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5/28/2011 06:16:10 pm

It was group 1’s last class. Their task was about giving opinions using the theme of beauty and lookism. The theme was appropriate for their level and interest areas and also appropriate topic for the task 8 as well. First activity was a warm up: great minds think alike. Group1 prepared a lot (as always) even for a warm up activity. It was a group work where students had to listen to big sibling’s opinion giving statements and decide whether they agree or disagree with those statements. While they listened to the statements, students needed to close their eyes since the odd one needs to state why she was for/against with the statements. It was a great way to introduce the task without creating an awkward atmosphere for students to participate. The second activity was about supporting students’ opinion with proper evidences. There were 20 evidence cards on the desk and students needed to listen to the statement and try to pick out a strong supporting argument for that statement. I thought it was very creative and since students only needed to select the right card to present to the whole class, this activity was appropriate for students to get ready for more productive ones later. It was somewhat competitive since students got stars from the teaching group after their participation. However less evidence cards might have been better for students to focus on the activity. The third activity was about refuting other’s opinion. Students were to counter big siblings’ opinions. Before students were spread out, the teaching group went over the expressions for countering. It was a great way to review and practice the expressions that they can actually use in the activity. The fourth activity was about giving, supporting and countering opinions. Groups of students were dispersed into different rooms and they needed to pick a side for the topic on the board where students would attack the other and defend their own group. The activity itself was great however the teaching group had a hard time deciding on the winning group and some students took it personally and were upset a little. The last activity was a live debate. I thought it was a great idea to group students the way that the teaching group did for this activity. Since students got to debate on the same side with the other groups where they had to attack on the last activity, they did not feel the other groups as ‘the enemy groups’ anymore and got a chance to cooperate to work together. Overall, the teaching group did an excellent job by preparing appropriate activities where students can practice their opinion giving expressions.

5/28/2011 06:30:11 pm

Week 13 Debate

Debate was the most challenging lesson among 5 lessons I've tried with Jooyeon.
I had a little information about debate, and had never tried debate lesson at elementary school. Thus, during 2 weeks preparation, making reading homework was the most difficult. Moreover, it was very hard to create the activities for fun debate. While brainstorming for activities, we were hard-pressed to come up with any fresh and creative ideas.

Like planning the lesson, performing the lesson plan was demanding too. I still had a hard time to adjust to last-minute changes just during my first lesson at GEP class. My strong point is practice and advance preparation of materials. However, my weak point is speaking spontaneously. Since March, I didn't make much progress on improving my weakness. My confidence comes from preparation, so when I have not been able to prepare enough, I feel doubly anxious about the lesson. Sudden change, even though it is a little, gave me a hard time from the first lesson to the last one. Now, the solution of overcoming my weakness is more preparation. Even though I had less confidence of lesson plan and my preparation, generally speaking, the first, third, and fourth activities were okay, but second and fifth ones had some problems.

Jooyeon and I had experienced some doubts about the contents of the second activity, but we didn't come up with how to fix it. Thus, we needed feedback from others who could see this activity objectively. I tested the activity with my co-teachers at school. They said that students might like it because they could practice specific expressions related to presenting supporting ideas. However, they warned that students would read the cards instead of making their own sentences. Thus, the content of each card was changed from a sentence to a phrase. However, when we conducted this activity with the students, we found that 20 cards in the desk were too many for students to catch the point. Therefore, students focused on finding the right card rather than speaking actively. Fewer cards would have been better. Also, in my opinion, if the activity were performed as a group activity, students could practice more supporting points.

Next, I discussed the weakness of the third activity with Soyeon right after the lesson was done.
In this activity, each student was assigned a number from one to four corresponding to the corners in the room. Each student went to the assigned corner, where the task was to use supporing ideas to counter the opinion of a big sibling stationed at that corner. After finishing, the student should proceed to the next corner. However, because students finished at different times, they sometimes had to wait for the big sibling to become available. This caused the big siblings to become distracted and not be able to focus on each individual student. One possible solution would be to use a set time limit, and when the time limit is reached, ring a bell to require students to move to the next corner.

We could create the fourth activity, "Starwars" thanks to the professor. Students participated actively in this activity. However, there was a blind point I had not considered in advance:
I had a really hard time to decide which team was the winner. I should've prepared the criteria to choose the winning team. However, I was not prepared at that moment. As a result, one of the students, Eunjeong, complained that I was unfair. I had to admit that I didn't explain why the other team was the winner. It would have been better letting the students pick the winning team instead of me choosing one.

In the fifth activity, Live Debate, only half of the students talked. Mostly Jeeyoung and Haeji talked but others listened. Eunsun looked really tired. Others looked less interested than in the previous activity. After discussing this problem with Jooyeon and Soohyun, we realized that it would have been better if half of the students had been the jury while the other half had debated. Then, they could have changed the roles. After 5 minutes of debate, the jury would have chosen the winning team and explained their reasons for choosing that particular team. I'd like to try this idea next time that I make a debate lesson.

In conclusion, my last lesson was only partially successful. However, it gave me useful experience in how to conduct debate activities at the university. After finishing this class, I was reminded of my first debate lesson with other teachers in Ottawa. In the end of the training course, a teacher with 25 years’ experience brought a lion doll and a frog doll, and let us to debate which animal was better for our team's mascot. The topic was not authentic, and we didn't know how to debate. The worst thing was some teachers talked but most of them didn't say much. I criticized the teacher at that time, but now, I realized that debate is not an easy task in itself. If I do debate activity in other places, I believe th

5/29/2011 12:40:09 am

It was a dazzling finale performance for G1. The task was giving opinion in a debate and was far and away the most challenging task. However, they showed, once again, what experienced and prepared teachers were expected to do in a class. The overall class was systematic, organized, well thought-out, creative, brilliant, exciting, and productive. Come to think of it, G1 is the only group that is comprised of current teachers-in-service at schools, and such expertise and know-how through years of teaching must bring them and their performance out to the max.
Activity one was executed smoothly and nicely. Especially, the idea of raising a card, either red or blue, was brilliant. The next activity was Proper-Evidence. About twenty pieces of small cards were given out to each group and randomly placed on the table. Students read each statement on the screen and selected a good supporting argument card. Once again, the idea was fresh and interesting, and students seemed to be having fun. I guess the activity might have been even better, however, if there had been a bit less cards since too many cards being put on the table at a time looked somewhat disorganized.
In the third activity, students stopped by big siblings standing at one corner each, and countered their statements with one supporting argument. Big siblings were asked to remain standing up during the activity because, assumably, that way, students could spot big siblings with ease. It got a little tiring^^ as more students came stampeding towards big siblings on a somewhat irregular basis. As for me, I had to read the same statement over three times within less than a minute since students came individually and made a request for a statement. Maybe, I misunderstood it since I thought they would move around in groups.
Activity four was an actual debate. Two small groups faced each other in one room while the other groups were doing the same thing in another room. Each group was assigned to either side, pros or cons. They prepared for their arguments for several minutes and got into a debate. The winner ended up taking the loser’s stars. This activity was quite productive, and provided a great opportunity to taste what a debate was like. Every group did their best to appeal their arguments and, eventually, win stars. Once again, the idea was good and everything was geared towards the task.
There were a few things left to be desired in this activity though. First, I wish the teaching group had rearranged students based on proficiency. Also, instead of assigning sides, pros and cons, on their own, the teaching group could have allowed students to decide it through rock-paper-scissors. In addition, judging standards were a little ambiguous since the decision was entirely up to the teaching group. One more thing I wasn’t completely sure of was the system: each group faced two debates. I thought two winning groups in the first round would confront each other in the second. Well, it didn’t happen that way. Nevertheless, the activity was quite exciting, competitive, and most productive.
The last one was group debate. The whole class was divided into two big groups and involved in a debate. It was quite an interesting idea to let student participate in such a group debate since that sort of debate wouldn’t happen a lot in everyday life. It went quite well. Even though only a few students took the leadership through the debate, that seemed unavoidable since this class is comprised of heterogeneous members in major and proficiency.
Overall, it was another impressive and memorable performance by G1.
Great job~~~

5/29/2011 12:46:13 am

The last class of group 1 was about giving opinions formally with a topic of beauty and lookism. The first activity played well enough to get students ready to face different idea trying to defend themselves as a warm up. Students were asked to raise red card or blue card if they agreed or disagreed to the particular statement. Since their eyes were closed they often opened their eyes to check the color of the card when raising hands. Thus, I told them to hold red and blue card in their left and right hand respectively so they didn’t need to open their eye in the middle of the activity.
The second activity dealt with 20 information cards, in which students had to look for the appropriate supporting points for the given argument. The number of cards seemed to be too much. It took much time for especially lower level students to comprehend what each card support. It would have been better with less number of cards and less number of students involved in the activity.
The third one was to rebut the argument by big siblings with a very interesting concept of speaker’s corner. It was good to keep the ppt slide open from which students get a help to use proper expressions in a low affective environment. It was a very fun activity where students tried to come up with their own supporting idea as much persuasive as possible to get a positive reward. Not only it was a great chance to use a bit formal expressions when presenting opinion but also it was just fun itself for students to move around in order to collect colorful stars by completing given task.
In the fourth activity, students were divided into two groups and had an opportunity to have an actual debate with a help of each group member. The students seemed to be very serious to participate in the debate in order to win. It created full motivation for the students to bring up their best argument to be able to counter the opposing opinion. Since both sides of participants actively involved and tried hard in the debate, it must have been very hard for the teaching group to decide the winning team. It would have been better if students also had a chance to judge objectively which side sounded more convincing as a jury panel. In addition, it was noticed that if students couldn’t defend themselves any more lacking in supporting argument, they moved on to attack other arguments trying to turn the attention away from that issue. However, it was well guided by the teaching group in the next activity. In the live debate activity 5, students were allowed to follow the process of countering and defending to each point. Since a few students took it personally if they lost the debate through act. 4 and 5, it would have been much nicer if students learned in advance about good attitude or manner they need to take during the formal debate as professor Nam did after the lesson.
Overall, this lesson was very well organized by following steps to equip students to get ready for a formal debate in the end. I really appreciated the teaching group since I learned a lot of how to conduct and manage a debating class with an innovating idea of how to make debating even fun from their lesson.

5/29/2011 11:23:23 am

The theme for week 13 GEP class was about lookism and the objective was for the students to be able to give opinions. Group 1 once again did a fantastic job in preparing the lesson. The activities were well organized and very creative.
The first activity was a warm-up. Students had to listen to their big siblings’ statement with their eyes closed and raise either red or blue card to agree or oppose with that idea. I liked the way that Jeongeun and Jooyeon introduced the activity. They talked back at each other while giving instructions and that was kind of a fun way to capture students’ attention. But I wondered what if they used O, X cards instead of the red and blue cards since the colors of the cards caused a little confusion in my group.
The second activity was about finding appropriate evidence to support their ideas. Everything was great except that there were too many cards to choose from and the card itself contained a lot of letters. My little siblings used too much time reading the cards instead of speaking out.
The next activity was the speakers’ corners. Big siblings had to stand at each corner of the room and state their opinions to the little siblings. The little siblings then had to come up with their ideas to oppose to the big siblings’ statements. I liked the activity very much because students could experience something new from other culture (the speakers’ corner) and move around. However, as I had discussed with Jeongeun after the class, it was a little bit difficult to keep the activity going smoothly since the students were sent to the groups on an irregular basis. Students had to wait quite a bit until I was done with one student and that might have dragged the activity.
The fourth activity was group debating. Students were very eager to prepare their ideas and present them in a debate. Like other big siblings had pointed out, deciding the winning team seemed to be challenging for the teaching group. Since there were two judges, Jeongeun and Jooyeon, it would have been better if they had come up with the same standards in deciding the winning teams.
The last activity was a whole class activity. The class was divided into two groups, pros and cons, and everyone was involved in the debate. It was an excellent idea to introduce the process of the debate. It was also nice to explain beforehand that a debate is different from yelling out their ideas. During the time given to discuss within the groups, students brought up many good ideas and organized their thoughts. However, it was a pity that only few students felt comfortable enough to speak out in the debate.
Overall, the teaching group did a fantastic job and they deserve a big applause!

5/29/2011 12:38:18 pm

I thought I would be lighthearted after the last lesson's over, but it left so many things to think over.
I thought the theme lookism successfully drew the students' attention. Many students are concerned about appearance related topics such as diet and plastic surgery, and they are not so difficult to approach. Our intention was to elicit elaborate supporting arguments from the students by dividing the activities according to the process of debate, but I felt we should have provided more careful guides to them in terms of language (lexical chunks) and manners.
The first activity was great minds think alike. It was devised to make the students notice the expressions for giving opinion, listening to their big siblings, and in addition, to practice supporting their opinion briefly.
The second activity was proper evidence. I was really embarrassed to see the students and big siblings altogether confused with so many cards. Also, while I was explaining the categories of proper evidences, I realized that it would be of no use, because there were so many and they would not be on the screen ( I planned it to be on the screen but at the same time, I forgot that I should show the opinion statements on the screen.) I should have come up with a fix on the spot, but instead, I tried to end it sooner. (I hate myself!!!!) I should have spent more time in this activity, because providing proper evidence is the core of giving opinion. Soohyun got rid of several cards to avoid confusion. We could have done it for the whole class and give some time to go over the cards with their big siblings before showing the opinion statements. The students had difficulty not only finding the right evidences but also making sentences with the phrases on the cards. The big siblings might have helped them, and I could show the expression chart on the screen so that they could have referred to. If we had spent more time doing this activity, the students would have come up with better supporting arguments in the later activities.
The third activity was speakers' corner. It was to practice countering the opponent's opinion. The students seem to enjoy this activity and they produced much language in this activity. I thought of giving them only 7 minutes, but because we have ended the previous activity too soon, we had a lot of time left and the students could go to all the posts, which was better, I felt. I'm afraid if we had created another confusion by giving them inconsistent directions.
The fourth activity went well, but there was some emotional problems. Several students were upset because of different opinions. A few students got upset because they didn't agree with the judge's decision. Another problem was that Some students even talked about irrelevant things and some cut in while other student was talking.
The fifth activity was live debate. We made it into a whole class activity, which was a big mistake. only a few students were willing to talk. Some students didn't talk at all. We made it a whole class activity to differentiate it from the 4th activity, but it turned out to be ompractical.
Jeoungeun and I talked about the solution of these problems together (also with Soohyun). For activity four, instead of taking stars, the students can take themselves. Starting with a pair, the students debate shortly and the winner takes the loser, which makes 2 in a group. Then the group will have a debate with another team, and the winner team takes the loser team, which then makes a team of 4. The same goes of groups of 4 members. If 4 teams are created, then we can do two live debates in which all the students can take part in, for the last activity. While one team is having a debate, the other team watch it and play the role of judges. By doing so, we can avoid emotional problems. It will be effective if we teach them manners for debate between activity 4 and 5.
Anyway, it's over. I found myself so weak at "decision making on the spot." To solve this problem, I should think about the details of the lesson more carefully, and not be afraid of making mistakes.


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    March 2011