Friday, June 6, 2014


I have more than 30 posts in draft form, so I decided to do some house-cleaning.  It was interesting to see this one from about eight months ago. I'm not sure why I didn't post it at the time.  I gave myself good advice -- I know, because I took that advice and it helped!

I had a lot to think about on the train ride home after today's lesson.  We spent some extra time discussing homework and we also spent a little time catching up on items from our last lesson, so we didn't break into pairs or small groups as we usually do.  It also seemed that the most talkative learners dominated our whole-class discussions ... I didn't manage that very well.   One learner commented on that at the end of the lesson (he's able to hold his own, but to his credit he spoke on behalf of those who are not so outspoken).

He has a valid point and I accept it.  I haven't been giving everyone a fair opportunity to participate. I know that the right thing to do is record myself or ask a peer to observe a lesson.  In the meantime, there are some things I can simply pay more attention to:

- give a few moments for everyone to write first, then call on individuals to share (don't just open questions up to the floor)
- break into small groups more. Perhaps make one group out of just the quieter people.  They will be free of the stronger speakers for that period of discussion time.
- privately invite some of the stronger speakers to support those who are more hesitant to speak. After they have their say, maybe deliberately hand off to a quiet person with "Miriam, what do you think?"

I titled the post "humility" because  I think it's beneficial to hear things I may not want to hear, give them some open-minded thought and adjust accordingly.

That said, as I was writing this post I realized that the lesson had its good moments too. I arrived early and spent 10 minutes sitting with one of the quieter learners, answering questions and helping her.  And another learner shared an experience where recently-studied vocabulary helped him outside the classroom!

Just for decoration!

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