Thursday, 1 March 2012

Portrait of a Class

Tonight saw the conclusion of a two week long project : biography writing. Sounds like a simple enough idea, but the past few classes have seen the learners completely absorbed in their work: true ESOL gold - I recommend it!

It's simple to organise - the learners start out by writing a simple timeline of their lives, including the events they feel have most significance to the people they are today.   They then swap this with their partner and interview each other, getting plenty of descriptive detail about each event. Finally they write up their partner's biography choosing an appropriate title.

I'm lucky enough to have access to computers, and so my learners were able to type their biographies and include digital photographs of their interviewee. It was easy to highlight grammatical and lexical inaccuracies on the computer for learners to revisit and revise. I will photocopy a class set of each biography so they all have a little keepsake of their classmates (obviously this would not be a hugely motivating factor in a class where relations were less jolly!) and will also display the finished products on the wall for all to see.

Tomorrow night sees our International Night at the library.  Many learners are coming with national songs and dances. My colleague, Kate, and I are performing a slightly adapted version of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"  We have just finished rehearsing and I am consoling myself with the old theatrical maxim that a terrible dress rehearsal means it will be alright on the night!

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