Classroom observed October 24, 2016.
Reflective statements on the class:
- Before the video starts, we can see a YouTube page being open. I was playing a song from the French Playlist as I do before each class, and having an informal conversation with students about the meaning of the song and their tastes in music.
- One lesson I learned from this class is that I let them played for too long the Bingo/”Find-someone-who” activity [18:45-31:00]. This speaking activity was going great and students were very engaged, but I should have cut it short after 8-10 minutes to save more class time for different kinds of practice—the activity actually ran for close to 15 min which I did not realize at the moment. An activity going this well is of course the goal, but as instructors we need to have a sense of when to put an end to each part of the lesson.
- A valuable advice from my supervisor that I now take into account is to ask the students more questions even when introducing a brand-new grammar structure like this was the case here. At first, the classroom was too teacher-oriented, and although the conjugation concept was new to most of them, I still should have asked how much they already knew and how the tense was structured. In an attempt to make my grammar tutorial as clear and accessible as possible, I forgot that day to ask them to collaborate with me in teaching the lesson. Most of them would have been able to come up with examples of their own before I gave them mine (“before Christopher Columbus arrived, natives had never seen a horse”).
- This ties in with the idea that this class was substantially more grammar-oriented than most of my daily classes, and one of my personal challenges that day was to make French grammar interactive. Turning a very formal conjugation structure like the past perfect into an hour-long class that includes both the official introduction to this concept as well as student-oriented practice activities was not an easy balance to find. However, it is my belief that any French class regardless of lesson or content can and should be interactive, engaging, conversational, and culturally authentic.
- Overall, this classroom does reflect my Teaching Philosophy and my personality as an instructor, especially in terms of how much I care for each individual student. This is an aspect that has been noting every semester in my evaluations.
The PowerPoint presentation I made for that lesson is this one:
The handout I used for the Bingo / Find-someone-who game is this one: