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Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

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ARCHIVES: June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 March 2010

Updates on Prac: Unit Planning and Teaching for ESL
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We've reached one of our first milestones of being a student teacher-- having an overly optimistic bubble burst. Namely, that we'd be happily blogging away about new information every night, or at least twice a week. We figured even in the stressiest of times, we'd still manage to eke out a few scattered lines about this or that educational theory.

Turns out that doesn't happen so much. Instead, I sit here on the bus home, laptop sliding all over the place, trying to write an update on my life with only 12 minutes of battery left. So real life doesn't exactly go according to plan-- a good lesson to learn early!

I'm feeling a lot better about my lessons now that I'm beginning my unit. I've broken down my classes into more manageable parts (for the students and me). I'm including time for reading in class, since we're sort of racing through a book in less than 3 weeks. I'm including a lot of group work and fun(ish) comprehension activities so I don't feel like I'm quizzing them into oblivion. I'm sure they'll appreciate that.

The group work and individual activities are crucial for an ESL class. My associate teacher has a great relationship with his students and is able to have mostly conversational-style lectures, but he's an anomaly. I need to focus on tailoring my lessons to students with a strong, but not perfect grasp on the English language.

On Thursday, my prof is coming to sit in on one of my classes, so I'm gearing up to make the lesson extra-thorough for him. I've also got a formative assessment on Friday, where my associate teacher and I both evaluate how I'm doing so far.

Overall, I'm learning a lot and I'm enjoying being able to learn and experiment with my teaching strategies. I'm still not sure whether I'll have an ESL practicum again in the second and third blocks, so I'm going to take advantage of this experience while I can.

Anyone have any tips for ESL teachers? My students are transitioning into an Academic English class next semester, but they still have challenges with learning in English.

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