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LEARNING, STILL?

Before I came to CEM I thought that teaching was the most important part of the process
for learning to occur. Then I came here and started remembering what it is like to be a
learner. Being in my sts shoes has really helped me shift perspectives. I have had the
opportunity to remember, as an adult, what I must have felt as a child. I remember sitting
down next to my classmates and enjoying my lessons (and games and recesses). Everybody
speaks about not letting the child within you die and how we have to keep our sense of
wonder alive. I think this applies for teachers at a different level too: teachers should never
let the learner inside of them die. This is my main lesson this week. This is what I have to
share with my colleagues when I go back home.
This week I was teaching Simple Present (third person singular) which, for a low
beginners class, might turn out to be pretty challenging. I tried to scaffold their learning by
providing them with plenty of activities. I rehearsed my instructions before class, I checked
the materials and discussed the sequence with my team. I thought I was prepared and then
just before class Juana told me You probably dont get nervous anymore, right? I didnt
have time to answer. I started my class with the examples and explanations about form and
meaning. I tried to provide them with a little bit of information about use too. I then
proceeded with activities that I had chosen and planned in order to support their
understanding of the subject matter. I have to say that seeing my students respond to the
plan and being able to achieve the objective was very rewarding. I was especially pleased
when Pedro started giving the correct answer for one, two, three of the items. He was so
sure about the answers that he even told people around him what the correct answer was.
Pedro has such a friendly disposition. He always smiles and says hello in the most polite
way. I was nervous that he was not going to be able to follow the task, but then, he surprised
me and gave me great pleasure by responding adequately to the tasks. He was excited
because he was doing well and I kept saying Good job, Pedro, good job. I had to make sure
to encourage my other students too. I had to force myself not to clap and jump up with joy
when I heard them speaking about what their family members do every day. I have to admit
that the fluency activity did not go as smoothly as it could have, especially because I got
carried away and intervened. I couldnt help correcting some mistakes I noticed my students
were committing. Even though my class was not perfect, I have to say that I felt very proud
of the learners in my class. Very proud of them, of how I thought I witnessed a little piece of
learning happen before my eyes. The main puzzle I am left with is to provide my students
with well-planned classes that will aid their learning. It poses a challenge for next week to
try to plan good lessons with appropriate activities that will foster learning. I hope I will be
able to face the challenge because I still have a lot to discover, so much to learn. Something
I have on my side is that now I understand learning should go first. Learning will go first
from now on. Hopefully, next week I will be reflecting more about what went right in my
class and in my partners classes.
My team and I were discussing this past week how we have noticed improvement in the
students. We were talking about how they seem to remember and be able to recall what our
class was about the previous night. We are all very proud of our learners and although we
may never see them again I am sure we have learned a lot from them and that they will
always have a special place in our hearts. We have learned from their stories, from their
lives but especially from their example and their desire to learn.
After my class, I sat down to write my hot reflection and somehow Juanas question came
back to my mind. Yes, the answer is yes I would probably say if I am asked the same
question. I still get butterflies in my stomach before a class. It is not the observation or the
certification that matters most for me. My students are my main concern, my main
commitment is with them.
So here we go onto next week and another adventure.


DAPA #1
Second week / Saturday, September 6
th
, 2014

Description

For my first ECRIF lesson I planned to study parts of the house. During this particular
activity, students were supposed to draw themselves in one of the rooms of the house
and then interact with a partner by asking the question: Are you in the ______? They
were not supposed to show their picture to their partner for the activity to be really
communicative. I gave the instruction and then I realized that they were not on task
probably because they had to convey the meaning of the word secret then draw
themselves and also interact orally. I saw at that point that I needed to clarify my
instruction. I particularly remember Mauren who kept looking at me with wondering
eyes. I was concerned about the fact that I couldnt get through to her. Finally, I
decided to scribble a house on the board and model what I wanted sts to do. I was
relieved when the look in Maurens eyes changed and she explained in L1 what she
needed to do. I have to be very careful not to take for granted that learners know
more than we have done in class until they show it in the fluency stage.

Interpretation Generalization Plan Action
The learners performance was
hindered by the fact that I gave
an instruction in which they
had to do three different things
at the same time.

It is important to keep
instructions fitting to the sts
level. In this case, instructions
should include one or two
actions and should only include
vocabulary that is familiar to
I will practice giving
instructions and using CCQs for
clarification before teaching my
next class.



the learners or that can be
modeled easily.

Maurens final understanding of
the instruction was helped by
her honest attitude. She did not
pretend to understand, on the
contrary, she openly showed
that she could not follow the
instruction because it was not
clear enough for her.



It is essential for the teacher to
be present and aware during
the lesson in order to aid sts
when clarification is necessary.






I will try to be present for my
sts and aware of their body
language and needs during the
lesson.






The other students in the class
benefited from the clarification
and were able to complete the
task.







It is necessary to word
instructions in different ways so
that students with different
learning styles can understand
and complete the tasks.






I will try to reword the same
instruction in at least two
different ways and I will use
CCQs to clarify meaning.






Following the instruction was
hindered by the fact that I
introduced a new term which
sts did not know (secret).




It is important for the teacher to
keep the sts linguistic abilities
in mind when designing
activities and wording
instructions.



I will keep instructions at a
very basic level for the next
classes and little by little vary
the vocabulary I use in order to
expose them to I+1 structures.






DAPA #2
Second week / Saturday, September 6
th
, 2014


Description:


For my second ECRIF lesson and after some hesitation on my part, I decided to teach
3
rd
person singular in the Present Tense. I thought it was a little risky because I
wasnt sure that this group would be able to handle the vocabulary, the exception (-s)
and the pronunciation of s and es all at once. Then I remembered Roger telling us
to trust our sts and to challenge them a little bit. I decided to go for it and teach the
topic and I also decided to include a discrimination exercise regarding pronunciation.
I provided them with three pieces of paper pasted on a popsicle stick with the sounds:
s, z, and iz. As I started modeling the pronunciation of the s and es, I noticed that
my sts were engaged in the demonstration and I felt they were ready to try the
discrimination exercise. I thought Here we go! and I proceeded. I was ecstatic when
they showed me the correct sound not only for one but for various words. I am really
happy about the way that activity went.

Interpretation Generalization Plan Action
The learning was at first
hindered by the fact that in the
sts L1 the verb does not go
through that transformation,
therefore, the pronunciation
does not change either.


It is important to keep in mind
sts lingu istic context when
planning pronunciation lessons.




I will reflect about the relation
the subject matter has with the
sts context in order to serve
their learning better.




During the activity sts had to
listen, discriminate and then
classify in order to show the
correct sound. This hindered
their learning because they had
to process a lot of information.


It is essential for the teacher to
divide the instruction in chunks
so that sts can complete the
tasks.




I will try to provide my sts with
short, simple instructions and
to model and CCQ the
instructions.





Some sts were a little hesitant
about the answers at first and
they looked at each other for
confirmation. This
collaboration helped their
learning a lot.



It is important for the teacher to
use different types of activities
while teaching because it
promotes collaboration,
cooperation and a sense of
community in the class.


I will include pair, small group
and mingle activities that allow
sts to interact.





Using the popsicle sticks really
helped different learning styles.




It is important for the teacher to
take into account different LS
when planning classes.



I will think about more
activities that promote learning
for V/A/K/T sts.







Hi Sonia!

Congratulations on successfully completing your second extended reflection. It
was a pleasure reading and commenting on your thoughts and reflections.
Your essay and DAPAs were beautifully written and provided us with lots of
insights on your learning journey and process so far on the course.

I really enjoyed reading your essay and learning more about what have been
some of your highlights and most important learnings this week. I particularly
enjoyed reading about your experience teaching and exploring yourself as an
experienced teacher and what that means to you in terms of your own feelings
and professional journey. I am thrilled to hear that you are still excited and
eager to continue learning. This serves as an inspiration for all teachers.

In terms of your DAPAs, you did an excellent job choosing moments that were
relevant and meaningful to you. Both DAPAs had lots of helpful details that
described the small slices you chose. All of your interpretations,
generalizations and action plans in your analysis section connected directly
and successfully with each other. My only suggestion was to add a bit to your
interpretations saying why you think something helped or hindered learning.
This would add another dimension and layer to your analysis.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Your assignment for this week has met the requirements and is an absolute
pass.

Thank you for all your hard work, dedication and passion.

With gratitude

Roger