Everyday we begin class at 9:30am. We're usually broken into two smaller classes, because the lot of us doesn't comfortably fit in one classroom. And small classes are better classes. We have 90 minutes of class, a half hour break, 90 minutes of class and we're dismissed for lunch and lesson planning. Mon-Thurs we student teach in the evening (usually 5pm-8pm or so) and then we receive our feedback. On Fridays, we have an additional 90 minutes of class after lunch, but no student teach and we're done at 3:30.
Our classes are taught so that the lesson is also a demo. Meaning, each teacher that stands in front of us to deliver a lesson on grammar, lesson planning, creating "activations," etc. is also demonstrating the methodology. I'm thrilled we chose this school.
We've learned a lot so far, so it's difficult to enumerate without typing our all of my notes for you. So, I'll touch on some of what has caught my attention the most. Are you ready? We've been busy.
Grammar- We'll have a grammar test in the last week that we must pass with an 80% or higher, so everyone is a bit nervous about the subject. I love grammar, but it doesn't come easily to me. I want it to be scientific (cut and dry) and it simply never is in English. This week we worked on tenses and briefly on gerunds (verb+ing used as a noun, i.e. the living). The twelve tenses: present simple, present continuous, past simple, past continuous, future simple, future continuous, present perfect (simple), present perfect continuous, past perfect (simple), past perfect continuous, future perfect (simple), future perfect continuous. Here's a challenge, in the comments, try to give an example of each tense (without Google or other references).
ESA Structure- Learning this has changed my life. This single piece of information would have changed everything in Korea. The ESA structure is the guideline one should use for building an ESL lesson plan for a productive (vocabulary [lexis] or grammar). It stands for Engage, Studies, Activate. Here's a short overview:
Engage- introduction, elicit theme, deliver lead-in questions, present target language
Studies- These are the activities (2-3) that get students comfortable with target language.
Activate- This is your final activity that allows your students to use the language in a more
independent way. Context, goals and clear directives are super important in this.
There's also EFF (Engage, Focus Tasks, Follow-Up) that's used for receptive (listening, reading) lesson plans, but we've only just touched on that so far.
Lesson Planning- When you are planning a lesson, START WITH THE ACTIVATION. I'm so happy to have learned that. Here's an example of an activation that my group came up with for a lesson teaching words related to personality characteristics:
"Students are single people attending a speed dating event. Each student has a pre-made label/character (i.e. crooked politician) for which they must think of characteristics. Daters (students) work to pitch their own personalities to each other while trying to find their ideal match. Questions: What traits are you looking for? What are deal breakers for you? How would your closest friends describe you?"
I won't bore you with any more scholastic reporting. It's just very exciting. This sounds like a plug (well, it is, but I mean it), but if you find yourself wanting to study TEFL, don't choose on online class or one with hundreds of students in it. Come to The Language House! You'll study hard, but you'll come away the best teacher you could be.
Last night (Friday night) our class met up with some alumni at the beer garden. Ian and I have drunk more beer here in the last week than in the last month at home. Fortunately, it's light and only about 4% alcohol by volume. It's not that we have very many when we go out, it's just that we've been out so often. It's tough to say no when our classmates are so rad. Oh! Also I figured out that the Riegrovy sady beer garden (where we go most often) has free wifi! So, I am able to text when I'm there and mom and I made use of that.