-minute class) will be devoted to get to know each other and motivate them to start the year with the right foot.

Ice-breaker: BRANDED NAME (10 min)

Sit them in a circle (if possible due to sitting arrangement) and ask the first one to say his/her name and a word or brand that they know in ENGLISH. Each student should have to repeat the previous student's word and add a new one. By the end they will have mentioned at least 20 words in English.

OUR REASONS (10 / 15 min): These words should work as starting point for me to ask them whether they use English in their every day life or not? And ask them to carry out a short survey within the class to find out the top 5 reasons why they should study our subject.

After some minutes, I will ask them to write on a poster their reasons and to find out a title that will summarize their objective.

STORY TIME (10 min): After they've finished with the poster, I will read the following story asking them to find connections between the reasons they've written down and the story.

In your hands, NLP in ELT, Jane Revell and Susan Norman, Saffire Press, 1997
In your hands, NLP in ELT, Jane Revell and Susan Norman, Saffire Press, 1997 Shorli83

In the end I will give out the following copy taken from The Teacher's Magazine #110, EDIBA, February 2009, for the to reflect upon for Homework and come up with one thing they can commit themselves to throughout the year:

Learning a Langauge, The Teacher’s Magazine #110, EDIBA, February 2009
Learning a Langauge, The Teacher’s Magazine #110, EDIBA, February 2009 Shorli83

Based on Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Tricia Hedge, Oxford, 2000 (Chapter 1)