Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reflection on jigsaw reading workshop

The results of the reflection task, were compiled by Melek and based on the responses by the participants to the following questions.



















Reflection task results:
No of reflection sheets collected: 16
Pre-reading stage:
1.      How interested were the students in the topic?
Very interested
12
Neutral
4
Not very interested
0

2.      How much did the pre-taught vocabulary help the success of the while reading activity?
A lot
14
Not a lot
2
It wasn’t necessary
0

3.      A technique called ‘numbered heads’ were used for the grouping. What benefits and challenges of this technique did you observe?
Benefits:
Simple and quick
8
Students can work with different students (random)
6
Different
2
Variety
2
Practical
2
Fun
1
Mobilizes students/ breaks up monotony
1
Makes them concentrate (they have to remember their numbers)
1

Challenges:
Students who don’t want to work together might end up in the same group.
5
They need to remember their numbers
4
Noisy
3
Some students might get confused
2
Needs management
1

While-reading stage:
4.      Please tick the skills and strategies that the students have used in order to complete the tasks given:

Summarizing
16
Cooperation   
16
Reading
16
Speaking
15
Writing           
15
Communication
15
Listening
13
Competition
13
Time management
12
Critical thinking
7
Problem solving
5
                                                           
Post-reading stage
5.      What kind of post-reading activities can be suggested for this lesson?
Assigning a project such as a poster, or a presentation on an animal that can camouflage.
5
Writing comprehension questions for other groups.
4
A speaking activity (e.g. which of the mentioned animals would you like to be and why?)
2
Drawing a diagram of the text based on the summaries.
2
A vocabulary activity (e.g. a vocabulary matching activity using visuals)
2
Answering some comprehension questions
1
Each group may present answers to the comprehension questions. Others may evaluate.
1
Group discussion on examples of camouflage (e.g. animals and humans)
1
Ask them to find out 5 more animals that are good at camouflage.
1



General Feedback
6.      What kind of challenges or drawbacks of a jigsaw activity are there?
Weaker students who do not want to participate might ruin the activity.

3
Instructions are difficult to follow. (you noted them on the board which helped)
2
Since the sts are exposed to the text for the first time, they may have difficulty understanding the text, taking notes, summarizing their notes, and remembering what they have heard from other sts in their groups.
2
Some sts may have difficulty in explaining/speaking. They may not understand or try.
2
It needs time to teach students the rules and steps of jigsaw reading.
2
In problematic classes, pairwork and groupwork activities can be quite a challenge and require good classroom management skills.
2
Students don’t listen or move quickly. Some may end up in the wrong group.
1
Students might not cooperate in the 1st groups (expert groups)
1
In a lively class it can be very tiring for the instructor to manage the class.
1
It can be difficult to ensure that the discussion in groups will be done in L2 instead of L1.
1
In mixed ability classes it can be problematic to get all sts involved as the weaker ones opt to keep a low profile while the better ones will lead the way.
1
In the last group, actually they don’t have to teach because when the test is given, one st can answer one part, and so on.
1
Regrouping frequently can break up concentration
1
There is no guarantee that everyone will take notes and summarize, so that will affect the 2 groups’ performance.
1
Some groups do not take the test seriously and just don’t participate
1
Timing → the groups should be arranged carefully considering weak and good ones.
1
Not all the students might have enough motivation.
1
Some sts don’t want to work in a group.
1
Some sts will be reluctant in the speaking activity.
1
Hyperactive students may cause chaos.
1

7.      Other Comments:
All aspects well worked out! E.g. cooperation focus, instructions on the white board, rewards, scrap paper, etc.,  etc.
1
It is much better than just ‘read and answer’ type of conventional teaching. Thanks.
1
Encouraging the students to participate by giving them the sense of responsibility. That’s a good idea.
1
Difficult to manage the class. However, very enjoyable. Not boring.
1
Constant monitoring will be necessary. Too much moving around may confuse students. (They may have to carry their belongings around and/or they may have to sit with people they do not like.)
1







Monday, August 5, 2013

English is not an easy language to learn - even for native speakers.


Sometimes I get frustrated at the mistakes made by students studying English as a foreign language.  However, it is quite sobering to see the mistakes that native speakers make as they are growing up and learning English as their native language.  Here are a few examples that were passed on to me by an acquaintance, Tony Atkinson, who is not an English teacher but a fellow golfer who patiently listens to my laments about the difficulty my students have in learning English.


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