Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week 43

This week we talked about physical appearance(s) and did excercises concerning that topic. I have a feeling that the women in the discussion groups found the topic interesting and had a lot to say about it, whereas the men had pretty brief discussions on the matter. Some useful exercises were left unused, and that is why I decided to continue with this topic also in our next sessions. However, I extended the topic a bit further in the sense that next time we will not be talking only about the appearance of different people but also something that men hopefully find a bit more interesting...

I usually update this blog on Fridays. Now I'm writing this on Sunday evening, because my weekend has been a bit different from what it usually is. First of all, on Friday I didn't have time to write anything on my blog because we had special programme at work concerning well-being at work ("tyhy"), and now my little daughter has fallen ill. That is why I, unfortunately, won't be able to go to work tomorrow; I'll stay at home to take care of our daughter. On Tuesday I will probably be back to work; then it's my husband's turn to stay at home and nurse our little girl. It would be great if she was healthy on Wednesday because they will be having a costume party in her kindergarten, and we already have a dress for her. She wants to dress up as a fairy. Hopefully some TLC (tender loving care) will do the trick, and she'll be able to join the party!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 41

This week the main discussion topic in our 'Coffee mornings/afternoons/coffee and conversation' -groups was tv, but we had different types of exercises compared to the sessions last week. This week we played the word explanation game Alias using different tv-programmes as the words to explain. I got the impression that people were pretty well able to explain the words to each other, and also got a pretty good grasp of what their partner was trying to explain.

I also made role play -cards, where there was a certain situation or a problem between two characters. Then the idea was that people would pretend to be that character described in their card and talk about the situation or problem given to them. Some people in the groups said that this exercise was nice and a lot of fun, but some said that it was too difficult for them. Luckily, I had prepared a few different sets of cards using different characters, and I was able to change the cards for some pairs to easier ones. That helped the situation a bit!

One of the challenges of being a teacher is trying to find or make exercises that are challenging enough but not too challenging for people. It is a tricky thing trying to figure out what people already know or don't know and act accordingly. Naturally, the skills of different people can vary tremendously, and you still have to try to give something new for everyone. The reality is that you win some and lose some also in this case, but I think all you can do really is to try your best and hope for the best!

Next week (week 42) there won't be lessons because of the autumn break, so we'll meet again for some coffee and conversation the week after that (week 43)!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Week 40; the beginning of October

This week the topic in my conversation groups was tv. I thought it would be a straightforward topic; something that everyone knows and has opinions about.

I was right. It was exciting to hear how people use tv, and what kind of programmes they usually like to watch on tv. Some people watch tv only a little (just certain programmes and not much else), whereas others have loads of different programmes they are more or less addicted to.

People in my starter courses are also starting to have grammar in their lessons, and during these past few weeks we have been practicing questions like 'where is'.. and  'what is'.. It seems to me that people in these groups are enjoying themselves and are not afraid to try. I think it's great! They bravely use new grammatical features I try to teach them, and also good pronunciation appears to be important for them. It is true that the English pronunciation is a tricky thing for a Finn because of the differences in the sound systems in these two languages. But quite honestly, pronunciation is not always easy for a native speaker either; just thing of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady when she tries to say the sentences like "In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly ever happen" or "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain"...

Next week we will be continuing with the same topic (tv) in the discussion groups, but the exercises will be quite different from those we did this week...

Monday, October 01, 2012

The third week of teaching; week 39

During this week's lessons with the discussion groups we continued to talk about travelling. This time we dealt with something that is important when travelling abroad: accommodation. We had exercises where we compared different hotels, and discussed the pros and cons of each of them. We learnt that certain people appreciate a central location of the hotel, whereas others don't mind staying a bit further away from the centre. Also different services within the hotel are important to some people but not to everyone. A lift is essential for some, and some people definitely need a shower - a bath just won't do!

We had interesting discussions, and people said that they learnt new, useful vocabulary as well.

Next time we will talk about tv-programmes and the different habits of watching tv.