Today I am going to talk about a task I did in class and the follow up. The activity I am talking about is a fish bowl task. What is it actually? Well, I had a seminar class, so I put my students in groups of four. They were the students taking part in the seminar. Then I had four students observe them and give them feedback. These students sat next to or were standing behind the students who were taking part in the seminar. So, imagine an inner circle (seminar participants) and outer circle (seminar observers).
Now, time for some context. My students are international students (Asian) who are in their fifth week of an EAP course. They are all intermediate/ upper intermediate students. This is their first time studying in the UK. They have taken part a few seminars before and they have self assessed and given peer feedback a couple of times. They are not very experienced at giving feedback.
The fact that their English is a bit weak and they are not very experienced at giving feedback affected the activity. In what way you may ask? Well, instead of asking them to give a lot of feedback, I focused on two aspects of the seminar. I asked them to look at the course’s assessment criteria, but only focus on the column that was about interaction. I need to mention here that I went through the criteria with them and made them more student friendly (simplified the language and used emoticons!).So, that was one thing.
The second thing I asked the assessors to comment on was the use of set phrases for taking turns and interrupting. These were part of the lesson as well. I printed out some useful phrases and asked the assessors to tick the phrases their classmates used.
The seminar participants took part in the seminar. The assessors listened quietly and gave feedback. Then the students swapped roles.
After the seminar
Students sat next to each other and gave each other feedback. They told each other what they did well and what they needed to work on.
When the whole activity ended, I asked my students to tell me what they thought about this task (I used a Google classroom comment thread).
What they said
Most students enjoyed the activity. They felt that their classmates gave them good feedback. They enjoyed the role swap and that they were not asked to give a ton of feedback.
There were a few comments about feeling shy and embarrassed, but those students did say that this was not a big problem because in the end they did find the task helpful.
I printed out the helpful phrases check list.
The student friendly rubric was on the board and students had to take notes.
As for timing, this whole activity took about 40 minutes. The feedback part was an extra 10 minutes. I asked them to spend 5 minutes on student A and then five minutes on student B. That meant that each member of the pair got 5 minutes worth of feedback. The whole activity lasted for 50 minutes.
Will I try this again? Yes. My students really enjoyed it and I found it very helpful. have you done something similar? let me know in the comments below.
Till next time……
It’s has been a while, hasn’t it? I have been busy with life and haven’t had edu-blog post inspo for a while now, but I am back which means I have a ramble for you. I actually have a ramble and loads of rhetorical or not so rhetorical questions.
I had lessons with a lovely lady and we were talking a lot. It did not feel like a lesson. I did not feel like I learnt a lot. I am glad I am back with you.
Today we will be chatting about your everyday life. I want you to talk to me about your daily routines. I will point out any grammar or vocabulary points which I will note down for you or which I would like you to take note of.
Today we will be watching a short video and we will talk about what it showed. We will also discuss A, B, C.
Well, as I said, you need to make the chat look more like your normal sessions:
- Mention aims/ purpose etc.
- Make notes of whatever language is learnt/ corrected
- Ask the student to reflect on the conversation. What did s/he do well, what do they need to work on?
- Ask the student to summarise your chat or visualise it!!Make a mind map of what you discussed.
I think I may have lost my blog mojo, but I did have a few thoughts on this and wanted to share, get your thoughts. So, the comments section is all yours.
Till next time…
I have shared with you guys (maybe even over shared) so much. Now, more sharing.
There I was. Shocked. Feeling a bit robbed. Questioning myself. How could I not know? The mind plays tricks on us.
I thought I was red/ green colourblind. Turns out I don’t see any colours.
I have achromatopsia (or some sort of incomplete achromatopsia).
I am what is known as colourblind. Literally. So, I don’t just mix up my colours. I actually don’t even see them! Or do I?
Colour is perception. Light, rays, rods and cones all join in to send a message to the brain. The brain then ‘sees’ the light/ colour. That is my simplistic explanation. A bunch of people see the same colour and give it a name…..
But now I know that what I thought was colour, was probably a tone or a texture, an illumination. My images are shades of grey, white, and black with an occasional dash of pink (or something….or nothing….).
How could I not know? What games was my mind playing on me?
I have all the symptoms of an achromat
Nystagmus (wobbly iris)
Photophobic/ photosensitive (I squint a lot and wear my sunnies all day long, even when there are clouds)
How I found out
I was so excited on Saturday. I was going to try these glasses that claimed to restore colour vision. You would put on the glasses and see colours. Of course, these glasses do not work on everyone (I was warned). I wanted to try them. But first, they needed to determine what type of coulourblindness I had. I did the tests and got the diagnosis.
Very rare (2000 people in the UK).
So, what do I do with this information?
I am still the same person.
That is what everyone is telling me.
You see colours your way.
That is what people tell me.
You still see the way you saw.
That is what everyone is telling me.
But I don’t. I don’t know what I see. I want to know what I can see. Still coming to terms with this. I have to adjust to a new normal. Was what I thought was pink or purple actually grey? Is everything grey? I am confused. Still confused.
Two days later.
- Results and feedback do not get lost as it is stored in the world wide web’s cloud.
- It is easier to highlight, add links and comments when the essay/ piece of work is being marked online.
- It saves paper, so it is better for the trees.
Marking online can be quite stressful and tiring.
My Top Tips for Survival
Be rested, calm, and relaxed
Comment/ Feedback Bank
Check your settings
Two screens/ printouts?
Finally, just remember the first 500 are the hard ones, it gets easier after that!!
So, as I said in Wednesday’s post, today I will reflect (#weeklyreflections). I will reflect on this week’s sessions and make note of the things that went well, what didn’t work as planned, and whatever else pops into my mind.
I read an interesting article by Jack Richards on Creativity in Language Teaching and come across a section that inspired me, made me think and in the end prompted another…. ramble.
As teachers, we are often asked to reflect. When we, as teachers, get observed, we often have to reflect on what went well during the session and what didn’t. As part of the Delta, teachers always reflect on a lesson as part of module 2.
When we are sitting in the staff room, or drinking coffee with colleagues, we reflect. We talk about a really good teaching moment or whine about something that went wrong. lose sleep over a bad moment, try to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
So, teachers do reflect. A lot.
But what about teaching journals? How many of you keep a journal where you reflect on your teaching? A diary or notebook where you write in once a week and reflect on issues that cropped up, good teaching ideas, what went well what didn’t? A kind of reference book which you can look at later on and get inspired… or warned?
So, this week, on Friday, I will share my online weekly journal and I invite you, to do the same. One week, thoughts and reflections. What went well, what didn’t. Something I used and liked, something I want to learn more about. Feel free to tag me if you as a blogger and do the same. Feel free to comment with your weekly reflections (is that a hashtag? #weeklyreflections) in the comments section below.
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