Grammar lesson follow up:
My lesson on articles went soooo well that I’ve been promoted to teaching articles in Japanese- a language that HAS NO ARTICLES! Ok, so maybe the lesson wasn’t bad enough to enter the ESL Lesson Hall of Shame but there was certainly room for improvement. I love using pictures in lessons so I was all excited and proud of myself for incorporating pictures into the handout I gave the students- several sentences with articles and the idea was to get them to identify any patterns or rules. Great! Except that the sentences were de-contextualized – ooops! Next time, I’ll give them a paragraph and have them figure out rules from that…(Honestly, that was my first idea but then the whole thing with the pictures distracted me…). I then went into the generic/specific and definite/indefinite thing, drew a lovely chart on the board (copied from the Thornbury website), wrote some example sentences on the board and put them into the appropriate box.
Ok, so far so good…then I wrote, “I still haven’t found the perfect man” on the board to show how it is possible ‘the’ can be used to talk about something that is specific but indefinite- it depends on the attitude of the speaker/writer. I should have then written, “I think I found the perfect man; his name is Julius.” to illustrate something that is specific and definite. But I didn’t. The lesson progressed, there was discussion, some more error correction of student generated sentences taken from their group research papers. I ran out of time- had a piece of prose writing with spaces before the nouns for the students to insert an article- which I think I should have given to them after the generic/specific, definite/indefinite. Another thing I could try next time would be to have the students write their own sentences to put in the chart. Anyway, I am pretty sure if Professor Hedgcock were dead, he’d not only would have been spinning a million miles an hour in his grave, eyes exploding out of his head in horror at some of the things I think I said in class. But, the good thing is, now I only have 999 more times to teach this lesson before it is” perfect”! Anything else I can do next time? Please feel free to comment!! Thanks!!