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Lesson 3 – Unsure

September 10, 2011

In this class I tried going in with literally nothing up my sleeve for the very first time. I confess I had a backup article on the London riots in my bag just in case, but I didn’t intend to use it.

Knowing that I’m not experienced enough to craft a beautiful dogme lesson on the spot, what I did before the lesson was note down all the interesting ways of working with language that I’ve read about recently. Although I didn’t know exactly when these would be deployed in the lesson, I was fairly confident I’d have the awareness to deploy them at appropriate moments.

As it happened, I didn’t use any of them. Not because the lesson was a magical evolving thread of exhilarating conversation, or because I didn’t want to cut of the flow of learners’ speech. In fact, I kind of shied away from pulling out a ‘language activity’ because it felt too much like unnaturally breaking their flow and ‘opening the textbooks at page…’, even though there wasn’t a textbook in sight and the language would have been emergent.

We talked about smoking, and how learners feel about it when they see someone smoking in the street, in a cafe, in a restaurant etc. Some nice language came from it: ‘it bothers me when…’, ‘passive smoking’.

I wondered if there was no language that came out that I felt warranted such a big ‘exercise’ to take place. But that’s unlikely. Maybe the problem was that they were engaged, but not 100%, so an extended on the topic might not have worked so well. So my feeling is that I need to get better at spotting where their interlanguage is at and knowing what genuinely merits attention in the lesson. It’s only an hour after all.

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