Thursday, July 5, 2018

Teaching Demonstration: Reading Comprehension with TBL

Today, I did a teaching demonstration with my homeroom class for a group of professors and students from Beijing Normal University and South China Normal University. With the textbook article, A Letter to Grandma, I intended to help my students develop active reading skills with a series of tasks because they will have to cope with challenging reading comprehension questions next year.

Students will be facing a variety of relatively long and complicated articles when taking the Comprehensive Assessment Program exam next May. As a teacher, the main idea is helping students process and retrieve relevant information in order to answer multiple-choice questions regarding reading comprehension. Without traditional lecturing, my students worked in groups to complete the tasks targeting active reading, complete with a simple information gap activity to practice asking and answering questions regarding the text.  

Of course, it was not a perfect class. I did not expect one group got stuck with the phrase match task. Some slow learners frequently did not know what to do, and their group leaders failed to provide help, either. Though I thought I included enough scaffolding for the students, the lesson plan did not pan out as I had expected. If I want to do it again, I would lower the difficulty of the task and differentiate the learning materials as well.

During the Q&A session, I was invited to reflect on the class. Professor Song gave me some positive feedback based on student behavior, scaffolding, and the well-structured arrangements of tasks. On top of that, the principal gave me a chance to show off my English speaking skills, so I gave a brief introduction in English to myself and the international collaborative projects I've been holding dear. Though it will always be an uphill struggle, I still would keep my faith and passion for creating an authentic environment for my students to experience what it's like to USE English.

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