I was pleased to note that ALL of the trainees were in the classroom and were sitting quietly before the lesson began. They were even having a look through the paperwork I'd left for them. Progress indeed! That said, they were not the ones who'd been in my lesson last time. Still, so far, so good.
The topic of today's lesson was neighbours and the language points I was teaching were articles and quantifiers. I started the lesson by going through last week's homework. It didn't help though that one of the students had simply not bothered to do it. Well, he would just have to sit there while the others self-corrected and asked me for clarification.
We started talking about neighbours and whether students got on with theirs. Most had something interesting to say – F, a 53-year old man, made me laugh by telling me a story about his ground-floor neighbours who insisted on having loud parties several times a week. From his seventh-floor vantage point he was in the perfect position to throw water balloons at them. I just couldn't picture a middle-aged man doing such a thing. JA was in his usual odd mood, which meant muttered comments about killing people and calling police. I tried to brush it off, but that guy seriously creeps me out!
We then had a look at some language about relationships with neighbours, e.g., get on well with, do someone a favour, etc. While clarifying the meaning of 'to keep oneself to oneself', the ever-cheerful F piped up, "Ahhh! Is JA." [sic] and I couldn't help but agree. Silently of course. Outwardly, I smiled benevolently and quickly moved on to the next exercise – the pre-reading task.
Now either my instructions were not clear enough or the class was simply too keen to do the reading because two of the five did what I'd asked while the others got stuck into the text. Which made the pre-reading task redundant. You can't predict what you're going to read if you've already read it! Sigh.
The point of the text was to introduce the grammar point – articles. Based on some excerpts from the text, the students easily identified the rules, but actually applying them when speaking was much harder. Luckily, I had a game of snakes and ladders with question cards (thank you, Cutting Edge Pre-Int) to make the activity more fun. This class absolutely loves board games, JA excepted of course. Nonetheless, he enjoyed gloating at his team mates when he managed to give the correct answer and they didn't.
|So much fun!|
In an ideal world, I would have spent some time post-game looking at the language in more depth. But I didn't have time. Instead, I forged ahead and introduced the quantifiers. Again, if I had had more time, I'd have boarded some of the stuff, just to make it a little clearer. But I didn't. Time just escapes me with this class. One minute I have two hours to play with, and all of a sudden I find myself left with ten minutes of class time and 30 minutes of lesson plan.
Even without the boardwork, the students more-or-less managed to select the right quantifiers. There was some confusion over nouns that can be countable or uncountable, but otherwise, there were no real problems. We finished the lesson with a speaking task. Then, I assigned the homework and bid the students goodbye, and to JA, good riddance. Silently of course.
The trainees thanked me for the lesson and I, pleased that they had not stapled or written or talked through my lesson, thanked them. As I was leaving I told them they were so much more polite than the other group of trainees... just as those very people were leaving their classroom. Ooops.