dimarts, de novembre 13, 2007

WORKING WITH STORIES: Common points

It was another long Tuesday evening. The day had been hard for all of us, struggling to make our students learn some English. Probably knowing this, tim decided to start the lesson with a kind of joke, English humour? Could be. He pretended to tell us a story with a happy ending which happened to have a terrible and shocking ending, in fact. It was a story about an Englishman killed by the elephant he thought was a friend of him. Nice, isn't it?
After this funny introduction, we began working seriously. Tim told us to reviewed the stories we had seen in the previous lessons: the letter by Ian Brown: "The Old Days", the article about the Pacific Islanders and the story of The Rabbits. We did the following:
First, we discussed the topics or ideas of the stories in groups of two. Then, we tried to find common ideas for two of the stories and finally, we looked for the common point in all three stories. This apparently simple activity led us to a wild discussion about changes in society, about nature and civilization, about good and bad… and so on. Therefore, when Tim saw that the discussion was becoming wild and philosophical, as if Plato or Rousseau had abducted us, he had the excellent idea of stopping us. At that time, we really needed a break!
After the break, being more relaxed, we continued with the lesson. We began working on "The Crocodile Blues", which we had read in a previous lesson. Tim gave us the texts we had written about the story and while he was reading his own version, in pairs, we edited our texts making some changes we thought were suitable. At the end of the activity, Tim made some comments about the importance of making our students interact with texts. As an example, he told us to make our students write not the exact words we are dictating, to make them do some paraphrasing.
The lesson ended with a game intended to make us remember the onomatopoeic words we had learnt with "The Crocodile Blues" story. Tim read a poem, "The Sound Collector" then we were divided into two groups. One part of a group had to remember, without writing, the onomatopoeic words they were hearing and the others had to remember the household items associated to these sounds in the poem. At the very end of the lesson, Tim read the poem "Gruesome". And that's how the lesson finished, with some of us wondering what "gruesome" meant, others not knowing what was better: nature or civilization, and some others probably thinking they had to improve their onomatopoeic vocabulary. I

Carolina Rodriguez Contreras

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