If you could be something other than a teacher, what would it be?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Visuals for English Language Learners

Part of my teaching assignment in Peru, has been to provide Johnathan, the new English teacher at Pukllasunchi with some basic teaching tools, so we have worked on lesson planning, student engagement, classroom management, etc.  Johnathan is eager to learn, and very much likes to teach, so helping him gain some of the basics has been good for me too!

After modeling some lessons for Johnathan, he quickly adapted the lesson to his own style and has been following the basic lesson plan model in his other classes.  He teachers 6 classes of introductary English, so is able to teach the lesson, reflect on it, and then improve the lesson for on the next group of students.

English is a new languge for students once they move into the secondary school at Pukllasunchi Colegio, since in primary school, students are taught in Quechua, the ancient language of the Andes.

The lesson began with students brainstorming the names of the various rooms in a house.  Johnathan wrote the names of the rooms on the whiteboard, both in Spanish and in English.
In their table groups, students worked together to brainstorm all the objects or pieces of furniture one might find in each of the rooms of a house.  One-by-one, students were encourage to come to the whiteboard, and write the name of one piece of furniture their group had identified.

To help the students better understand the written vocabulary, Johnathan drew the floor plan of a house on the whiteboard.  Students were now asked to come forward and using the vocabulary words on the opposite whiteboard, to draw a piece of furniture from the list,  in the appropriate room in the house.

The drawing of the pieces of furniture was a great learning tool, for the students were extremely eager to draw!  More importantly perhaps, the groups began comparing the list of terms developed on the left side of the whiteboard, to make sure the object or piece of furniture was reflected in the drawings on the right side of the whiteboard.

Practicing some classroom management techniques we talked about, Johnathan effectively used proximity to not only monitor student behavior, but to also check for student understanding of the lesson.

In addition to the whiteboard activity where students drew the floor plan of a house, they also worked independently in their notebooks, drawing their own individual floor plan with their own pictures.  One of the final steps in the lesson, to see if the students had been able to master the lesson´s objectives.

In our free time, Johnathan and I talked a good deal about the process of planning a lesson. With English language learners (all students for that matter) the use of visuals in the lesson is critical.  Vocabulary development in English, using lots of visuals, is key for these students to successfully learn....

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