Monday, June 28, 2010

Back to routines but also back to teaching (June 16-25)

So we returned from our trip exhausted from all of the travelling and eating ridiculous amounts of food. The routine began again of going to language class, followed by more and more sessions in the afternoon after they have already managed to systematically destroy our brain abilities through teaching us Romanian. However, next week begins our practicum where we will test out our abilities to teach English to students.

We have picked our groups for teaching and begun planning, now comes the real deal where we actually try to teach English. Day 1 was obviously our first day of experimenting, not only with our level of teaching, but with where the students are in terms of English. We are teaching 7th grade which should be fun because the students have begun to have a speaking proficiency yet they can use some fine tuning as we educate them through English.

Day 2 was a lesson completely on music. We were using K'naan's "Waving Flag" as the central piece to teach around. Begin the World Cup's them song this year, we felt it would be accessible to the students since you hear it so much on TV. First Chelsea taught them the song by using different games which required listening and comprehension of the song. I went second and we had a discussion about what the song was about. It went amazingly well as the students were latching onto the ideas of peace and poverty which as extremely prevalent in the song. Kyle finished it up by having the students read an article about another famous musician, Elvis Presley, who also grew up in a tough childhood to have an impact on the musical world, which is obvious.

Day 3 we did a movie themed lesson. Students learned vocabulary about going to a movie theater, they practiced dialogues of buying tickets and snacks, including the wonderful world of upsizing where we then asked them to buy larger because of free refills, etc. Kyle had the students brainstorm different words to describe different types of movies and then had them make movie posters using those words. I was going to close it up by showing movie clips of different movies and seeing if they could describe the dialogue that was taking place as well as describing the scene. It failed miserably at first because they couldn't hear the clips because they were playing on laptops in different stations. So I scrapped it and we decided to make our own scenes. Students volunteered to be our actors while the rest of the class came up with the ideas for the different scenes. It was great because not only were they hilarious, the students had to improvise using a foreign language which is not an easy thing to do, but they handled it quite well.

Day 4 we talked about America. I did a quick history of the founding of America as well as how the government is set up and compared it to Romania. Kyle did a geography lesson about the different regions and cities and how they are different from each other. Chelsea talked about schools in America and how they are organized and the students had to compare them to schools in Romania.

Day 5 was a fun day for the kids. Kyle opened up talking about music again but more on the genres of music. He played different songs and asked the students what genre they thought each song was. They had a blast with it, as well as seeing Kyle dance like Michael Jackson as well as dancing to "I Feel Good". Chelsea talked about Martin Luther King and had a discussion about discrimination and brought it back to Romania and the students even talked about how the Rroma people are discriminated against in Romania. I did team building exercises where the students were not allowed to talk and when we were done we discussed why communication is important. It went nearly as planned, except for the kids who tried to talk, which only made them have to start over.

The whole experience was very reassuring in terms of why I came to Romania in the first place. So far it has basically been us learning and doing very little until now and I cannot wait to get to it at site.

"There is nothing better than having students coming up to you and thanking you for what you have done for them. Any teacher will tell you that most of the time you have to find your own satisfaction in your work, but when students share that with you, it makes everything you have done worthwhile. "

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