Hello, once again!
In order to apologise for my silence these last weeks, I’ll try to provide interesting stuff for you, or more than usual. You know what I mean.
1. Poll results
Basically, we had around 7 – if not precisely – votes, that pushed the results to 50% of English spoken in class for levels 1 and 2.
Of course, there is no way to know if our voters were mainly Basic 1 or 2 teachers. Ever since I started teaching this was a major issue for me. People tell you you’re supposed to speak English at all times, even during basic levels, but no one is willing to tell you how. I can see how that can be easily done in other languages, more related to Portuguese, such as Spanish or Italian, maybe even French. Also, some more experienced teachers seem to develop the bad habit of putting up a misterious expression of wisdom every time you panic with the whole 100% English paradox.
Well, I haven’t been teaching for 2 years yet, so I’m not particularly experienced. That is why I was slightly creeped out when I was given my Basic 2 group, at the beginning of the semester. What you have to remember is that you have to take care with the verb tenses when talking to the group. In Touchstone they only learn the Simple Past during the second half of the course. Does that mean you can’t use any sentences in the past? Not really. You can say ‘did’, and ‘watched’ and other stuff, but always with the “past gesture”. Body language is your best friend.
Also, you have to be extra careful to enunciate – I always do a slo-mo version of the difficult words, so the students laugh and learn. I must confess – I only had one or two classes so far that was 100% English. It doesn’t only depend on the teacher – it must be a good day for the students too. Sometimes they are simply too tired.
So, anyways, do you guys have any special tips on avoiding Portuguese in the classroom? Share with us!
2. Managing Touchstone
And for our next topic: