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.