Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Questions about Class Observation

A university student majoring in Education who observed one of my classes wrote me an email with questions about my teaching.  Here are her questions and my answers.

1. why did you do repeat "it's got be somewhere" and "the beaches of mexico" at first?

I didn't have much time to explain before class, but those are called Jazz Chants and written by Carolyn Graham.  One description is that “Jazz Chants are Carolyn Graham's snappy, upbeat chants and poems that use jazz rhythms to illustrate the natural stress and intonation patterns of conversational American English. Jazz Chants provide an innovative and exciting way to improve your student's speaking and listening comprehension skills while reinforcing the language structures of everyday situations.” (Multilingual Books, 2009)  I use them for the following reasons:

1. Students can learn the pronunciation of American English, especially intonation and stress as well as reductions.

2. Students can learn natural expressions such as, “Where did you put it?”

3. Using jazz chants gets everyone talking in English at the beginning of class, and it's comfortable because they're talking in a group rather than individually.

4. They're fun!

2.I think your lesson is more communicative than grammatical.
Why did you lesson such as?

The class is called Gaikokugo [foreign language] Communication.

3.I felt your lesson was main of conversation.
Do you conscious to make your lesson like a speaking lesson.

Do you mean that the focus of the lesson was speaking?  Yes, that's true.  It's mainly because the students have had very little chance to speak in the 6 years that they've already studied English.

Students always tell me that they're happy they get to speak a lot in this class.  The conversation is often something that may be useful for them when they meet visitors from others countries or when they travel abroad.  I hope they will grow in their confidence to be able to use English.

Sometimes students tell me that they didn't like English before but that they like it now!  That makes me feel as though I've succeeded in my teaching.

Students Playing Charades in Class

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How Do Factory Farms Affect Us All?

Farm factories are taking over livestock production.  This interactive map shows how your community may be affected, if you live on mainland U.S.  You can also learn facts such as “U.S. factory-farm dairies added nearly 650 cows every day between 1997 and 2007.“