In relationship with each teacher reflection I did, I included an analysis of why I thought they lesson when they way it did. I included an analysis of the assessments used, whether those assessments accurately assesses students meeting objectives, and if students met objectives or not. Ideally, I would have student work to show as meeting objectives. However, due to the context of this class, I was not able to get any student work. All of our classes met virtually, online, and we focused on oral skills, since we could not rely on students have access to using the chat feature on other online writing tools like word.docs. In addition, due to the legal status of some of the students, the leader of the program thought it was best not to record the lesson for any reason. Below are my analyses, you can also find them within my teacher reflections.
This teaching context is very new to me for multiple reasons, and something I still don’t feel too comfortable with. First, I am teaching adult Spanish-speaking leaners with various degrees of proficiency. I have the most experience working with ELs who are children, have various linguistic backgrounds, but for the most part at the same level. Second, we are teaching on GoogleMeet for a course designed in person. Even though I am teaching my Middle School Germ class virtually, we use MicrosoftTeams, and I have access to many various resources that I cannot use in this context. Finally, we are working as a team of teachers, and myself am teaching with a co-teacher, which is new to me. Frankly, my co-teacher has been frustrating to work with because he does not communicate with me when I reach out regarding lesson planning. In addition, we meet as a team with all teachers before and after the lessons to go over the plan, and reflect after, but he is the only one that does not attend these meetings. Also, he does not have the educational experiences I have, and aware of educational approaches, specifically related to language learning.
I think out activities that we had introducing key vocabulary and features took much longer than originally planned due to technologic difficulties. It seems like it always takes longer to get things going, explain directions, getting students participating, etc. Also, I previously mentioned that my co-teach really tries to get all students produce 100% correct sentences, by fixing all errors, typing them in the chat, and having all students repeat. This not only takes up a lot of time, but I also think switches the students’ attention to more of focus on forms. I think students are much more hesitate to speak, or question if they are correct after each utterance, because he is always correcting their errors, so they feel they have to be correct in their sentences.
I was disappointed that the role-play and the scenarios activities didn’t work out, since I feel these were the most useful activities, that allowed students to use the language freely, and most mimic real life conversations. If we were more time-conscious, or meeting in person, I am confident we would have had the time for these activities. Also, I could have prepared an additional way for students to participate in the scenario activity. Perhaps, instead of students working as individuals, we could have worked together as group to draft an email that related to the scenario, and the co-teacher or myself could have put it in the chat for students to refer to. I think this would had led to more participation from students. Also, I could have typed it as well, and put in parenthesis students’ contributions, so that I collected some data as to what students were able to do and produce.
The class atmosphere in today’s class was overall nice, considering we only had two students show up, and had two teachers. We had a lot of opportunity for the students to speak and use the language, and perhaps since they were the only two they were also more willing to speak. I think the activity look at the rooms, and the students talking about their room worked well. Students were able to see vocabulary, inquire about certain words, and then use them in a meaningful context. This did take about 10 minutes longer than expected, for a total of 20 minutes. One reason being is that students really wanted to keep talking about their own rooms and items they have and activities they do, and sometimes there were long pauses when students thought of what to say. I think this was good, because it showed that students were comfortable and willing to talk. However, in the future, to shorten the activity perhaps I could say each student say three items they have in their room, and one activity they do, and move on to the next person. The next student has to repeat the items and activity the person (people) before them said, as well as name three additional items and activity they do, without repeating. This could work well in a small class, like we had, and could even differentiate, so that the most advanced student goes last each time, making the activity for difficult. I think I can also improve on using prepositions, the activity we did was a fill in the blank drill, which was not very meaningful, and does not simulate real life context. Instead, perhaps we could have done a role-play situation, where one student is looking for an object (kitchen utensil, remote, car keys, etc.) and has to ask the other student where it is (Ex. “Where is the remote?”), and the student responds with where the item might be located by offering two suggestions (Ex. It’s on the table. If not, it might be in the couch”). This way, students are practicing prepositions in a meaningful way in a context that might occur in real life. This activity could easily be turned into an information gap activity, with partners, if the learning context allowed. I would also move the conversations activity to the beginning of the lesson as a hook, or end of the lesson as a wrap up, I do not think it really belonged in the middle of the lesson. Finally, I think students enjoyed being able to use their camera and give a tour of the room they were in, and use the language we learned in the lesson. It worked well for our current context of being online with limited resources. I think it would be worth investigating more if it could be turned into a task. Perhaps students (or as a class) look up apartments for rent or homes for sale in the area, and go through the pictures and say what they like/don’t like about the house. Maybe one student could pretend they are the landlord or realtor, really trying to make the place sound great, and the classmates ask questions about the property, and what items/furniture comes with the apartment/house. I think this would be a more meaningful, and useful task for students that they might encounter in the real world. Although, I would probably have to rethink some of the previous activities and language used earlier in the lesson to fit this task. In addition, I still think it might be a little difficult to implement in my current teaching context, and for the other teachers to execute on their own, but you never know if you do not try. Perhaps with some time, careful planning, and preparation, we could make it successful.