Thursday, 23 June 2011

Have you Ever? - Part 2

In today's lesson we continued our focus on the present perfect tense. We began by looking at some visual prompts that enabled the students to practice what they'd learnt from the last lesson. The students easily picked up from where we'd finished in our last lesson and it was clear that they had retained the main points.

If technology can go wrong - it will!

Unfortunately the power supply to my laptop decided to give up the ghost which meant that all the remaining activities planned for the lesson on the interactive whiteboard were not to be. This was quite unfortunate as I'd devised some games and activities that would help the students further internalise the target language whilst having fun at the same time, my intention being that this lesson would be 'easy going' as they'd studied some serious issues in the last 2 weeks. I decided we would try 'Chinese whispers', using the present perfect tense. I whispered "I have seen the Queen" into the first student's ear which was then passed on by all eleven students. Hilarity immediately ensued with some shyness of whispering into each other's ears, the sentence obviously changed rather quickly and dramatically with some incredulous looks on people's faces and the occasional "huh?" The sentence returned to me as "I have never seen a cigarette". This was greatly enjoyed by the class with raucous laughter echoing around the building. The students were then encouraged to write 2 sentences each using the target language, 1 truth and 1 lie. When they fed back their sentences to the class we had the task of determining which was a lie. The students were quite creative with their ideas and it was often difficult to spot the lies. In a final productive written task students wrote about themselves using the target language. Overall the lesson went well even though most of what I'd planned went out of the window with my laptop's power supply.

I will include a video demonstration of what was planned on the interactive whiteboard anyway as I'd worked quite hard to make it enjoyable and personalised for the student group. I intend to use it in the future to review what we've studied this week.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Have you Ever? - Part 1

21st June 2011

Today’s lesson focused on the present perfect tense. This lesson was intended to provide some requested grammar focus, plus it was meant to be a break from some of the serious matters we’ve been dealing with in the last few weeks. As a lead-in students were asked “what countries have you been to?” Students made a list and then fed back to the class with myself prompting the use of the target language. A song was then played and students completed a gap-fill activity on a handout, I chose this particular song to exploit for its extensive use of the present perfect tense. Once they had finished the song and fed-back their answers to the class we then looked at the grammatical structure of present perfect. In the next task the students re-ordered words to make correct sentences, this led to a more in-depth activity where students made full sentences with the few prompts provided. Then as a final productive task everyone wrote 4 sentences and fed them back to the class; two things they had done and two things they had never done. The target language was used effectively with no errors and some humour.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Cardinal Points and Local Crime – Part 2

Tuesday 14th June 2011

Today’s was the second part of a lesson where we practiced target language from our last session ‘prepositions of geographical location’. It was my intention to present these language points for our students to understand and use fluently, leading into today’s activity where we discussed types of crime and their prevalence in our local area as well as regionally, nationally and internationally. In the beginning of the lesson we reviewed the structure and pronunciation of the target language and focused on vocabulary concerning types of crime in the local area. Then using the interactive whiteboard and we were able to examine what crimes are committed in Swansea and in particular where they are most prevalent. We were able to identify hotspots for Anti-social behaviour, being Wind street where many nightclubs are and a certain small 24 hour supermarket that sells alcohol around the clock on the other side of the city centre. We saw what areas were prone to what kinds of crime which concerns us all and students were able to focus on where they live and understand issues in their immediate area. In discussing relevant issues in their locale students used the target language effectively and effortlessly.

In this 2 part lesson I aimed to provide general focus on certain language points whilst ‘tying in’ activities that helped our client group understand some important local issues as well as looking at national and international figures to offer comparison.

As well as English language acquisition I hoped to embed the following areas into the lessons:

v     Map reading - Local/regional/national geography
v     Awareness of local crime rates and hotspots
v     Numeracy - presentation of data

Areas discussed/vocabulary used:

v     Violent crime
v     Crime prevention
v     Car/vehicle crime
v     Theft
v     Anti social behaviour ASB
v     Robbery
v     Criminal damage
v     Shoplifting
v     Possession of drugs
v     Supplying/ dealing drugs

Volunteer update:

We are wishing Dawn, our volunteer teacher the very best of luck in her new job, thank you so much for being patient and teaching some of the ladies at our group. The feedback from one family was outstanding, saying “mum has been so empowered by your classes, she practices her English around the house cheerfully with the help of us her children – it’s the highlight of her week”. Thanks Dawn and look forward to your visits in future.

It’s also time to wish Graham, another of our volunteer teachers the best of luck in his endeavours in China, he will be teaching English as well as coordinating other trainee teachers from Swansea University on their internship during the summer. Many thanks to Graham for his support, teaching and priceless help in the development of the UiD ESOL program. Good luck Graham and we eagerly await your return in September.

Last but certainly not least, I would like to welcome our new volunteer teacher, Fiona who has shown a keen interest in the group and has already established a good relationship with some of the ladies she will teach. It’s wonderful to see how Fiona is beginning to feel the buzz from what we do and how we help people through the acquisition of communication skills.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Cardinal Points and Local Crime – Part 1

Thursday 9th June 2011

It was a full class today with 11 students attending. I took the opportunity to show the class the video made with their voices dubbed in from our last lesson ‘Man Lying on the Floor’. Students enjoyed watching and listening to the video and we were able to effectively review the main points from that lesson.
Today’s lesson was entitled ‘Cardinal Points and Local Crime’ and was the first of 2 parts. In this part we focused on the use of prepositions of place and points of the compass, i.e. ‘Swansea is in the SouthandSwansea is on the South coast’. Students were familiarised with points of the compass in a task based activity where they placed vocabulary cards with 8 cardinal points in their correct locations on a picture of a compass. In order to cement this, students took turns to do this again on the interactive whiteboard with a timer; our gold medallist today was Sam who placed everything correctly in a record 20 seconds and Da got the silver medal with 23 seconds. We then focused on a map of Wales and practised use of the target language, allowing the students to prepare for the following task where they identified the location of several famous cities around the world on a handout before feeding back their answers to the class using the interactive whiteboard. In a final task we focused on detailed maps of the students’ home countries, this made for a productive spoken activity with correct usage of the target language. It was my aim in this lesson to embed some geographical knowledge and terminology in order for our students to better explain and discuss where they are and where they are from, which I believe is vital considering many of our students’ circumstances.
In the second part of this lesson focus will be on vocabulary concerning crime in the UK and students will be encouraged to use the target language from today’s lesson to discuss differing crimes and their prevalence in and around the Swansea area.