March 10th Framework for planning topics … • The target for the class was to analyze and identify the framework for planning topics. We had already worked on the essential parts of a lesson plan some weeks ago, but in order to have a better idea of the implications around creating and designing a good lesson plan, Harold explained us a general overview of five main points we have to take into account when choosing the topic for the lesson. The first one refers to the activities, it is important to identify a suitable activity that helps us to reach our objectives and main goal, so depending on the focus that we have, we can choose among many activities such as: filling in the blanks, debating, mimic, reading a story, playing a game, etc. • The second aspect is related to the thinking demands that are those skills and abilities required when doing the activities, some examples are: classifying, summarizing, memorizing, predicting, abstracting, etc. The third one refers to the language demands; these are the responses we expect from the students, (language functions, discourses, and grammar and vocabulary aspects). The fourth aspect refers to the resources; we, as future teachers, have to innovate and use different tools such as: videos, published materials, real objects, visits, etc. It is important to have second options as we have to be prepared if something goes wrong. The last aspect is related to the products, that are the final results of the activities, some examples are: written tests, role-play stories, completed charts, drawings, etc. • are really efficient.
After the explanation, we read a poem about germs; we analyzed it and worked in small groups to create a lesson plan with that topic. At first, it was difficult because we were confused with the way we had to establish the objectives, as we tended to associated them with the procedure. Indeed, this activity was interesting and useful because we put in practice everything of what Harold had explained us about the important aspects when planning the lesson plan, so as one teaching tip says, â€œwe have to be clear and coherent when writing up our objectives in lesson plansâ€?. are We learned that designing lesson plans requires commitment, analysis and dedication; it is a long process in which we have to take into account many aspects, but after having good results (sometimes the things we expect to happen in the class change, but thatÂ´s part of our profession, to be creative and find the way to redirect our focus), and a good reception from the students, you feel that you are doing well and that lesson plans.
Audio-lingual Method…. •
Today’s meeting began with the microteachings, so the first one was the Audio-lingual method, our classmates, Carolina and Andrés, were the ones in charge of this class. The objective of the lesson was to pronounce appropriately the /v/ sound; to achieve this our today’s teachers started the class through a conversation, that included some words with /v/; then, they made us to pronounce different sentences of this conversation through drilling , repetition and a constantly assessment. After that, they made us to repeat again other words with the same path of pronunciation, with the aim to identify some of these, in a short scene of “v the vendetta”; besides, they made another activities in which we had to pronounce some extracts from the movie as well. At the end of the microteaching, they displayed some tongue-twisters and made us to organize some sentences that included some words with /v/, in order to complete the aims and tasks of today’s class. This particular method was very well developed by our classmates, in terms of the roles that they had to accomplish , as they constantly guided the entire class actively. In the audiolingual “the teacher is the one who dominates the method” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 62) However, we noticed that this kind of methodology is very structural, as it is permanently concerned about the grammatical elements of the target language.
In this particular case, the method emphasized the correct usage of the phoneme /v/ leaving behind social elements, as interaction that are essential for learning a second Language. Moreover, we ,as students in the method ,felt that the only role that we had in this class was to reproduce what the teacher said ,“ students are viewed as organisms that can be directed by skilled training techniques to produce correct responses” .”(Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 62). Nevertheless, if we ,as future teachers ,use some activities that this method provides in a clever way without being so tedious, we can develop structural consciousness and knowledge in our students in an ingenious way. Besides, the constantly assessment by the teacher in the Audio-lingual is absolutely important to correct the different mistakes and errors in our future students; this will guarantee someway a successful learning in a second language.
We started the class creating together the enabling, terminal objectives and the goal of the poem of germs. Then, after identifying how we had to design the objectives, we analyzed the lesson plans we had created in small groups in order to highlight positive aspects, ideas and proposals, but also to determine some aspects that needed to be changed and reformulated. We consider useful when we analyze together other´s work because there are more points of view, and these contributions enable us to realize about aspects we need and should improve. After that, we watched the video of the Audio-lingual microteaching. The purpose was to identify what had happened, if they had been loyal with the method, and to give pieces of advices to improve. Some aspects we discussed were the way they started the microteaching, saying that some tasks would be difficult and being too apologetic; we as future teachers, have to avoid that because students won’t have the disposition we expect from them. Another aspect is the importance of using all the space and not being stuck in a specific part of the classroom. Additionally, we talked about how to deal with different type of students (those who like chatting all the class, the lazy ones, the shy students, etc.); we need to establish strategies such as speaking louder, and involving all the class in the activities we design. To conclude, we analyzed the components of this method in terms of the objectives, the syllabus, the teacher and the students´ roles and materials.
The Silent Way…
Today’s meeting was the second microteaching: The Silent Way Method. Our classmates Diana and Lina were the ones in charge of the class. The target for today’s session was comparatives and superlatives, so our teachers started displaying a chart with words in different colors; then, they pointed them, with the aim to repeat them and create sentences; after doing many times this activity, our teachers gave us a set of rods in different colors and sizes to create again another sentences using the same path of the previous task.
This microteaching was very interesting in the sense that we, as students ,were completely autonomous of the activities and in our understanding because in the method“ learners are expected to develop independence, autonomy and responsibility” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 85) . Furthermore, we didn’t have any kind of assessment from the teacher, so we had to correct ourselves. “The absence of correction and repeat modeling from the teacher requires the students to develop “inner criteria” and to correct themselves. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 85) Another interesting aspect that we noticed was the role of the teacher, because Diana and Lina were modeling without saying any word ; in this case materials played an important role in the second language learning process as they helped teachers to guide and demonstrate how the activities should be done. Through the rods and the Fidel charts, Diana and Lina could develop the activities.
At the end of the class our teacher Harold asked us if we as future teachers will use the silent way method in one of our future classes, and most of us said no; the principal reason on that response is that we thought that this method is very passive in terms of the teacherâ€™s role and it only provides a structural way of learning; however, we tought that this method had a lot of advantages as it develops cooperative learning between classmates. Besides, this method will be very useful if we teach it in the first levels since it provides foundations and the first notions of grammatical elements in a second language in our future students.
March 31st Perceiving Information… The target for the class was to analyze the different ways of perceiving information. This issue is important when teaching, as there are teachers who expect a specific answer from their students and they don’t realize that not everyone develops the same way of perception. To have a better understanding of this complex aspect, we worked in small groups analyzing five sentences, we had to find out the similarities and create another sentence following the order. Each group wrote a sentence but no one created a perfect one with all the characteristics Harold expected. After this exercise, we realized that as future teachers, we can´t expect a specific answer, and as Harold said,”do not expect answers to please you”. Indeed, students perceive information in different ways, some prefer to be more sequential and others more random, some students perceive information in an abstract way, others in a concrete way; so, we have to be aware of that and understand that students learn differently. For this reason, it is important to get to know the students and try to develop different strategies that facilitate learning and understanding, because each student has their own learning style.
Furthermore, we discussed that not only is the information perceived differently, but also the materials; the way the teacher delivers information to the students also affect their learning process. To conclude, we consider that is undeniable that students have different interpretations. What it is important is that teachers have to develop the awareness of considering this fact in the classes. Teachers canÂ´t pretend that their students assume a task in the same way, and they have to take into account the effort and commitment students put when doing an activity, and of course accept different answers and possibilities.
April 3rd Suggesstopedia… Today´s microteaching was Suggestopedia. The classroom was decorated and arranged in a way that there were some blankets and mats to be relaxed. The first activity was accompanied with music; we had to imagine that we were in the beach, enjoying time with people we love, having a good moment. We really loved this part because we had the opportunity to remember some memories from the past and just feel relaxed, so music worked as a tool for therapy. Indeed, “the most conspicuous feature of Suggestopedia is the centrality of music and musical rhythm to learning.”(Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 100). This warm-up activity also was intended to low the tension and stress we had, and prepared us to continue with the following activities in a better attitude. That´s why “this state is felt to be optimal for learning, in that anxieties and tension are relieved and power of concentration for new material is raised”.( Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 102).
Then, we worked with a fable and performed it in pairs, we had to be expressive and use our body to perform the narration. After that, we did an activity related to the vocabulary seen in the fable that was also in the walls. We think that it is a good strategy for learners to see vocabulary exposed in the classroom as a way for retaining those words easier and to memorize them. Then, we made some sentences and our partner had to guess what the word (from a card) was.
Another strategy they used during the microteaching was the arrangements of the classroom that facilitated participation and a good environment, so we formed a circle and made the final activities. In fact “learners sit in a circle, which encourages face-to-face exchange and activity participation” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 104).
Although the method says that “people remember best and are most influenced by information coming from an authoritative source” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 101), they weren´t authoritative at all, they were kind and collaborative with us, giving instructions and exemplifications without being too strict. The activities they proposed were adequate, but they didn´t focused too much their attention on memorization.
T. P. R…. We also had the Total Physical Response microteaching that day. We had read about the method, so we already had a general idea of it. The girls who were microteaching started modeling a sequence of movements that we had to imitate. The level of difficulty increased with the final sequence as we had to remember all the steps. This warm-up activity reflected the importance of memorization, and how we had to pay carefully attention when performing the actions. Then, we tried to associate different adventure sports with movements in order to remember them. They stressed on rehearsal, so that we recognize the sports and remember the sentences without much problem. Indeed, as the method says “combined tracing activities, such as verbal rehearsal accompanied by motor activity, hence increase the possibility of successful recall”. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001:74). During the whole activities, we, as learners, had to associate grammar aspects, create sentences related to the topic of the class and work on motor activities, so imperatives were the main aspect they used. Through movements, we understood better and achieved the purpose of the class that was to improve memory and comprehension. Taking this into account, they were loyal with the method as “Physical Response requires initial attention to meaning rather than to the form of items. Grammar is thus taught inductively”. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001:76). We consider that they gave us enough input, as they modeled all the time, this aspect was fundamental during the activities because it helped us to have better results when performing.
Community Language…. Today’s microteaching was the Community Language method. Our classmates Sebastian and Paula were the ones in charge of the class. The target for today’s session was to know the basic greetings and sentences in Italian and German . The class started by creating two groups, the German group was with Sebastian and the Italian group was with Paula. Through the activity our teachers presented us one sentence in one of this languages, in order to say it but with one personal information about ourselves. The teacher´s role in this method was crucial in the sense that he provided the information and then we had to say it; if any mistake happened the teacher, immediately corrected it patiently. He took his time for each student assessment because in this particular method “the teacher’s roles derives from the functions of the counselor” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 94) . Besides, another important aspect was the role of the students, as throughout the activities we were cooperating, with the aim to help ourselves to achieve the task., so we were working as a community “ learners become members of a community and learn through interacting with the community” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 94). That is to say that the key of this method is the social interaction between peers and between students and teachers. At the end of the activity we learned some new vocabulary and greeting expressions in Italian and German, it was really nice.
April 14th- 20th Holy week
April 21st A different listening activity…. After being in Holy Week, our teacher Harold started the class asking us what did we do last week for joy and entertainment. Then, after some answers, Harold set up today’s target that was to learn how to teach listening, so for achieve this, our teacher made us to paint a scene that happened in a Diner with a lady and a waiter; after finishing with the previous activity, Harold played the song “Tom’s diner”. It was absolutely interesting that we could understand perfectly the whole song with just listened it once. It was easy because through the painting, we could visualize the entire context of the song, so it facilitated our understanding. In this session we understood that listening is a skill that requires training, rehearsal, proficiency and comprehension. Furthermore, we realized that a successful listening comprehension in a second language in a classroom requires authentic real life listening situations, in that way students will be able to face daily situation without complexity. However, a teacher should guarantee the student’s listening process through different response activities to promote and improve the listening understanding of students in a second language class.
April 24th Whole language Method… The girls in charge of the whole language microteaching started the class very enthusiastic; the warm-up activity reflected one of the principal aspects of the method: “constructivist learning theory holds that knowledge is socially constructed, rather than received or discovered” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001:109). Indeed, we worked in groups and together we worked collaboratively and discussed the topic we wanted to work. It was team-work; we listened to each other´s opinion and created a good environment that facilitated learning. In addition, we read an article and wrote a short paragraph related to the topic. During the activities, the girls had a supportive attitude; this was because “it is important that teachers create a climate that supports collaborative learning. The teacher has the responsibility of negotiating a plan of work with the learners. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001:110). Indeed, they negotiated with us the topic, and they gave us some ideas that they considered we had to take into account.
The materials for the exercise were appropriate as they were authentic. The girls were loyal with the method as it is stated that “whole language instruction advocates the use of realworld materials rather than commercial texts”. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001:110). We think that using interesting materials encourage and motivate the students to read and explore more topics. We really liked the way they were involved in “the community we were part of” because they didn’t have the common role of the teacher that is in front of the students explaining a specific topic, actually they guided us and their attitude was a key aspect that they managed well.
April 28th Reviewing some methods….. For this class we had to bring the copies of the materials we had studied before, because we had to work on the methods seen in class so far. But, we started discussing a little bit of a meeting we had had about “Enseñanza”; Harold gave us some pieces of advices that were useful, one of them was the importance of taking advantage of collecting data from the school we are going to make the observation the next semester. We appreciate how Harold spends time of the class to discuss those aspects that are not related to the topic of the methods, but that are important in our academic process. Regarding this aspect, we think that, as future teachers, we need to think beyond the parameters of the class when teaching; we have to create confidence in our students, give them support and guidance when needed. Furthermore, we worked in pairs and made a review of the methods we have studied; we identified the approach, the objectives and the syllabus. We had to remember the methods and think about what had happened in the microteachings. One of the conclusions after finishing the workshop was that sometimes it is difficult to be loyal with the method, because we could tend to combine aspects of other methods; another conclusion was that when analyzing the syllabus of each method, it was difficult to assign or determine the type of syllabus, as there were some methods that tended to be structural or functional.
May 5th Reviewing some methodsâ€Ś We started our meeting reviewing a workshop we had worked and we analyzed together the elements and sub-elements of six methods. We were focused on the roles of both the teachers and the students, and the types of activities. It was interesting that we compared what the method said with what we experienced in the microteachings. For the studentsÂ´ roles we just had to identify which had been our position and how we were viewed according to the mechanics of the method. We compared teachersÂ´ roles and the activities we did. We concluded that there are specific activities that need to be done in specific methods (as they are the essence of the method); for instance, in the audiolingual method, the drills are the basis of the method; in total physical response, imperative drills are the major classroom activities; in silent way, Fidel charts are the essence; in Suggestopedia, the use of dialogues that develop reading, listening and speaking skills; in the community method, recording activities enable students to self-monitor; and for the whole language method, literature excerpts are important as they promote discussions and meaning negotiations. This review was intended to understand and clarify aspects related to each method. It was important that we analyzed together because it was useful for those students who were preparing their microteaching and thinking about the most suitable activities and ways to address the students.
May 8th Our Microteaching, Multiple Intelligences… Today’s microteaching was Multiple intelligences Method. We were the ones in charge of the class, so it was very exciting since it was our first experience as teachers. The target for our session was cultural knowledge around the world , so we developed the class based on the seven different intelligences. We do really liked this method because we noticed that our students have multidimensional ways of learning, our understanding as human beings is very complex and ,we as teachers have to be conscious of that fact. We created four different stations based only on six of those seven intelligences ( we skipped the natural one), so our first station was dedicated to the Musical intelligence , which is the ability of having “a good ear for music” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116). And the Visual /spatial intelligence , which is “the ability to form mental models of the world”. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116) So our activity in this station consisted on played a video that included different places around the globe, so our students had to complete the task with the audio-visual material. Then, the second station, was dedicated to the Kinesthetic intelligence, which is “the ability of having a well- coordinated body”, (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116) so we planed an acting activity for students to communicate through their body a particular stereotype situation. The third station, was based on the verbal/ linguistic intelligence, which is “the ability to use language in special and creative ways”. (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116)
Our students had to organize different paths of disorganized sentences and then join them with a set of different nationalities. This helped them to categorize the grammatical structure in a sentence. Finally, the fourth station was based on the logical/mathematical intelligence, which is “the ability to think rationally” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116), so we displayed to our students a logical exercise to make them discern in a second language. Thorough this four stations, the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences were present as well. The interpersonal intelligence is “the ability to be able to work well with people” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116), and the intrapersonal intelligence is “the ability to understand oneself and apply one’s talent successfully” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 116). After conducting this microteaching , we were truly motivated to develop ourselves as future teachers. On the other hand, it was kind of complex to try to think in activities based on different intelligences, but we are glad that we could accomplish the objectives in our class. We noticed as well that being a teacher is a profession that demands a real effort and it can not be seen as a joke. This effort not only comes from creating and developing the different activities, but it also comes from our inner and genuine motivation as well.
The Natural Approach… Today’s microteaching was the Natural Approach method. Our class mates Lina and Sebastian were the ones in charge of this class. The topic of today’s lesson was jokes. So our teachers played a video about a prank in which a guy made pass to his friend a terrible moment with his girlfriend. After watching the video, our teachers made a drill with the aim that we retell the different events that had happened through the whole video. Then, we shared some experiences of pranks in our lives. After that, they displayed a material with different pranks with the aim that we describe one of those. Continuously, we wrote one life prank experience and we shared again to the whole class. Although the topic of today’s class was very enjoyable since we had experienced at least a prank in our lives, the environment in the classroom was kind of rigid. The sense of this method is “to see communication as the primary function in language” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 179), and in that aspect we didn’t experience an authentic communication. We though that it was kind of mandatory to talk. However, this method is very nice if we want that our students learn a second language without making a big effort . Common experiences in life can facilitate the learning process, as they adopt the code of the language naturally.
May 19th The communicative method …. Today’s microteaching was the communicative method. Our classmates Andrés Muñóz y Andrés Montilla were the ones in charge of the class. The target for today’s class was to discuss about singles sex schools. To develop the topic our teachers organized a debate. They showed a video about debates of different U.S. presidents. Then, they divided the class in two groups. One side had to agree and the other side to disagree. First, each group had to prepare three different arguments, so we discussed in each group what arguments should be in the debate. After that, we started the debate, our teachers were the ones who conducted and mediated the whole activity. Each group presented each argument and discussion and disagreement happened. It was the sense of the activity. The activity was well- developed since through the debate they promoted “communicative competence” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 166). Besides the role of the students through this class was very well defined as we act as “negotiators” (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 166) when we presented our arguments. Although our teachers tried to be facilitators in the debate, their role was a little bit passive in the class. This method is excellent for promoting a natural learning process in a second language.
Our last class….
Today’s meeting was the Bilingual method. Our classmates Gloria, María Fernanda and Andrea were our teachers. The target for the session was to translate colloquial expression from one language to another. In order to get us in the mood, our teachers performed a relaxation activity as warm-up, so we did some body exercises to feel relaxed. Our teachers switched all the time from English to Spanish and vice versa. Then, they delivered us some material about a salsa song called “cachondea”. After doing some reading, we were asked to identify colloquial expressions in Spanish; all the class agreed in terms of each word Spanish meaning. After that, we had to translate the whole song into English in groups, it was interesting as it was difficult to find an equivalent word in English. Then after a barely translation of the song, we had to sing it. At the end of the session, we realized that it is impossible to find the essence of colloquial expression in both languages since each word represents a completely different background, so it makes each language significant and relevant . However this method is excellent if we want to reinforce the understanding in our future students at the beginning levels. In terms of the teacher’s roles, the teacher is the one who determines the shifts in each language, so he guides the complete method.
Text- driven approach窶ｦ We also had in this session, the text 窶電riven approach microteaching. Tao and Maria Paula were the ones in charge of this class. The intention of the session was made us feel different emotions. All the classroom had a comfortable environment. They made us sit on the floor around some candles; then, our teachers delivered us some papers that included short horror stories, with the aim to read them. Then, they asked us to share some of these with other classmates. After that, they asked us if we had experienced any scared situation, so some of us told the class their stories; finally, we heard a terrifying story, it was so real . Then, we changed the dynamics based on another topic that was dreams and life goals. They gave us some papers that included some inspirational quotes from different people to read them as well. Then, they made us shared some of those quotes to our classmates. After that, they played a very inspirational video which encouraged us to do everything we want in life as anything is impossible. Then, our teacher asked us about our dreams in life. Finally, the last activity consisted on funny messages, so they showed us some txt msn pranks that some people normally do, with the aim to read them also. It was really, really funny as all of them were real. This method was absolutely fantastic, as all the materials were authentic and made us feel some emotions, like fear, enthusiasm and happiness. Besides, all the activities were based on close experiences; it was easy to talk and feel comfortable about the three different topics.
Teaching Tips •
TT66: Be careful when asking students to choose other students.
TT67: Correct as many times as necessary and provide input again.
TT68: Check how things are displayed on the board.
TT69: At times, scold your students publicly.
TT70: Go to internet and find out test about learning styles and use them.
TT71: Do not be a stupid teacher, students assume task differently.
TT72: Do not expect the right answer.
TT73: Get to know who you are as a learner.
TT74: Share your jokes.
TT75: Provide your students with written models, pronunciation models and examples.
TT76: Work on elicitation a lot in a controlled way.
TT77: Weight up the use of L1 and L2 in the classroom.
TT78: Please monitor your classes after the fourth week.
TT79: If you find Felipito´s in your classroom, insist on correcting, you will get there.
TT80: Always ask yourself how much you are controlling learning.
TT81: Find ways for classmates´ control.
TT82: If you see students off-tasked explore why.
TT83: Don’t intimidate your students but do not look scare in from of them.
TT84: Don’t fight back your students.
TT85: Laugh with your students
TT86: Be patient with Harold.
TT87: Watch out for the pace of the lesson and the transitions between activities.
TT88: Band with your students with an academic purpose.
TT89: Please be in the mood and smile.
TT90: NO TENGA LA COPIA EN LA MANO.
TT91: At the end is important to leave things even.
TT92: Show interest on what students say in an authentic way.
TT93: Reply back in students answers