This is part three of my second blogging challenge, in which I experiment with and reflect on some of the small changes recommended in John Fanselow’s “Small Changes in Teaching, Big Results in Learning” . These challenges are a way for me to keep honing my teaching skills.
In the book, Fanselow brings up the issue of how the method of reading – thinking – speaking (without looking at the text) may seem to be just a tool for practicing dialogues, but that’s not its main use. The more I use the method now in class the more I understand what Fanselow means when he claims that it helps develop reading comprehension, vocabulary, syntax and more. I’ve just spent several lessons reading 120 word opinion compositions with three Deaf students in this manner(going for what we call their Module G matriculation exam soon). All three commented on how they felt focused on details of the composition and how it led to meaningful discussions.
Note – These students are Deaf so I had to write what they said as they spoke, so we could discuss it. In the book Fanselow has different suggestions for writing and other variations which I have not yet tried.
In any case, I was eager to try the method for practicing speech in pairs or small groups. It is very challenging for me to work on speech in my mixed level learning center. Not only are the students levels of English and academic abilities wildly different, their level of hearing and communication skills vary dramatically as well.
So here’s a Buncee Creation (thanks to Arlene Blum for introducing me to Buncee) to visualise the situation.