After the workshop, please take a few minutes to jot down any ideas, teaching tips or techniques, etc that were covered, and which you felt were useful to you. How was the content of the workshop relevant to the courses that you teach? What did you gain from attending this session?
The main point I got from this workshop was about having objectives in my lessons. If I do not have objectives, and objectives that I want the students to achieve the lesson does not really have a flow and a definite conclusion. Sometimes a teacher can go through the exercise book and feel they have achieved their quota of the language learning book but has not really focused on the students achieving a goal for that lesson which is to be using the vocabulary, grammar and language speaking associated with that lesson.
I think what I got from this workshop was to be more focused on the students’ needs, their use of English language and achieving goals. The workshop made me think more about the book I use. I recognized more how the Interchange book is structured into cycles. This is that the students have a snapshot, conversation, grammar focus, and listening to assist them with their learning and thus at the end of the cycle, it should give them a freer practice to make sure they can use their newly acquired English language.
For myself, I try to get as much as I can out of each English language lesson I teach. With the information I have been given by the workshop host, I see our team of teachers are finding their way to the end of a cycle. However, there may be a question about objectives being reached for each student. I think from what the workshop talked about is that teachers should try to focus more on students’ objectives. This is the acronym SWBATs. The crux of the workshop was Students Will Be Able To’.
I think SWBAT is a focal point for me. I should be able at the end of the cycle in the book as well as the end of each lesson be able to see and hear the students using the grammar and vocabulary which I have been teaching them, hopefully without major problems. I need to know that each student knew their objectives at the start, worked through the class and hopefully achieved them by the end.
To conclude, what I took from the workshop was that teachers should remember to focus on their objectives while giving students objectives, so in the end there is a purpose to the lesson and a feeling of achievement. Thus, all students will achieve their goal of ‘students will be able to’. and teacher will be asking each other, ‘what are your SWBATs for today’s class?
I would like to say this lesson was my favorite because I feel as though I got the students to speak more English and be more relaxed doing that. I was very content to say that I gave the students the best opportunity to expand and use their English language. I also feel that the lesson was quite trouble-free. This made me feel pleased
I think right from the start I had the students focused as I got them into groups and had them up off their chairs to the whiteboard. This exercise had them thinking of things that happen in the morning before they go to an appointment. I felt as though this was a good learning experience because they contributed in their two groups, and I noticed that were all laughing at some of the mistakes they were making. I think this was great that they were happy to get it wrong and not worry. I was happy just to hear them trying. I must say though they were on the right track and mistakes were few and far between. I would say I just tweaked their words a bit to make them right. This, I did by using CCQ’s (concept checking questions). I also did some pronunciation, so I feel we all understood even the quiet students who I tried to involve. I am glad I was aware of these students and did something because there were some problems there. The words the students put on the whiteboard were also a great way to add emphasis because I challenged a few of their results by adding further questions like ‘where is the verb?’, ‘Do you really do this in the morning?’ but I did not overplay it which I liked. I think this was a good idea because they were at a lower level. I think now I have been doing this course I have become more student-focused, and I am realizing these problems the students have. I think for a teacher if they can help the class to work as one and help the weaker ones it will be great. I am glad during the lesson I established who the students were who had some little problems.
The only slip-up I noticed, and this was an action point of mine was ‘the challenging of students’. I think there was one point in the lesson that I should have expanded on. This was the ‘during stage’. I had the students watch a video and put their sentence strips of what happened in the order of the video. Even before the video they had to put the sentence strips in an order they thought. This time spent doing this, I think, would have made them accustomed to the words. Thus, if I had taken them away when they watched the video I think they could have retold the story by remembering the strips they had and having also watched the video. I realize that they were a level that was capable of retelling the story. Moreover, it would have given the students more chances to speak. It would have also made the ‘during stage’ longer. I must remember that I was doing a PDP lesson. This is where I must say time hindered me. I know that I should have cut stages down so I could fit in certain aspects, but today they were happy doing the exercise, and I thought that they were showing me that they were learning and using English. They certainly were not just talking Thai which I am aware some do. At that time I thought it would be rude to stop them from using this language. But, now I realize that there could have been other ways to make them talk, namely retelling the story. Even so, I felt they were learning so am I really wrong?
After all that has been said I am not sure my SWBAT (students will be able to..) was fully clear. I did say in my lesson plan the ‘students will be able to talk about plans to go to an appointment’ but that was in the post-stage. So, I think for a well-achieved SWBAT this might have been the wrong choice for this PDP lesson. This doesn’t mean to say I didn’t get the students to achieve anything. I did have them talking about things you do in the morning and being late for appointments. I think with the retelling of the story in the ‘during stage’ there would have been a SWBAT. I think a bit more preparation with the lesson plan will alleviate mistakes like this. I think a bit of foresight into the lesson can help.
I think for my next lesson I will still plan on challenging the students. Also, I would like to think that I will follow the PDP more closely. I am still doing good lessons but I think I still fall short, a little, on achieving the main SWBAT. I see this point because then I can actually gauge how much the students have learned because they should be using the new grammar/sentences.