Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Spy - Week 2A

For my first recording and transcription this week I used the first 10 minutes of a 2nd grade class wherein I introduce the topic (Military) and brainstorm about different aspects of the military; such as army, air force and navy.  The transcription proved to be 7 pages which I felt was very long.  I think the reason for this is that I did most of the talking.  Almost all my questions were of the closed, display variety and although the students were very attentive and the atmosphere was lively, I only received one word answers to my questions.
However, for my second recording and transcription I chose the last 10 minutes of a 1st grade class wherein the students are playing a game.  The lesson topic was 'Movies'.  As always, I started the class by teaching important vocab.  Then, I checked their comprehension with a fill-in-the blank handout.  The last 15 minutes were devoted to a game where each student must secretly think of a movie title then give hints to the class using the vocab we learned ie. genre, setting, plot etc.
In this part of the lesson I say very little, and that was reflected in my transcription.  While my first transcription was 7 pages, my second transcription is only 4.  This was encouraging because it means that I do most of my talking at the beginning of class as a means to introduce the topic and give instructions.  I also noticed that my questioning style in the second transcription is different.  The few questions I do ask are always open-ended and referential.  I only spoke in order to referee the game.
Admittedly, however, when the students were speaking they were often reading from their work sheets.  So, it was not all 'off the cuff' interaction.  Also, I gave feed back with regard to content but made no attempt to correct the students when they made grammatical or pronunciation errors.  I felt that constant technical correction would impede the flow of the game.  I wonder if that was a good decision.
In the end about 8 different students spoke at length in front of the class which is pretty good.  But that is still only 8 out of 33.


  1. We'll be addressing nearly all the issues you raise here during the course. Or you can read relevant sections of Harmer ahead of time if you can't wait for your answers. I'm glad you've noticed that ss aren't accomplishing much in the long run if they are reading aloud rather than trying to speak, so the question is how to graduate them to higher levels of cognitive difficulty while keeping it fun and 'safe'. Meanwhile, I'd be looking at your first transcript for ways to make those opening ten minutes more interactive and learner-centered.

  2. I also noticed that I did most of the talking in my class as well after I watched my videos. Although its a bit embarrassing watching yourself, it definitely is helpful to know our strengths and weaknesses. And hey, 8 is better than none!

  3. It's shocking how many of the questions we ask are closed questions. I think we forget that the students need more encouragement to say something for themselves beyond just the basic content of the answer.