Comment on Willy Cardoso’s post on Silence and control (Part II)

25 07 2011
mcneilmahon says:

July 25, 2011 at 2:44 am

Fascinating reading Willy, many thanks for sharing. With regards the films non-conversation, I think perhaps your expectations are possibly unrealistic, since as Scott points out, this often happens in conversations in L1 as well. In fact, I’d say it happens in A LOT of conversations in L1, and this is probably much more likely to be the reason for the students wanting to tell you rather than interact with their peers rather than any flaw in your activity.

‘What’s the point? I thought to myself. They chose the topic, but all they wanted was to tell ME about it and know if they made any mistakes?’

Point is, not only did the students choose what to talk about, but they chose how to talk about it – in a way that reflects their behaviour in L1 conversations. One way to respond to this is to impose a more interactive task, or you could just accept it as their way of conversing and move on – it’s still a worthwhile task if you’ve listened and given them language feedback as they wish.

Or perhaps you could involve the students in designing a listening task which develops their listening skills and gives them an intrinsic reason to listen (something to do with thinking about which films they may want to watch seems the obvious way to go here). Perhaps this could be done next lesson, using your initial intriguing format – ‘In one minute write down what you remember of your classmates films…’ as a way of leading in to listening more to each other and conversing rather than presenting.

Looking forward to hearing more about your classes.

Thanks, Neil!
You’re right, in fact, I should be happy they chose the topic and chose how to talk about it, and they did talk a lot, even if without too much interaction. I think that part of my frustration comes from the fact that I don’t enjoy seeing students just waiting for their turn and not listening to others, in this type of activity one can easily be quiet for 25 minutes until their turn.

Today, I included some more interactive elements like having students stand in the front for speedy presentations and it worked well, the level of attention was generally very high, I’ll even write about the whole activity in a later blogpost because it did work really well.


Monumental miles

25 07 2011

Long by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

After yesterday’s short sharp burst, today was a case of plodding out the long miles in order to keep up the week’s distance totals (aiming for a modest 20km a week minimum at the moment as my body adjusts to fulltime running again) but for the most part I felt quite sprightly and certainly wasn’t plodding.  It was just the last couple of km I started to feel the left knee, which hasn’t happened in a long time,  but unlike last week’s calf twinge I felt I could run through this ache and did so successfully.  

It was fun to be accompanied for quite a bit of the run by the fans leaving the Monumental after the Copa final.  Strange to feel I’d just been watching these guys on TV enjoying one of the world’s biggest footballing occasions and then there they are watching me ‘fly’ past them in my lycra.

 Seems I’ve already got the thoughts flowing.  Here’s some more:

Showcasing the sexworkers of Palermo park to the departing Uruguayan and Paraguayan fans post-Copa America final is not the best way to sell our beautiful city to visitors. 

Gobbing on your chin just before entering the most populated leg of your run and making a mess of wiping it off is not the best way of selling your own athletic prowess to passing rollerbladers (lucky I’m married then, innit). 

I’ve got a lot done today work-wise while enjoying a lot of sport – great finish to the tour de France (what amazing athletes they are and what an underrated sportsman Mark Cavendish is in his homeland), great day’s test cricket (not only do England have a world class cyclist, they also have the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world, an unheard of combination) and a pretty decent final to the Copa America (better than the vast majority of the tournament at least, which was a huge letdown) – which is a satisfying way to kick off what’s going to be a busy couple of weeks leading up to Delta One starting in Montevideo.  

Gotta be organised and focused and keep the momentum up throughout these weeks to come.  Holiday’s not far away :).  Still more work to do when get back home, and then would be good to read that Vygotsky article etc. instead of getting too much into a film.  

What would’ve happened if Spurs had bought Suarez or Forlan when we allegedly had the chance in January?  Would we have got fourth place.  I doubt Forlan would have made much of a difference, since VDV was already confusing the rest of our strikers in a similar role, but Suarez just might have created and scored quite a few goals that just didn’t happen.  Please Daniel Levy find and buy the right striker(s) for Spurs this window. 

Put the fridge on mercadolibre when I get home or Mer won’t be happy.