Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Debate Topic: Should women try to be Superwomen?

Having received some mid-term feedback from my students, I decided to change the final timed-conversation quiz from a person to person discussion to an in class debate. A debate has the following advantages over a timed conversation:

  • Students must use a different genre/register of speaking particular to persuasive speaking
  • Students must listen carefully to their opposition, react to what the hear and give counter arguments and examples
  • Students must be confident and speak spontaneously
  • Students can effectively use their planning and writing work into their speaking
  • Accuracy and meaning are more important than fluency. Speaking fast won't persuade your audience
  • It gives students opportunity to research, state a position, and then build an argument from that position
  • Its more authentic/authenticated conversation and engaging for the student

Finally, I think the debate format also coincides with my built in goals for my students: autonomy, peer-review, and noticing. My questions raised from this lesson are 1) whether or not I'm sequencing the unit/lesson in an effective manner, and 2) if the activities are being fully utilized by the students.


In the previous class, we wrapped up the traveling unit in which we reviewed some of the important traits of a presentation according to content. In particular, we looked a Presentation website and blog by Zen Presentation Sensei and ex-patriot Garr Reynolds. We then watched and commented on our presentations in terms of content and speaking. At the end of this lesson, I handed out an article from the Atlantic magazine titled "The End of Men: How Women are Taking Over Everything. Having a class made up of mostly female students and having a sort of barn-burning article, I decided to focus our energy for the next unit on presentation skills, find and focusing on a position, and defending a position. The debate format would help the students focus on building their vocabulary, develop clear and concise arguments, and produce accurate dialogue.


We began the class in the usual fashion with the student news summaries. Two students summarized the news articles that they read and then introduced five new words to the class. After each presentation there was a brief round table discussion. Because this was a timed class, I used an online "time bomb" to count down the time we could allow for the news summaries and the timed conversations.

After the news summaries, I asked the students what the thought of the reading assignment from last night. The students summarized what they had learned from the article. One student mentioned the term "Superwomen," which became the keyword for the debate. After a brief group discussion, I asked the students to have a five minute time conversation about their own mothers experiences trying to raise a family, work, and keep her own life. Students spoke for five minutes about their mothers, or in some cases, other members of their family. After they were finished, I asked them to tell the class about their partners' conversation.

Next, the students handed out the a questionnaire that I had developed from the homework assignment. The aim of these questions were to raise their opinions on the subject and give a common provide a common schemata for the debate topic.

For example:
Directions: Read the following statements below. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being strongly agree and 1 being strongly disagree) how would your rank these statements?

1. Women and men are generally treated as equals.
1 2 3 4 5

2. I believe that women must make a choice between career and family.
1 2 3 4 5

3. Currently, women do not have the necessary resources to raise a family and peruse a career.
1 2 3 4 5

We then watched a short clip from a movie called Tootsie, in which Dustin Hoffman a character who must pretend to be a women in order to get an acting job. We then had a short discussion on whether women are treated as equals in the work place and whether women should try to be the "superwoman" by raising their families and a pursuing a career.

Finally, the students were placed into their debate teams and allowed time to work together to research four questions and then build an argument based on their in class research. At the end of the class, we opened the floor for questions and comments from the students and invited the observers to give their opinions on whether women should be expected to be both mother and professional.

We then wrapped up the class


In planning for this unit, my first thought was to use this topic for a timed-conversation, but as mentioned above, having received some feedback from students on the class and their requests for activities like debates, I thought this topic lent itself to a debate. The most important part of this lesson and the unit, was the article that stimulated the class discussion and giving students an opportunity to research information on the topic and then provide them with some in -class time to practice the ping-pong debate format.

I also used the debate as an opportunity for the students to analyze their own speaking and perform a self-evaluation and a peer-evaluation. In order to set up the debate, I provided students with a questionnaire to raise their awareness of their opinions on the subject and some guided questions from the reading. By allowing the students to write and produce their ideas before talking, I tried to show them how writing could capture and produce ideas before the speaking event, which I hoped would allow them to speak more accurately and fluently.

Also, in planning the two main lesson plans for this unit, I consciously followed Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain (Anderson et al., 2001). and Crabbe's (2003) task types. By developing a detailed unit plan and lesson plans, I could felt more confident on the quality of the tasks, the relationship between the tasks, and the task culminating in completing the unit goals. However, planning out the unit after the course began took time from the lesson planning and gave an uneven feel to the class that came before this unit.

Having taught this lesson I could really see the value an a well planned unit and lesson plan and the need for goals to answer to both the unit and the lesson. I also learned how important sequencing the tasks according to Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain and Crabbe's task types, but I also felt that the students' roles in the lesson planning should not be underestimated when creating a lesson plan and that the goals and task need to make sense to the students, which requires a careful forethought.

Anderson, L., D. Krathwohl, P. Airasian, K. Cruikshank, R. Mayer, P. Pintrich, J. Raths, and M. Wittrock (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning and assessing. New York: Longman

Crabbe, D. (2003). The quality of language learning opportunities. TESOL Quarterly, 37(1), 9-34.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why do my students look so tired?

Do I give a lot of homework? Do my students hate me because of it? Will the rebel and just not participate in class? Why can't I get them to take peer editing seriously? All of these questions are related to each other. All of these questions point to one ongoing problem in my class...noticing. How can I get my students to notice, be aware of, and investigate language for themselves? I was a believer in noticing, which is why I tried to integrate a lot of peer review into my class, but somewhere, somehow, something went wrong. This dilemma leads to only more questions: Did I properly train my students in peer review? Do they even know how to notice their own errors? Are the task that I'm using providing the proper opportunities for noticing? Am I confusing these two issues. The difficulty of teaching effective peer review techniques and noticing errors is a topic that I'm interested in exploring more for my ALR project.

Today, Monday, July 26, is the first day back from the weekend. In our previous class on Friday, we took a field trip to Cannery Row and visited a culinary institute, where we talked to a manager about the program, the students, food, and especially fresh and organic produce. For today's class, we began to peer evaluate the students' projects in which they created a 2 to 3 minute Photostory 3 or iMovie presentation on a destination they would like to visit. To help them frame their conversation, I gave them a handout with four topic areas from which they could chose from. We also reached the end of the "travel" topic and began our new topic: Is this a Women's world in which we will focus our discussion around women in the workforce and an article from the Atlantic titled: The End of Men: How Women are Taking Control of Everything.

We started the class off with student news summaries. Nuria brought in a particularly interesting article on the legalization of marijuana and the arguments against and for legalization. The students liked this topic and we were able to hold some spontaneous conversation even though it took us over the allotted time for the activity. Next, I introduced some principals of giving presentations form the Zen Presentation website, which is often used by other teachers for the Fullbright and ESP programs.

I handed out a peer evaluation worksheet and went over the worksheet and asked if they had any questions. Some students asked how "position" statements are used in presentations and if their final project should be persuasive, and how stories can be effectively used in more formal presentations. We watched the first presentation and then discussed what we liked about that presentation. I forgot to make enough copies so during the next presentation, I had to run upstairs and make more copies. While the students filled out their evaluation, I watched the presentation again. We did this process one more time for the final presentation and then began work on the vocabulary building exercise that I had originally planned for the beginning of class but had left for the presentations to finish so that we weren't switching back and forth from topics. This jigsaw puzzle task had the students looking for specific word definitions by skimming the article and then sharing their answers with their classmates.

We then wrapped up class.

The main event/task for this class period was the student projects. There were two main objectives for the lesson and for the unit that I was trying to accomplish with the travel presentations.

1) I wanted students to have practice time with technology that they might be able to utilize for their final presentation.

2) I wanted give students a chance to peer review eachother's presentations for content.

In setting up the peer review lesson, I remembered two important points that I had discovered while writing my research proposal on peer editing. One, students needed some type of training to be effective peer editors, and two, they needed to know the rubric or traits in which they were being evaluated on. The previous Friday I had been in the Digital Media Commons helping my students with iMovie and at the same time, Bob Cole was giving Fullbright students a class on developing effective presentations. Bob shared a website with some resources and also suggested that students checkout the blog called Zen Presentations by Garr Reynolds (http://www.presentationzen.com/). I also developed a rubric similar to the one that we used for our Timed Conversation, but used the categories from Reynold's website to build the evaluation criteria.

I noticed that some students, during the presentation, just weren't using he rubric or even looking at it, and I think that's because I had too many criteria listed. I'm also skeptical that the Lykard Scale that I'm using for students to give an evaluation just isn't working and that a proper Holistic Scale rubric might be better suited, especially when their peer reviews count for grades. One student, who I won't name here, put all five's for her evaluation marks. When I asked her if she really thought that the presentation deserved all top marks, she said, "Yea, it was really good." I really think that I have to find a new way to train students to give effective feedback and usefulness of giving feedback in order to avoid this blase evaluation of their peers' presentations, especially if I'm trying to get them to notice grammatical errors or ways that they can improve their speaking performance.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Focus on Form: Does it work?

Structure of English was an excruciatingly painful class for me. You see, I'm a native speaker of English, and I've studied English and Journalism as an undergraduate student. I've written for newspapers and I've also written some short stories, but I've never been good at grammar. In fact, I'm always making mistakes in my own writing. So, learning all of the metalinguistic labels, syntax, semantics, phonology, phonetics, and especially the sentence trees was a painful experience for me.

At first I thought that English could be taught without teaching grammar. Students could pick up language just by taking in the language and repeating it (input and output), but I've learned through my own experiences in learning Japanese and through teaching students from both low and high communicative and grammatical competencies, that students need to know how to focus/notice and overcome the problems that keep them from progressing in their studies, or else they will fossilize or become frustrated.

Also, teachers need to be competent in the language they are teaching. In my opinion, there is just no way around it. How can we expect our students to understand the language they are trying to speak if we are unable to describe it.

I'm continuing to build lessons that allow students to focus on the grammatical problems they are showing in their speaking. This focus on form lesson is centered on relative clauses and is designed to allow students to notice the form, meaning, and use of the relative clauses by first noticing the form, talking about the form and meaning, and then using authentic reading materials to give us some practice time. Last, we used some pictures to produce the "necessary" language of the grammatical structure we are studying. Please take a look at my lesson plan.

Today, Mike observed my class, so I'm looking forward to his observation report and will compare it to this blog. We began the class with some house keeping. I asked students if they had copies of their evaluation for Matias' timed conversation. I'm missing one evaluation. I may have accidentally lost her evaluation.

Then I asked student to chose a partner and have a timed conversation using the questions that I have them for their mini-project which is due Sunday at 10 p.m. They said they hadn't looked at the assignment yet, so I wrote three conversation questions on the board and the students conducted a three minute timed conversation. At the end of the conversation, I pointed out that they were all using "follow-up" questions to help expand the conversation, and I then asked the students for the other two strategies that we had used in class: negotiating meaning and shadowing.

Then I explained to the students that we will be working on a grammar point that they all had some difficulty with during their last timed conversation: relative clauses. I handed out a worksheet that asked students to match the main clause with the relative clause. Then, when they finished, I asked the students to read the question and then tell me what noun in the main clause was being modified by the relative clause. There was a brief comical moment when one of the students answered that "The students that I slept on are tired." The student who was responsible for this sentence laughed so hard that she had to leave the room.

Then I asked the students to choose one of three news stories being passed around and to find four examples of the relative clause in the stories. When they finished, I asked the students to write their sentences on the board. After they were finished, I asked the student to tell me if the relative clause was modifying a subject, object, or indirect object. Then I asked if the trace word was a subject, object, or indirect object etc...

When we finished with the noticing the form and meaning of the relative clauses, I asked the students to produce sentences and showed them several pictures that I had found on the LA Times of people vacationing in the Gulf region despite the oil spill, and had some unusual features such as people in hazard suites or tar balls nearby. I asked each student to produce one sentences using relative clauses from different positions in the sentences.

We then wrapped up the class.

Planning for this class took a lot of time, and I was very worried about whether I would actually be using Focus on Form attributes:
  • Providing students with opportunities to notice and create hypotheses on the form, meaning, and use of the targeted form
  • Using authentic materials as data samples
  • Encourage students to conduct inductive reasoning to understand the form, meaning, and use of the target structure
  • Give students opportunities to produce the language that necessitates the target form
  • Build in a way to assess the students' understanding in the post-task phase
I think my lesson, for the most part, follows the focus on form structure, although I'm not sure on the sequencing and formal introduction of the rules that help guide the students understanding of the target language. I began the focus on form lesson by priming the students knowledge of relative clauses and bring to their attention the part of speech and role of the noun being modified. I think that by actually telling them explicitly that the some relative clauses were modifying subjects, that I may have short changed my students inductive reasoning process. Also, I'm worried that the I presented the target language reasons to soon in the lesson and it may have been better to present those reasons after the students wrote their example sentences from the reading practice.

However, I think the students did a great job in identifying relative clauses (even reduced relative clauses) and understanding the basic grammatical structure of the clauses. A question came up during this stage on when it was ok to delete the relative pronoun. One student said it was alright if it was the object of the sentence, but I said I would have to look it up. I'm so angry at myself that I couldn't remember this rule, because I remember covering it a billion times when we went over tree structures in Language Analysis and Structure of English. I looked up the rule in Cowan (2008, p. 432) and it states: Omission of a non-subject relative pronouns is possible in all O and OC relatives and in IO, OP and of which POS relatives that have a stranded preposition.
E.g., We just met the woman Alan likes so much.
We know the student the dean sent the message to.

Cowan, R. (2008). The teacher's grammar of english: A course book and reference guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What happens when students don't like your style?

This week I've started student teacher conferences. It's often hard to hear criticism, especially when you're only paid for 80 minutes, and you spend the majority of your day preparing for the class and grading homework. When I ask for students feedback, I keep eye contact with them and then I try to paraphrase their criticism in the most mutually understandable way possible.

For example:

I really enjoy your class and the topics are interesting, BUT (and here it comes) I feel like you let some people talk too much. You have a lot of things planned and you don't get through your lesson plan because you let people talk too much.

I understand. You want me to be more careful with managing time in the classroom, right?

Yes, because I feel that some students talk too much and that its boring for the rest of us.

(I'm trying to be like Bonny-Norton and realize that these students need time to establish identity and investment, but this student is highly fluent, accurate, and she's a bit lazy turning in her assignments, plus my class is Oral Communication. The whole point is allowing interaction and class discussion).

I see what you are saying, but that's a problem because I need to allow other students time to talk.

But you allow them to take up all of the time.

Clearly, the student doesn't think I'm in control of the class. I thank her for her input write down her comments.

The next student comes, and I ask the same question. Do you have any suggestions? This student is a little more frank.

I like your class and its interesting, but the way you teach is a problem for me. I don't think writing in blogs is helping me. This is Oral Communication class, we should be talking.

So you don't think there is a relationship between writing and speaking?

No, because how is it helping me? Last session, in Oral Communication class we were discussing articles, debating, and talking. For me, I don't like writing and I don't think we need to for Oral Communication class.

I swallow the pain and anger down. I try to explain that writing helps us organize our thoughts, practice vocabulary words before we use them, and afterwords, helps us notice how we use phrases. Writing reinforces speaking and speaking reinforces writing. He doesn't buy it, and there is really tense moment. We backtrack, retract, try to see it from different sides, but in the end he leaves with his opinion and I'm left wondering if I'm doing the right thing for my students. Is my class even effective? How come I can't convince my own students that the major skills are all related to each other? I have 20 minutes to prepare for my class, and I'm just a little upset. I wonder if I can keep my cool, can I be professional? Can I manage all of the "perceived" needs of my students?

For today's class we are continuing on with the travel topic, and I've prepared a model of a Photostory 3 presentation to show the students. I also prepared a handout with different questions about destinations around the U.S. The previous day, we worked on pronunciation and practicing noticing work with our homemade podcasts that were posted on the website over the weekend. Also, today I've handed back the grades and feedback for their first timed conversation. I thought to myself that student 1 from above said she really liked my feedback when I handed back her papers. Also, today we are catching up on our news summary assignments where students introduce five words and give a summary of a news article to the class. I'm especially proud of this assignment as it allows students to feel what its like to lead a class and direct their own learning efforts.

I started the class by giving back their timed-conversation work, and talking a little bit about the student feedback. I told the students that I would be trying to adjust to some of their requests, but I wouldn't be changing the format of the class. (Students look disappointed or bored.) I then ask if the students who will be giving their timed conversations are ready to begin. One of the students is missing, one is not prepared, but two others are. I hand it over to the first student. We have 20 minutes of news summaries to do in one class because I ran out of time in the last class and its already 8 minutes in. The topics are interesting, especially the topics on gay marriage laws in Argentina and the U.S. and on Alzheimer disease. By the time we finish, we have burned away most of the class time and I only have 20 minutes left.

I have to radically change my plans and do a on the fly introduction of the task, which I had wanted them to do in class but have now assigned as homework. I handout the worksheet and tell ask them to cover two of the four topics and then introduce Photostory 3. The students are patient as a fumble with the Internet connections. Finally, I show them OWL, an online writing resources by the University of Purdue, which shows students how to provide citations to any information that they may use. I wrap up the class and let the students leave five minutes early.

I want to talk a little bit about speaking and writing because I do believe speaking and writing are related, and it frustrates me that I can't explain it to my students and that I even up doubting myself. First, speaking and writing are productive tasks. Productive tasks are much more difficult to teach, I think, because they 1) require more energy from the students, 2) they can be frustrating because students tend to obsesses about their "mistakes," and 3) they require us to demonstrate our knowledge. It's not easy for us to face criticism when we speak or when we have a paper returned in red ink with obscure remarks and blotted out ideas. Because they are so hard to master, they are worth investing time into practicing. I believe that students who write first can organize their ideas, their vocabulary, phrases, and information so when they are asked to speak, they have resources to draw upon. If you are giving a presentation, you prepare by reading, then you write an outline or a full speech, then you put it aside and see what you can produce. Production, communication, interaction, noticing, speaking, and writing.

How can I better explain to my students the relationship between speaking and writing?
How can I show students how to capitalize on their noticing opportunities with speaking and writing?
Should I just ditch the twice weekly blogs? Is that too much to ask?

I'm exhausted. Time to sleep.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Seat of the pants technology class

Background (July, 8, 2010)
In the previous class we watched video on food from Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservation on the Travel Channel. I selected the episode that had to do with Chile and we discussed as a class the different foods from our countries and how they are tied to our culture. We got half way through this lesson and did not get to the information gap exercise and writing revision tasks that I had planned.

For this class, however, I had planned for us to make a field trip to a non-profit organization to talk with them on the different issues. My vague plan was to have us visit the aquarium so we could talk about the effects of the oil spill in the gulf, however, after calling them I found that there was nobody who could talk to us and I had to cancel the field trip because I hadn't made other arrangements in time. So instead, we went to the Digital Media Commons for our class in order for the students to receive training in some technology that would help them build their final project. I experienced several problems in that I wasn't fully prepared to model the technology iMovie, so I asked Mike Garnett, to step in and help me with a lesson that he had developed in his own class. The second problem is that I had trouble managing the classroom and getting students to work in groups.

I began planning this class the night before, and I developed full lesson plan, but now after reviewing my lesson plan, I noticed that I failed to put in the necessary time to make a comprehensive lesson plan and goals, and I had merely listed the different points that I wanted to cover in the lesson: brainstorming different tools using Typewith.me as a class, taking a tour of audacity and flickr, and then letting Mike make his iMovie presentation.

However, the actual class progressed much different from my outline. First, I walked with the students over to the DMC and met Mike along the way. We went up to the main commons room and then took a quick survey of the students who had Macs and PC. We then loaded the Typewith.me page on the main computer screen the students could log in and begin the first task. The link to the Typewith.me page is written below. I gave a short introduction to how to think of technology in terms of situation, challenge, and tool, which I and Sarah Springer had used in the CALL 500 weekend workshop and in the CALL Curriculum Design class. In the typewith.me pad, I gave the students three different situations in which to think of a tool that might help. For example:

Situation 1: You are at a business meeting you need to present information on a new product with data and graphs.

Challenge: You have to find tools that can build graphs and charts. You have to deliver the presentation in person.

PowerPoint (Trang) (Trang) ccartoon,cartoon,cartoon,cartoon,cartoon, annie annie annie annie annie
Powerpoint as well, yes, you are right, PJ! Nataliya.
Photo Stories, Matias
Prezi (like powerpoint)

In pairs or as individuals, the students wrote names of tools or they attempted to describe the materials or tools needed for different situations, E.g., "photos form the Internet." Some of the students didn't list tools at all and just watched while some students listed actually tools for each situation.

The brainstorming task lasted for approximately 15 minutes as we had to repeat instructions or help students log onto the page and then wait for them to list different tools. So, I decided to ask Mike to make his iMovie presentation first and to skip the audacity and the flickr presentations until later because I realized that it would take us much longer to work on iMovie than anticipated. We first grouped students into pairs for students who had PC, but after we decided to put the students on the DMC Macs. After everyone was logged on and had iMovie open, Mike passed out a handout that explained the basics. Mike began to introduce the iMovie while the students followed along on their computers. He then gave the students a task of importing pictures and copying background music to the iMovie project folder. We then assisted students individually to help them set up the iMovie files and import their files. This took approximately 35 minutes. Then I asked Mike to show the students how video was imported. Mike then showed the class how to import and edit video and audio.

I wrapped up the class by handing out the final project description and requirements hand out. I read the description of the final presentation, the step by step process for completing the presentation, grading guide, and the checklist. After some student questions, we adjourned for the day.

The problems with the tasks and the classroom management, I think, began with the lack of preparation. I'm beginning to realize how difficult it is to plan a content rich class that incorporates technology, peer editing, and class projects threads into one class. I began the class preparation the night before but only completed the final project presentation paper and didn't have time to get to the computer lab to create a model for the iMovie, Audacity, or Flickr. Plus, as I said before, my lesson plan consisted of a list of things that I wanted to accomplish but lacked a list of goals and completed materials for the class. Without the help of Mike, I wonder what I would have done in the class with iMovie. Also, I think that brainstorming, I'm learning, requires physical objects that can be moved, removed, or added. In the previous CALL sessions, we began the brainstorming with large blank pieces of paper and post-it notes. We could write, edit, and manipulate the post its together, and it was easy for the students to see the structure of the exercise. I'm slowly moving away from having Typewith.me as a class sharing tool even though it is a powerful tool and really fun to use.

Also, students notice and respond to disorganization. If the students see teachers struggling to set up a computer program, or if the teacher has divided attention between what they are trying to teach and the technology that they are trying to deliver the content with, then students respond by not taking the lesson seriously or tuning out. This problem can create serious damage to our reputation as competent teachers.

Finally, I'd like to mention that focused goals help keep not only the students on target, but they also help keep our teaching efforts on target by targeting our teaching energy into the most important aspects of the lesson. Even though I hadn't written out my goals in my lesson plan for this day, it didn't take me long to realize that the most important thing my students needed was some time-on-task with the iMovie learning environment, and that, in order for them to maximize their time in the class, they had to accomplish several tasks that Mike was asking them to perform. If I had thought about the days' lessons in tasks and then written them out, I would have noticed that a more targeted class with task-based instruction and assessment would be ideal in checking students' progress and learning experience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7, 2010: Timed Conversations & Peer Review


Today we continued the practice timed conversations and began work on introducing the topic of Food: Is it Good for You? In the previous two classes we have been practicing a timed conversation for five minutes and peer reviewing each other's conversations. The peer review process is, I think, critical for advanced level students who are looking to refine their own speaking skills.

I started the class with a trivia game that was based off of a vocabulary game that we played last week. I divided the class into three teams and asked each team a trivia question. If they couldn't get the answer, then the next team was allowed to answer. I noticed that some students enjoyed the friendly competition and other did not.

Next, Nuria and Claire did presented their news summaries. I reminded each student to hand out copies of their article and introduce five words. Nuria used an article on China and spoke without notes or cues. She sometimes wandered in the topic, but she received constructive feedback from her peers on the topic and her speaking performance. Claire was next and although she used notes to guide her speaking, she also wrote the words she wanted to introduce to her classmates and used them to guide her speaking. She also received constructive criticism on her speaking performance and there was a lot of generous talk on her subject as it had to do with food.

We then started the timed conversations. I handed out fresh evaluation sheets to the groups and reminded them to be vigilant in their comments and scoring. There were some questions raised in exactly what some of the terms, such as "fluency" and "accuracy" means, and some students suggested that the scale wasn't sufficient enough to rate the students performance. I reminded the students that this was a practice and that we should notice what each person's speaking level might be and then used that as a gauge to evaluate them in their final speaking performance.

Ximena and Trang was first. Trang started the conversation with questions and seemed to be leading the conversation but then Ximena dominated the conversation with a long story about the earthquake in Chili. After the conversation, students mentioned the fact that Ximena had not given Trang ample opportunity to talk and that Trang had asked too many conversations.

Then, Claire went with the help of Annie. Annie led the conversation by mentioning a death of a famous actor in Korea, which showed that Annie was aware of her partner and was engaging her to allow Claire to speak. Claire gave a great description of the economic crisis and how it was affecting Korean society, especially with the rise in suicides. She also self-corrected many of her own mistakes.

After the 5 minute timed conversation, our class watched a video from the Anthony Bourdain show. I warned the students that Bourdain might be difficult to understand at times, but I wanted them to concentrate on how he presented his trip to Chili and the food he ate. Afterwords, we had a round table discussion on food and places.


We were only able to finish half of the lesson today, and I'm wondering if I haven't packed too much into my lessons and that we could spend more quality time on aspects like peer review. At first I thought since my students were at such a high level and that they must have done peer review previously that they didn't need a lot of time on training, but after the previous classes in which we peered reviewed each other's speaking, I found think that peer review training is essential and that a rubric should be given to the students right away. I knew this from my peer review research proposal that I wrote from Research Methods, and from Language Assessment, so I don't know why I haven't been more careful.

Things I need to do:
1) Find how I want to measure speaking and develop an easy to use and comprehensive rubric that can be used for peer review.

2) A lot more time to training and practicing peer review. This means doing some research on peer review training. John Hedgcock's book on writing may be a good source as well as the speaking documents in Kathy Bailey's assessment class.

3) Next week, we tape record the timed conversations so I have to remember to bring a tape recorder too. This is also a good opportunity to record for practicum.