Week Eleven: Language B

What was this week’s module about?

Moving past the lesson planning, but still focusing on preparation for the lesson plans we’ll be producing in the face-to-face scary assessed bit, we’ve been looking at language analysis this week. Essentially it’s figuring out all the intricate aspects of the target language of a given class, what you would teach, how you would teach it, and what you would do if this teaching went wrong.

Sounds rather boring, to be honest?

What? No. Any teacher who has been around long enough to even consider doing a Dip or Delta is, even in a little way, fascinated by language. This module has been like delving into an antique book shop on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Endless possibilities and utterly fascinating.

Nice metaphor. What did you actually have to do?

There was a very productive group task. On the face of it, it might seem pretty mundane: the virtual equivalent of ‘fill in the missing gaps on this language analysis’. The mode of the exercise is what made it so engaging, with the whole group collaborating on a shared Google Docs file to add in suggestions, leave feedback, ask questions, and so on. A really interesting exercise, and certainly one which would be fruitful with B2+ classes for longer term collaborative exercises outside of class.

Was that it, or did you have a live class as well?

We did indeed. This was where the theory of language analysis met the practice of teaching. The class was based around a (dense) vocabulary page from Outcomes pre-int*, to help train us on selecting known and new language, and what aspects should be included in a Dip-level linguistic analysis.

What was the assignment in all of this?

We had to write a poem.

Really?

No. We had to produce a language analysis of the sort that would accompany a lesson plan in the assessed teaching. The focus here was grammar, and to include any additional lexis and structures which would be relevant to the learners during the class. A fascinating and enjoyable process.

Were there any lows?

For me, none. You’ve probably guessed that I quite enjoy this kind of thing. I know that some others on the course found it difficult, and I’m sure that without my training in grammar and linguistics it would have been the same for me.

What about highlights?

Our tutor for the week was rather (excessively) impressed by my assignment.

What’s next?

We are appropriately moving on to look at lesson planning next week. After these last two, the prospect of writing a Dip-level lesson plan seems rather daunting…

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