Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3C - Homework for Tuesday, May 16

Group B:
1) Look online and find answers to the following questions:  What is a flipped classroom?  In what ways is it different from a traditional classroom? Do you think this would be a good experiment in the English lessons?  Why or why not?  Answer in your activity journal or in the comments below!

Group A:
Read the following text, then leave a comment about your experience with activity journals.

Posted by:  Dr. JoJo
English is not just a "Fach in der Schui"!

In the fall semester all of my classes started writing activity journals. I wanted the students to have contact to the language outside of the classroom because in one school year we are lucky to get 60 hours of lessons.  That's really not enough to get students, especiallly the unmotivated ones, to reach Matura level in English.

The idea was simple:  each week, every student had to do an activity in English (you can see the list of ideas here) and had to write a short entry in their activity journal about the activity. I hoped that the students would find something they would enjoy doing in English (watching videos or DVDs, reading about their hobbies, listening to music, practicing English with tourists or in online games, etc.) and learn to love English.  However I didn't think everything through.

First of all, not all of the students took the activity journal seriously.  Some of them didn't do English activities and just wrote about their weekend in English.  These students were practicing writing, but they weren't getting any input.  You know what they say "garbage in - garbage out."  In addition, I didn't have students correct their mistakes.  Instead, I expected them to review the mistakes and stop making them in the future.  But, of course, they are still making the same mistakes that they made the first day.  Finally, some students waited to turn in 10 journal entries at the very end of the semester.  That defeated the point of the exercise:  do an activity, practice writing, get feedback, improve.

In the second semester I changed the formula.  I asked students to write on a given topic in their activity journals.  That way they could practice vocabulary, idioms, grammar, and talking points that we had learned in the lessons.  Moreover I asked the students to correct the entries with a high number of mistakes.  Unsurprisingly, the number of activity journals I received dropped off dramatically.  Only the highly motivated students still do the exercises, and even fewer do the expected corrections.

I wish students could see that English can be fun, and that they could be good at it if they would just spend a few minutes a day doing English activities.  What can I do to motivate my students?  Please leave ideas in the comments!

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