Stumbling in my adults’ BGE Lesson #5

Posted by asecoli - Juli 7, 2009

While Lessons #3 and #4 at the Akademie Schönbühl went well, the plan for #5 led to an unplanned and highly emotional evaluation-discussion. After I had the participants write a fax (like a written test, which most of them managed quite well), I had the usual preparatory section. Already during that phase, two groups complained that the topics were too demanding: the group that had to present “how to talk about things in the past” (i.e. simple past) and the group that had to present “how to contrast things” (i.e. comparative). Then there was first a revision and then a vocabulary group (I used the vocabulary exercise also to revise old vocabulary). Then, during the “past tense” group’s turn, people seemed so stressed that I broke up the lesson and started a discussion/evaluation.

It was strange that all of sudden people did not remember words that we have had in every single lesson. They claimed that there were so many unknown words and so few revision exercises (while I, in contrast, had noted that they didn’t even fully use the revision offers in class properly). Back home, I first had to correct the diagnosis. What I could draw from their impressions and feelings is, that it must indeed be stressful for the presenters to pay simultaneous attention to (1) the language, (2) the voice/presentation style, and (3) the contents, and that it must indeed be stressful for the listeners (1) to decode the words and (2) to process the contents. Therefore, I have decided to provide the worksheets for the experts with a German translation in small print and, for the rest of the learners, to intersperse complex contents with more explanations in the learners’ mother tongue. Also, most of the participants seem to have forgotten how to learn, so I will probably have to repeat my teaching advice more frequently.

Let’s see how it will work tonight.

Joachim Grzega

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