Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Día 58 - ESL class

So last night I started a weekly ESL (English as a Second Language) class with some Spanish speakers that I know.  I was curious how it would go since the levels all varied.  The levels varied from advanced to beginner.  I had six students and hope more come next week as well because the class is so much fun with more people and more ideas.

I tried out the Blaine Ray Materials: Look I can Talk.  It cost about $50 I think for the teacher's book and the student book.  It turns out that they structures are basically like the Spanish ones only translated.  So I could have saved 50 dollars.  But that's ok.  It's an investment in the lives of these people, many of them that have become special in my life in the last few years.

The class is once a week for two hours due to busy schedulesIn the first hour we have a one hour oral portion where we tell a story in the past tense.  Then we take a break and have a one hour reading session in the present tense.

Part 1:
Because you focus on structures in TPRS, we started with the following three structures:
  There was a boy.
  He wanted to have

  He liked and went ___.

After lots of circling and adding details, it became...

 There was a boy. The boy's name was Carlos.  Carlos wanted to have two small cats. Carlos lived in Washington. There were no small cats in Washington. Carlos went to Missouri. There were small cats and big cats in Missouri. Carlos was happy.

(parallel story)
Alicia was in Missouri.  Alicia wanted to have 10 expensive dresses.

Part 2:
In the second hour, we had the reading in the present tense which was very similar to the spoken story.  The students did a great job of adapting from one tense to the other.  Even the beginners were doing a pretty good job of following.  When we finished everyone seemed to be very confident that the lesson was interesting and a success.


  • Since I teach Jr High and High School every day, the dynamic really surprised me.  The people wanted to learn English.  They realized the need and I was helping them.  Unlike my students just wanting to have fun, the adults diligently took notes on the ways I asked questions and were very attentive.  They asked lots of questions and were very engaged. 
  • I was a little nervous because I do not have to think much about my native language but I thankfully remembered before teaching that 'Did' makes a question in the past tense.  So I wrote 'Did' on the board and explained that we use it in English to make a question.  Later I clarified that 'Does' is for the present tense to make a question
  • The levels were mixed but the beginners were able to hear the language from others in the class and I made sure to go very slowly and to point.  I felt confident about my pointing and circling enough.  I might have circled too much, but some of the beginners needed that input
  • I'm excited for the class to continue.  I get nervous before teaching a new lesson but they're so fun once you get started and it doesn't feel like teaching when TPRS is done right.  It just feels like you're hanging out with the group

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