Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Monday, May 08, 2006

Advanced Class Day One

by AJ

Today went better than I expected. It was a relaxed day. Much of the beginning of the class was spent chatting and getting to know the students better. While doing this, I was also gauging their level.

After our chat, we made individual learning goals (I did mine with Spanish). I asked students to create both linguistic goals (ex. learn 10 new words each day) and also functional goals (use English to pass a job interview). Once students wrote their goals, we shared them one by one and I wrote them down. I then posted my list on the wall, to remind me of each students goals.

Im happy to say that all of their goals are compatible with my methods. Vocabulary (especially idioms/slang & academic), pronunciation, and essay writing were the three goals that seemed to predominate.

Vocabulary is no problem. Ill be reading the newspaper with them most days.. which should supply a wealth of vocabulary. If that proves too easy, Ill get more academic texts off the internet.. or from my own book supply. As for slang and idiomatic English... Ill be using movies again. We started "About a Boy" today. Its fairly easy for many of the students, but by moving quickly I was able to give them about 10 new phrases... and a good discussion topic.

Pronunciation is a bit trickier. Ill be working with reading aloud and movies.. encouraging them to mimic me or the characters in the movie. Ill also be encouraging them to make good use of their time at home by listening, listening, listening, and listening some more. Ill also work on oral presentation skills with this class. Theyll be giving regular mini-speeches to the class.

Essay writing will grow out of the newspaper articles. Ill used the focused re-write method: students will write a very quick first draft. Then theyll edit their own work. Then we'll pass the essays around, and each student will help to edit. As they come to me, Ill rewrite key sections using standard, clear, concise English.

Tomorrow I plan to address group dynamics issues.. particularly the issue of making sure quieter (or somewhat lower level) students get plenty of opportunities to participate. Otherwise, we'll launch into the basic routine.. starting with vocab review, then 30 minutes of textbook, then the newspaper, then mini-presentations, then "About a Boy".

San Francisco, CA