Tuesday, 28 October 2008

English teaching at Moision

English (grade 8) Esko Saarinen (a very bright class I was told)
Esko has done a lot to put the language into context I thought - you will see a lot of photos of different aspects relating to English culture or English speaking countries. They were stuck up all over the classroom.

An interesting thing was he played the radio in the background when students checked their work – he did not like silence. This also helped to immerse students in an English environment.

Esko's teaching approach is to teach the essential and leave the extension for the gifted to explore themselves more deeply. Students started with translation of Finnish into English, and teacher reads out the answers to the questions.

some quotes from him: ‘I don’t know if they like doing it, but that makes my life easier.’ ( I think he was being quite straightforward. This is referring to checking answers in class. It might intuitively sound boring, but if answers are checked together efficiently face to face, that can also be a quick learning process. It also saves the teacher a lot of time, which means they can spend more time on preparing lessons well. This of course works well only in environments where students are cooperative.

‘hurry up.’ (that gives me a strong impression of efficiency in finnish way of life, in eating, in checking their work, they seem to get so much done in an hour)

‘no problem.’

Esko reads aloud a passage in English, and the students read after him. then they started reading together with Esko. Esko reinforced their learning of the text by asking them to translate the finnish version of the text in short sentences into English, and playing with the text by substituting some words with others.

They also had a listening exercise of guessing the accent of the English speakers – this gives them more awareness about the world, eg Jamaica, India, new Zealand, Australian, American etc. I was amazed most of them could distinguish these different accents.

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