Count THIS Day NOT Lost – Teaching George Elliot in EFL

This could almost have been taken in the British Countryside, but it wasn't! Right here in Kiryat Ono (Naomi's photos)
This could almost have been taken in the British Countryside, but it wasn’t! Right here in Kiryat Ono (Naomi’s photos)

I recently posted that I had begun writing, and teaching as I progressed, a unit on the poem “Count That Day Lost” by George Elliot to very weak EFL high-school students. This is an adaptation of the new program in literature instruction for students at the three-point level, tailored to the needs of my deaf and hard of hearing students (and those in other places in the country.) I do not claim that this is the way it should be taught to other populations, but believe teachers of other struggling students will find it helpful.

Here is the feedback regarding my teaching experience and the full unit.

In my previous post I presented the pre-reading activities.

* We began by asking what the word sun makes us think of. This worked well with the students. They thought of things I hadn’t included. In the version included here I added the word “hot” which, for some strange reason” I had forgotten. I didn’t add the other connotations they suggested  – “food” and “life”. I think it is good there are some things that aren’t written beforehand on the worksheet.

NOT A SINGLE ONE of these students could remember IN THEIR MOTHER TONGUE what time of day sunset and sunrise refer to. Interestingly enough, that’s a problem only students who don’t use sign language have. The signs clearly denote the direction in which the sun moves.

I wonder who spends his days here... (Naomi's photos)
I wonder who spends his days here… (Naomi’s photos)

* The funny video regarding a day in a person’s life worked better than expected. Not only did the students like it, I referred to the video & exercise every time they forgot the word “count” which, sad to say, was often. 

* The slide show went down well too. It made the transition to the poem easier.

* I’m aware that some people will disapprove of the page using a simple Hebrew translation with gaps. With my deaf and hard of hearing students we cannot  go over anything orally in class and I don’t teach frontally. It was a bare necessity.

The vocabulary practice and the basic understanding went well. The students could see from the graphic format what they had to do.

Sometimes there's trouble... (Naomi's photos)
Sometimes there’s trouble… (Naomi’s photos)

I rewrote the analysis part after teaching it to the first two students. I simplified it even more. I knew beforehand that it should be simple, but I needed to see what they struggled with and to get the good advice of counselor Francine Widerker before I figured out how to simplify it even more. Simplifying is hard!

We haven’t done the creative post reading tasks yet. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

Here is the unit with all the relevant links.

Count lost full version

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