September 13, 2009

Reflections on my first taught day

TIRING and INTERSTING are the words that first come to my mind, when describing my first day. Tiring because my brain was so tired trying to listen to each and every word, assimilate the information and store it somewhere, anywhere really.
Interesting because there was so much I enjoyed and learnt, for e.g. Elaine’s experiment with the 17 times table. I realized that when it comes to learning we all learn things the way we are used to, or as we were first taught. When people in the class had different ways and means of doing the 17 times table, I kept going back to my own way, in my head. Does that mean our learners acquire knowledge using different tools? But, what I don’t understand is what about when the learner who hasn’t been in formal education, before they came to an ESOL class? How do they cope? Do they pretend to understand things when everyone else seems to be getting on with their work? I think in my practice I need to be more aware of my learner, their previous learning strategies, if they have any.
Another interesting experiment was the one with serviette and water lilies; again the point that struck as most fascinating was how some of us couldn’t do it despite having the same instructions. Does that mean we have to simplify or change instructions for certain learners? But, I also believe that sometimes you just don’t get things right the first time, it doesn’t mean anything. How do we differentiate that it was just one of those things that you didn’t get the first time? I think experience is the answer to all these questions.
Be aware of your learner, their learning style, their background both academic and personal is going to be my mantra.
Feedback,I in my opinion is just being able to see what another person thinks about your work. It may be good, in that case there is really nothing to worry about, but if there are things to work on, then it only depends how positively it is put forward.

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  1. Hi Jaya. You obviously came out of the session with lots of questions to answer, and all of them are very pertinent to the session. You might like to think about ways that you can start to find answers to some of them. For example, the questions about how learners feel about things might be answered by talking to some of the learners you deal with on a day to day basis about the way they feel in the classroom – this can often be a complete revelation! Particularly in ESOL you will discover that one of the worst questions you can ask is “Do you understand?” as the default answer is often “yes”, particularly in the case of some cultural backgrounds (people from Japan always say “yes”), so we have to look for other ways of making sure they do understand (we’ll be dealing with this in later parts of the course). Other ways of dealing with the questions that occur to you, of course include things like reading ESOL books, talking to colleagues, and do feel free to ask us if there is something burning you think we might be able to respond to!

    17 Sep 2009, 11:21

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