Tuesday January 8th 2019
This blog site really saved my bacon last night – allow me to explain …
Those who know me know that, as much I love the idea of technology, I know NOTHING about it. People have to show me how my iPhone works, how to access websites, even basics such as how to turn the computer on in the first place ! Then, when I’m on a piece of equipment … it breaks, crashes, gives up the ghost, malfunctions … dies (just last weekend I broke BOTH the office photocopiers – technicians had to be called).
In Greek mythology, there was a King called Midas who asked for a gift – he wanted to be able to turn everything to gold, just by touching it. I seem to have the ‘anti-Midas touch’ – every piece of hardware I touch breaks.
Last night, in the classroom, I wasn’t able to access the class ebook, nor my Powerpoint presentations (ppt) which I was going to use as warm-ups for the class. Fortunately, this blog page opened and I was able to use the IELTS blog for the class. The theme last night became ‘keep clam and carry on.’
So, in case a similar event occurs, here’s tonight’s Adult Class:
When I looked at the work, my heart sank. The text books are not aimed specifically at Vietnamese students, but for all students, possibly mixed-language classes. Subsequently, some of the themes are of limited interest to my students; consequently my class are going to be less than enthralled. I need to jazz up the lesson !
These classes are arranged in blocks of four, the last part of the last lesson being a spoken exam. Therefore, I will allocate the second part of tonight’s class to speaking activities and, to warm up, I’ll have them speak to each other but in the form of a market research survey. Quite simply, I need a new mobile / cell phone.
However, I don’t know which one to buy ..
It is very confusing – I am confused.
I love Apple but … they can be very expensive
In addition, the reviews have been less than favourable:
So I need to do some research, read some online reviews or do some market research.
The students will be arranged in small groups. One member will be responsible for gathering the information, then reporting back to me. I shall then collate all the data and display the findings in chart form (which will be beneficial for those who wish to study IELTS later).
After this, I shall do a vocabulary- building exercise – showing some basic words and a ‘better’, higher-level word (a ‘low-frequency’ word as some books term them).
‘I’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’
Examples: believe field niece priest achieve
receive ceiling receipt deceive
These are exceptions to the rule
This leads into the book work. Many study get confused with the I am / It is structure. For example, some teenagers and university students have wished to proclaim their disapproval of my classes, and have very politely shouted out, “I am boring.” They of course mean to say ‘I am bored’, which causes laughter from those who know the grammar, and a certain satisfaction on my part. Instant karma, baby !
The class will then practise the correct -ed or -ing form of the words, before moving into the reading and listening part of the lesson.
I like to use real-life videos for listening when appropriate. Tonight I’ll show a YouTube clip from Mark Wiens, who is a food enthusiast. In this clip, he tries a typical Vietnamese breakfast, and I want to see how much my class understands. Here, the paralinguistics are important; body language, intonation, word stress
Mark tries what is basically a pretty normal breakfast but he seems to be really enjoying it. Other students have found him very amusing, though feel he was overcharged at 91 000 VND (for two).
After break, I want the students to practise speaking, so I’ve prepared a list of general questions.
What did you do on New Year’s Eve ?
What was the last film you saw ? Did you like it ?
How many people live in your house ?
What is hard about learning English ?
How often do you chat online ?
Which social media sites do you use ?
What is your favourite food ?
Do you often eat western food ? Do you sometimes eat fast food ?
What sports do you play ?
What do you feel about shopping ?
What would you most like to buy ?
Do you like living in the city or countryside ?
Have you ever sang karaoke ?
What country would you like to visit ?
Do any of your family live outside of Vietnam ?
Have you tried Korean or Japanese food ? What did you think ?
This can be arranged in a ‘speed-dating’ format. Students sit facing each other, speak for a few minutes, then move on to the next student. This way, they are able to practise speaking and listening with a variety of people, not just their friends. There is generally some resistance (or even refusal) with adult students to comply, so I encourage them by using non-confrontational words such as ‘suggest‘ or ‘recommend‘. Having said that, last night in my IELTS class I used, “Teacher says ‘stand up’ ” … and half the class actually DID stand up and mingle. Hey – whatever works !
A good game to end is a variation of the British radio show ‘Just a Minute.’ Students are given a subject (for example, HCM City) and must speak for one minute without repetition, hesitation or deviation. This can be done in pairs, and they can time each other on their mobiles. In order to practise for next week’s test, we can discuss what makes a good answer, and how to use discourse markers to link ideas together.
Another ‘trick’ is the use of phrases or words to ‘buy time’ while they think of an answer. This can include:
Let me think ….
How can I put it ?
That’s an interesting question …
And also repeating, in part, the question but using intonation:
Q: What will you do tonight ?
A: Tonight, I will ….. (go home and study / meet friends)
Then, if time allows, I’ll play the ‘eyewitness’ game. This involves showing some faces (three men followed by five women) for a limited amount of time, then seeing how much they can remember.
Tonight’s objectives will be for students to be able to differentiate between confused / confusing, learn some new vocabulary and be more confident and proficient speaking in longer, more fluent sentences … and to hear how an American ‘foodie’ loves Vietnamese breakfasts.