Monday, March 17, 2008

the swelling

My Current Events English class gained yet another person, which puts me up to twelve students-- a number I haven't seen in a long time (as always, I expect serious attrition). It's good, I suppose, insofar as this means more money for the office. However, it's annoying as hell to have to take a latecomer through a week's worth of activities and handouts in order to get them up to speed.

The newest addition to the class is a sour-faced girl who speaks English quite well. I get the impression that she spent some time overseas; as with many such people, her English lacks the stumbling hesitancy so common in speakers who've never been abroad. I'm hoping she's not actually as dour as she came off today; otherwise, we're in for a rough semester.

We started the seminar phase of the class today; I finished all my presentations last week, so now it's up to the students to assume the burden of teaching their material while I step back and act as a facilitator, intervening when called upon (or when it's obvious the class has gone off the rails). Today's presentation wasn't bad, though it did go way off script: the first day of each two-day presentation is supposed to be about low-level cognitive tasks like knowledge and comprehension, but our presenter, EM, rushed through the Day One material (comprehension and vocab) and spent most of the class in discussion, an activity slated for Day Two. While she didn't exactly follow her plan as rigidly as she could have, I was impressed by how engaging a presenter she was: students were quite willing to toss in their two cents whenever she allowed them to, and she led the discussion with conviction and a sense of humor.

The only problem now is that, with twelve people in the class, we're probably going to need to break the class into smaller groups to allow everyone more time to talk. Not that this is a bad thing; I think partner and group work are the lifeblood of such classes. But still-- twelve people! While I've managed groups as large as 25-30 before (especially back when I was a high school French teacher), I much prefer a group of 6-8 people.

We'll see how it goes.


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