This is Varinder Unlu’s account of her 5th Day using the coursebook.
Meanwhile, let me hand you over to Varinder…
It’s Friday – can’t believe how quickly this week has gone.
Today’s lesson objectives were as follows:
To learn/revise structures with wish
To understand different types of humour and practise telling jokes
To practise speaking
To revise defining and non-defining relative clauses
To conduct tutorials with students
Global pages 84 and 85
At IH London students change classes every four weeks and this happens on the recommendation of the teacher after a tutorial with individual learners in week three. Today during the final hour of the lesson I set the students a revision activity – relative clauses and conducted their tutorials in which we discussed if they will be moving up to the next level or staying in the same level. I also discussed their progress with them and asked them what progress they thought they had made over the past three weeks.
The lesson started fairly slowly and I had three students absent today.
We very briefly discussed how the students were feeling and what plans they had for the weekend. Next I did what I always do at the start of every class and put the lesson objectives up on the board and put up a vocabulary column.
- I asked students to turn to page 84 of Global and told them to look at the pictures which tell a joke. Students worked in pairs to put the pictures in order and figure out what the joke was. One of the Brazilian students got the joke after re-arranging the pictures and started laughing. The Asian students were a little perplexed at his reactions and couldn’t understand why he was laughing so much – more on this at the end of this post. I then told them that there was one extra picture and asked them which one they thought it was.
- I then played the joke so that the students could listen and check if they were right or wrong. They had managed to get the pictures in order. The Brazilian and Italian students said that they had something similar in their languages and were familiar with this. The Asian students had not come across anything like this joke before. We discussed the fact that humour is usually very specific to different cultures and that what one person finds funny may not be something that they may find funny.
- Next I focused the learners attention on the “extend your vocabulary box” – and asked them to read the other ways of saying funny. We clarified any issues with the language – students asked if they could use witty for things and when to use humorous. From this we looked at the expression: sense of humour, clown, clowning around. I asked the students to work in small groups and think of the following: a witty person they know, a hilarious actor or actress, a humorous story about something they said or did when they were a child, an amusing advertisement on television. (This is from the book).
- During feedback we only talked about the first one and students were keen to talk about someone they knew who was funny/witty. (I didn’t want to rush them onto the next one as they had quite a lot to say about this one thing and from monitoring during their group work I had heard them talking about the other things anyway).
- We then looked at the sentences from the first activity – the joke. I elicited and boarded the sentences and asked the students to look at the grammar explanation on the use of wish.
- The next activity in the book asks the students to look at the pictures at the bottom of the page and write two captions for each one using I wish + a caption from the box. In between the pictures and the caption box there is exercise 3 which asks the students to complete the poem using the beginnings of the sentences. The ordering of these activities is really confusing for the learners and I think that perhaps the pictures should be straight after the caption box. I noticed as I was monitoring that each student had started to complete the poem trying to use the captions and the pictures. I had to stop them and ask them not to complete the poem.
- Once students had completed the sentences, we wrote a few of them on the board and I went through any questions they still had about the uses of wish.
- Now we looked at the exercise 3 and I asked the class to complete the sentences for themselves – I didn’t ask them to do it as a poem as I thought it seemed a little random to start writing a poem at this stage. Normally I would lead into a poem exercise with more preparation so that students have a model to work from but here it felt out of place and asking students to just complete the sentences was a better idea.
- We had a lot of laughter during the feedback after this activity – students had written some funny sentences about themselves and one of the Brazilian students said that he wished he hadn’t got married and started on the subject of how difficult it is to live with women and then went on to tell the class why and this lead to the female students “fighting back” saying how difficult it is to live with men. I let this happen as they were clearly enjoying the banter and there was quite a bit of language emerging.
- I left the pronunciation activity out and went onto the matching up of the jokes in the speaking activity. We checked the answers and then I asked students (for homework) to think about a joke from their country and write it down.
- After the break I set the class the exercise on relative clauses and while they were completing this, I conducted their tutorials.
This was an interesting lesson because although it worked and the class were clearly engaged and enjoying it, I would do it very differently next time. I would lead into it with something else and then look at the pictures – there seems to be something missing at the beginning. I would also change the ordering of the Grammar activities on page 85 because of all the confusion about which activity students were meant to be doing – the pictures should come straight after the phrases in the box. When I ask students to work on a poem (and poetry is something I’m a big fan of in class), I usually build up to it differently – with some kind of example and work on a real poem. Here what would have fitted in really well is something like this:
by Rose Fyleman
I wish I liked rice pudding,
I wish I were a twin,
I wish some day a real live fairy
Would just come walking in.
I wish when I’m at table
My feet would touch the floor,
I wish our pipes would burst next winter,
Just like they did next door.
I wish that I could whistle
Real proper grown-up tunes
I wish they’d let me sweep the chimneys
On rainy afternoons.
I’ve got such heaps of wishes,
I’ve only said a few;
I wish that I could wake some morning
And find they’d all come true!
Students can see what they being asked to do and it gives them the confidence to be more creative.
We also talked about “I wish I were” and “I wish I was” – something which I think is important to highlight to student is that they will hear both forms being used and that “I wish I was” is becoming more and more common.
This was a lesson that I wish I had prepared better as I think there’s a lot more that could have been done with the subject. However I’ve been teaching, blogging and fulfilling my DOS duties throughout the week and by this morning I was feeling quite tired and my energy levels were low. (Don’t want to sound as if I’m trying to make excuses for not preparing properly!!). I didn’t project my tiredness on to my students though and I had one observer say how lovely the class and the students were. This was a nice Friday lesson.
My first week of teaching from Global has been a positive one, especially because I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to top Chia’s lessons. I have created a great rapport with my learners, I know them as individuals and see what they like and don’t like. I can tap into that information throughout the lessons and use it to help them individually. We have had some great laughs in lessons and we’ve also learned lot (including me!!). I have tried to integrate learner training in as naturally as possible by giving students tips about how to become better readers, what to do to improve their listening skills, what exams expect of them etc.
Something that Chia said after her observation of me was that I have a great rapport with my class and I’m enthusiastic about teaching – this is true because I love teaching but I believe that this is not enough. Of course, as we all know it is conducive to the learning in class if there is a relaxed, friendly atmosphere created. Getting to know your learners as individuals is more important and making them feel that they can be free to make mistakes and experiment with the language is important. Gaining their trust in you as a teacher is vital whether you’re teaching a Dogme class or from a course book.
Am I preaching now? Typical teacher!