Saturday, 3 October 2009

Back to the Chalkface

I really enjoyed interviewing 16 Swiss German students last Wednesday for an FCE mock interview exam. It was a very gentle introduction back to the chalkface after a few weeks' absence. I repeated the opening instructions for Part 2 of the FCE exam 16 times. Below is one I have made up using my own photos.

You have one minute to compare and contrast these two places and say which of the two you would prefer to live in and why

Well, both pictures are similar because they show a road of some sort. However, they differ because the roads are set in completely contrasting environments. The road in the top picture is in the middle of the countryside and the photo was taken during the day, whereas in the second picture the scene is a very busy one and it is night time.
I like the fact that the place in the top picture is in a quiet and unspoilt location, far from the madding crowd. I would be able to feel free and relaxed in such a place. The view of the city at night time doesn't appeal to me because I don't really like busy places. It looks as if this road runs through a historical city and I can make out a tower in the distance. Probably a lot of visitors would come here and this city would generally be very crowded.
I personally would prefer to live in the countryside such as shown in the top photo, as the pace of life there is much slower, less frenetic and more healthy.

Click to see a full Interview for Part Two of the Cambridge First Certificate in English exam from UK Student Life.
Click on the link to hear Part Two of the Interview exam from The British Council.

Teaching Unplugged

I have slotted in 45 minutes on Wednesday 7th October to try out teaching the "Dogme" way as an experiment. As suggested in this article on Teaching unplugged by Scott Thornbury written in "It's for Teachers" in 2001, I will walk into class with nothing but myself. No photocopies, no props, no realia and I will just see what happens. I am going to study this post here by Scott Thornbury , this interesting article from Tech ELT Blog on Dogme and Technology, and also read Karenne Sylvester's postings "The Dogma of Dogme"and "Any Given Dogme". I am just so curious about this form of teaching, which is all about flexibility, creativity, spontaneity and empathy with the learner. The teacher and students learn and develop from each other. I usually hope my lessons involve all of these factors. However, deliberately armed with mental props only, I am intrigued as to how the lesson will pan out. I need to mention at this point that I am usually very well prepared for my lessons and I like to have a "plan" of action. So not having a plan goes completely against my very essence of being the teacher I am. "In bocca al lupo" = Into the mouth of the wolf!


popps said...

Wow,you really did get into the improvisation thing !!
Good luck.
Now, why is an Italian British teaching Swiss Germans?

LLJB said...

Hi there popps

I am back in UK for family reasons and also doing some teaching at the Lake School of English. Students from all over the world come to the school to study general English/teacher refresher courses/ESP and anything else that students would like. It's the best school in Oxford.

I start full time tomorrow for 2 weeks and am looking forward to some F2F teaching after a period away, mostly doing online stuff.

F2F or online teaching? Pros and cons? It's a good question. What do you think?

popps said...

I'm old fashioned, it's got to be face to face, the same with playing chess.