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terça-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2014


I entered the class at exactly 11:00 AM and there were eight students already seated. I greeted all of them and asked the names and ages of the new students, most of them answered correctly and some I had to help to understand the question and how to answer. I called the roll, they handed in their homework and then I started to reflect on the importance of learning English by writing on the whiteboard “Why is so important to learn English?” and “What are the benefits of learning English?”. I made little effort to make them infer the question meanings with no translation by asking them to associate the cognate word "important" and "benefits" with the Portuguese ones and to remember the words they already knew like "why", "what", "are", "to learn and learning" and "English". They were very successful as they grasped the idea very fast. When they understood the question, I elicited for their answers as they replied in Portuguese some very practical responses like "it is important to learn English to get a job and to travel abroad." Most of them were very participative except for two more isolated girls to whom I asked to get closer to the front.

I felt the class was flowing so nicely as I started to reflect and elicit students possible answers and in order to apply the constructivist principles I gave a real and personal example of a professional need of English when I told them about my sister who is a librarian and as she could not speak English she did not receive a better position and as a result she did not earn more money from her boss. I tried to use some words in English in my Portuguese discourse, such as "her boss" with the corresponding translation "seu chefe". They were all very attentive as they seemed to be interested, pleased and appreciating my reflections making efforts to participate as well.

I classified English benefits as cognitive, professional, academic and personal; I tried to elicit them to understand that the cognitive benefits were the ones that were related to their minds as I told them that learning a second language improves our memory for always being exposed to new vocabularies, that it improves our reasoning skills since in order to think we need to organize the ideas logically using words and that it enriches our imagination for being in touch with new literatures. As some did not know the word "academic" I elicited them to understand that it is related to their field of study by telling the benefits it can bring when they do researches on the internet where English is the hegemonic language, not just on the internet as well in the general culture, literature, science etc.

I planned "The reflections on learning English" for just ten minutes, but as they were very eager to participate, this stage took almost the whole class as I noticed I had two more stages to perform and the time was almost ending. So I said that reflections were enough for it took too much time and I noticed I had raised sufficient awareness and then I started to introduce useful language sentences by telling them that it is our deal that they should make an effort to use these sentence just in English and if they ask me in Portuguese I would not answer them.

I started to write on the board making efforts to elicit students to understand with inferences; fortunately they could understand me but even though they asked me to write the translation for them not to forget it since they were writing down. The remaining time just allowed me to show four sentences which I said next class we should continue it. There was no time for the last stage which again I had to change plans and for homework I asked them to read the text about sanitation and make a list of the words they already know.               

The class management was really productive where I gave room for students to participate and interact in a class dialog raising awareness about the mentioned topic. So, in this special class students appeared more intrinsically motivated. What I would have changed in this class would be the organization of the timing in order to fit everything that should be performed as it was planned, but because of my lack of experience, I had the problem with following the steps in time.

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