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terça-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2014

FIRST CLASS REPORT


 

I entered the class at exactly 11:00 o'clock and there was just a student, very attentive and solicitous, she volunteered herself right away to help me, she went to the school office in order to bring me the attendance book. Then she got back and gave me the attendance book which I was not used to, and so she started telling me how her teacher used to handle it, which was to put a capitalized "I" for the present students and a dot for the absent ones. As there were so many drop-out students in the class I was not able to recognize them in the attendance book, but she kept helping me with each one of them and I was marking as she explained to me. I started the class by introducing myself to her in Portuguese explaining my teaching practice period with them and then I asked how she was that day and her name in English, she had difficulties in understanding those basic questions which I had to write on the board not just the questions but also I had to draw pictures of happy, more or less and sad face, I also used hand signals, I tried many possibilities to finally make her understand me without translation. Wishing to apply the Communicative Language Teaching approach, I was trying to activate her schemata with any possibility for her to release any linguistic potential, when at sudden my Professor entered the room, I got somehow anxious and as a result, I made some slips as the Professor corrected me but I tried to calm down and go with the flows. Some other students entered the class and aspiring to apply some of the theories I have learned such as social interactionism and constructivism, I started to ask them how they were that day and their names; these two students did not have problems in understanding me as they answered me properly. As the class seemed to be more stable, willing to apply the constructivist underpinnings, I started to give a real and contextual situation about meeting new people and then I asked them what are some questions that we usually make when we meet someone. They started giving me some of the basic questions and answers that we were already practicing and I added some others by writing on the board avoiding any direct translation.

I handed out the List of questions and answers about “Getting to know people" and started working with them experimenting to use the deductive method as I was struggling to make them understand me with no translation. I may say that almost all my attempts to make them deduce was successful, except for asking their “nicknames” which was one that I had not properly reflected before on how to make it more significant since I had two names and I use both Pedro and Samuel, I introduced myself by giving my first name and then I gave my real nickname which is the shortening of the second one Samuel "Muel"; unfortunately I had forgotten that fundamental detail.

There were so many other questions that I had properly reflected before on how to make them more meaningful and understandable but I did not have time to show all of them and as a result of my lack of experience, regrettably I ended up by using one that I forgot to reflect the meaningful aspect of it. However, my Professor solved the problem by giving the example of her own nickname which was quite viable for them to grasp the meaning. I asked them to use the sentences they have learned in pairs as they just asked the two basic questions, their names and ages, but at least they could practice it somehow. I noticed the boys were more efficient at understanding and pronouncing properly than the girl, but at least she was a struggling and a concentrating student.

The time just passed by as I realized I would not have time to apply everything that I had planned, my skill of flexibility started demanding new answers from me. Thus, I had to skip from the first stage of the plan to the last one which I had to quickly sum up in order to fit it in time. I realized I did not have time for two more stages and even the first one which I presented was very reduced. In class I quickly had to change not just the stages' order but also I had to renounce two of them for that day, I have also changed the homework by asking them to bring five questions with their personal answers at meeting someone and not asking them to read a text and mark vocabulary as it was planned, and finally, we finished the class precisely at 11:50 AM. However, it is best to finish the class with remaining contents to apply than to finish the class before the time. Even though there were many difficulties, my first class was good considering my inexperience in teaching; I could manage well the class and tried hard to motivate students.