Observation 2 (the Language of Questions)

Observation 2 (the language of questions)
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  Methods IIStudent: Natalia López Observation 2“The language of questions”From “Classroom Observation Tasks” by Ruth Wajnryb   Level: Beginners (7 th form) Place : Colegio Marianista Number of students : 23 Duration : 40 minutesStudents are going to read about music, before reading the teacher asked them 1. Do you like listening to music in English? 2. What band/singer you like? Then in reference to the text she wrote: 3. What’s the girl’s favourite kinds of music? Why? 4. What other kinds of music does she like? 5. According to the reading how can you describe dance music? 6. What about pop music? And classical music? 7. What does she think about salsa? Why?Once they worked with the text the T said ‘ Today we’re going to work on different kindsof music, and on adjectives in its comparative and superlative form’.Do you remember that from last year? The class said ‘yes’ and so she told them to goback to the text and asked: 8. Can you find 2 or more comparisons in the text about music? 9. What do you think some of the comparisons have in common? 10. Do you think there is a difference in the use of short and long adjectives whenmaking a comparison? 11. Have a look at the Grammar bank, can you tell me how do you make acomparative sentence? 12. Can you find at least two example of superlatives in the text? 13. Look at the chart in your book, how do you make a sentence using superlatives? 14. What’s the difference between regular and irregular adjectives? 15.  There is a chart in your book, can you provide examples of regular and irregularadjectives? Classification of the questions  The questions mentioned above can be classified in the following way:   Short answer/retrieval style questions: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14Checking understanding: 11Opinion: 10Referential questions: 1, 2Checking learning: 8, 12, 13, 15 ã In this lesson there was not a specific followed pattern in the questions. What I couldsee is that the questions made students think carefully about what they read and sothey felt involved with the questions and challenged at the same time.The idea of making questions helps students to participate more in class. Questionsgive our students anopportunity and a reason to speak and to share with the teacher and classmateswhat they think andhow they feel.  ã Students showed no difficulty with the reading since they found all the answers.However, as every student works differently and at a different time I could see thatsome of them required more time than others to answer the questions. As regards thegrammar point, when they had to answer the questions about the use of comparatives and superlatives, some of them had some doubts about the regular andthe irregular adjectives but when they read the rule from the book with the T shemade it clear for them. ã Unluckily, there was no chance to record question and answer set. Many studentsgave short answers and speak in Spanish. The topic was nice and motivating enough for the students to feel involved with it.Students loved the idea of discussing about music. When the T asked them if theylistened to music in English most of them said ‘yes’ and started to name differentbands and singers they like. In that particular case, I can say that almost everyonetalked about their likes in music (most students did it in Spanish).As the reading, theyonly provided the answer of the question, some students participate, others justlistened to their classmates. ã “The teacher must have a clear and explicit understanding of the nature of thechallenge to students´internal representation of knowledge that a particular questionmay present … They must appreciate the level of cognitive difficulty involved in thestudents´effort to respond to a particular question.” (Tollefson 1989)I agree with the quotation. I think that we teachers should always have in mind howdifficult it can befor our students to formulate an answer for one single question. Hopefully ourstudents always try tofollow us and give themselves many chances to answer our questions. REFLECTION The usual use of questions is for checking, but after having observed this lessonI realised that when we use it with our students for communication they work evenbetter.When a student shares something with me for example ‘teacher tomorrow I’m goingtoCordoba’ I usually ask them about their trip on the following class. I admit that I don’tdo it only just forcuriosity but also to show them that I care about them.I think that we (teachers) should foster communication in class and asking seemsto be a good reasonto start doing so
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