Teaching Year 11 & 12’s @ SMA2 Pangkalan Bun

Today I have been preparing for my lesson tomorrow with the year 11 class I worked in yesterday with Bu Wahyu. As she will be away tomorrow, I was asked if I would like to teach them instead tomorrow. I am very excited about having the class to myself and wasn’t at all persuaded by all the students yelling at me, pleading me to teach them tomorrow!
Yesterday I read them the story of Tidalik, an Aboriginal legend about a thirsty frog

I modified some of the language and even still, they found it very difficult, however were still keen for me to come in and teach them again! So I have made some flashcards from the story and will play ‘postie’ with them where by students work in pairs and each gets a flashcard. They read one side to the pair who has to say the translation for it. If their partner doesn’t know the translation, they have to give clues in English! The other game I want to play with them is Chinese whispers, using phrases or sentences from the text! The end person has to write on the board what they heard! Then if there is any other time, we will retell the story together in English! They had homework too to complete their retelling, so I will collect them and give out key rings to the best ones.
I had just finished the cards when Bu Chandra approached me to remind me that I had promised to accompany her for her last 2 lessons today. She then asked me what I was planning to do!! I just love this question! My role is as an assistant teacher to support English language teachers but they see me more as a demonstrator and are so keen to see me in action. This is a hoot really because I am primary trained and my focus is so different to theirs, so instead I am drawing extensively on the tasks I did with Pak Bayu at IALF last January. Both the activities I outlined above were ones I enjoyed doing myself as a student! Thankfully I was blogging my experiences, so I can easily refer back to all we covered!
My blog link:

So when I suggested to Bu Chandra, I repeat my lesson with her year 12’s today, she was thrilled and I too am happy to trial it before tomorrow when I will be by myself!

The Following Day….
My lesson yesterday with Bu Chandra was fun but I am not sure how useful it was for a class of year 12’s on a tight schedule heading like a freight train towards the end of year exams.
We began with the reading of Tidalik and it was obvious again once I started to read it, that I had lost most of them right from the start, so I encouraged them to help me translate it as we went. Other than a couple of students, most of them have a very narrow vocabulary which made me wonder just how motivated they were with learning English and therefore just how much independent study was done if any. At the end of the story, we reviewed again the storyline and discovered even though we had translated the story as iai read, there were still many who had still failed to grasp several aspects of the story. I then asked Bu Chandra to help me both explain the rules of the postie game and then to demonstrate it. The class absolutely loved this game and there was a lot of language being used which was awesome however when I went through the flashcards directly afterwards, only a few of the students seemed to have made any headway with this new vocabulary. I would like to play the game again and see if this improves with a second go. The next game I played with them was, n my opinion, a total waste of time. I asked the 2 students to get into 3 teams and then lined them up. I quickly discovered that the phrases I had written from the story were too long and anything longer than words sent them into a spin. The girls in particular where perfectionists and really struggled with every aspect of this game at times to the point where they sulked and became annoyed. They didn’t like not getting any part of the sentence wrong and instead of focusing on what they achieved, focused instead on their failures. The boys on the other hand wanted to win at any cost. They were incredibly competitive, to the point where they didn’t care that everyone could hear what they were ‘whispering’! This game seemed to reinforce in the students minds that they struggle with English, unfortunately. Not my intention at all.
So back to the drawing board for a language game/activity that doesn’t require too much preparation and yet is motivating and fun.


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