Q & A

So the first lesson had come and gone. The seed had been planted and now it was time to get down to basics and begin teaching. The first lesson was dominated by me and delivering the idea of the project. Now it was time for the students to get to know each other and their teacher.

For this lesson and some future lessons my D.o.S, Emily Bell, (https://twitter.com/#!/emilyvbell) joined me in the classroom, to observe, teach and generally oversee the project.

The aim of the lesson was simply for the students to get to know each other through a simple Q&A session and to gather enough information to write a profile on their partner. To warm up, the students would interview Emily and myself. Their aim was to write five questions that would prompt the teacher to give the most interesting answer. The group with the most interesting answer would win.

We split the groups in half and monitored the question writing stage. Offering suggestions, helping with question construction, error correction and pron work. Thinking that the students would write their questions with the teacher who was helping their group in mind, I decided to swap with Emily so that we would get questions from the opposite group. Below are some of the questions;

What do you think about climate change?

How many tattoos do you have?

What has been/is your biggest challenge?

What was your most embarrassing moment?

The students wrote down our answers and when the two groups were finished we shared the questions as a whole class and boarded the answers in two lists. The eventual winner was my answer to the most embarrassing moment question, which saw me describing the day I managed to knock my self unconscious, while trying to climb through a window after locking myself out of my house.(worthy of a blog post in itself)

Now it was the students turn to interview each other. Again five questions and again writing down the answers of their partner. We monitored as before, noting errors and using the board to highlight language points. The interviews began and we encouraged the students to follow-up their initial questions with others to try to find out even more information to build a better picture of their partner. With the lesson nearing an end we did a whole class feedback asking each group to tell the class the most interesting thing they found out from their partner. Their homework was to use their questions and answers to write a small description of their partner.

Lesson reflections

A livelier lesson with a lot more talking from the students. A very simple idea lasted for a full hour and a half and produced a lot of language points for future lessons. Below are the main points that Emily and I noticed would need further work and that caused the students problems throughout the lesson.

  • Pronunciation (this area requires a lot of attention)
  • Tense endings and confusion between simple past and present perfect.
  • Conditionals
  • Wishes and regrets
  • Reported speech

Personal reflections

I enjoyed this lesson and really appreciated having Emily in the classroom to help out. It added another dynamic to the class and allowed me to spend some time to really work with the students on a more one to one basis. More importantly it gave me the opportunity to get immediate feedback on the lesson and see where things could be improved and also to hear what I was getting right or wrong.

I’m looking forward to teaching the class on my own and sitting back to try and tune into the whole class rather than working with one half of the students at a time. I think this will give me a more balanced idea of the areas to correct and work on.

Early days but some positive comments. Lots of areas to improve and work on.


5 thoughts on “Q & A

  1. I’d be interested to know what language points highlighted using the board. Why did you pick those particular problems and leave the others for another day? How did you highlight them? Did you build on the highlighting done with another activity, exercise, or homework assignment?

  2. Hi Chris,

    In future I will be trying to put more detail into the write up, including the particular language points that come up on the board and in general in the class.
    I tend to pick up on the most common errors that are repeated throughout the exercise or lesson. I try to make notes of all the errors but there are times when i don’t get everything down.
    After the class and in my post lesson reflection I look at the errors think about the type of activity or lesson that might facilitate certain areas that need work and go from there. It’s still early days so I’m still trying to work it out for myself. I hope I have answered your questions.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leaving a comment.


    • Hi Adam, Thanks for the reply. It’s just that in your post you mentioned “using the board to highlight language points.”. This gave me the impression that you address/work with certain language points right then. But from your response to my comment it now sounds like you don’t. I guess I’m wondering what you meant in your post by “highlight” and “language point” and “using the board”? Cheers, Chris

  3. Yes I use the board to highlight points that come up there and then. For example during an activity I monitor and take notes of things that I hear. Once the activity has finished or during a logical break, I go the board to highlight the things I have heard be it good or bad. I leave the highlighted language on the board and allow the activity to continue and hope that the students take on board what we have discussed.
    Sorry for the confusion. I think things will be clearer in the next post.


  4. Language plants are great for contrasting minimal pairs, if that’s some pronunciation points you are referring to. “Cat” and “cut” share 2 out of 3 letters. Write the vowels, one above the other, then use your hand to cover each one at a time, so revealing the other word.

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