A Glass to the Wall

April 10, 2011 § 6 Comments

“As I grow older,
I pay less attention to what men say.
I just watch what they do.”
Andrew Carnegie

Down they came, right on time, polite bemused smiles on their sweet innocent faces. I’d asked their class teacher at lunchtime if I could borrow them to do some recording. It took a whole 15 minutes before we got down to it though. Stardom was not something they craved; rather, it only seemed to evoke the dread of being mocked in the playground for evermore. Some stroking was required.

I hunted out Love all, trust a few, the post I’d written a few weeks previously mentioning them, and demonstrating unambiguously that their attitude and aptitude were specifically why I’d asked for them again. As a final gesture, knowing that things were on track, I left the library to let them assess how grave the situation actually was that they found themselves in, leaving a clear uninterrupted route to safety should flight take hold, with no hard feelings.

A post I really enjoyed a few months ago, and the only one I’ve seen like it, please let me know if there are others, was Jason’s video of him teaching a beginner class. Personally, I found that most enlightening, as learning by watching I think is invaluable. And besides, how many of us are able to resist taking a peek at a class we occasion to walk by, or listen with a glass pressed firm against the wall to the teacher next door?

This recording is of the Zimbabwean girl and Russian/Lithuanian boy who are classed as EAL but, as you’ll hear in the recording, are native-like, and they have been here a large proportion of their short lives.

I present this here for you to judge and comment on. There are some things I’d change, do differently on hearing it, but I won’t prompt you in any particular direction. It’s the first of three recordings, the other two can be found here and here, you’ll work out what they are though after watching this first one, they’re of the rest of the language plant growing.

The recording below is of them doing Puzzle, an activity that only the grouchiest sourpusses fail to enjoy. Why I personally like it so much is that I’m not needed. I’m eagle-eyed, attentive to their every breath, but if I can remain in absolute stillness and silence throughout, I feel my work has been done.

Language plants present lots of different language, merging the distinction between lexis and grammar. Oh, how I’d love you and your learners to be able to make them super fast and easy using some cool whizzy word shaping tool. I’m sure some of you would love that. Some of you have even asked if such a thing exists.

See you at IATEFL! And if not, fear not. You’ll be able to play with it soon enough.

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§ 6 Responses to A Glass to the Wall

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