The class started at 6:15 PM. The teacher entered the class, greeted the students, and started writing the content of her lesson of the day on the board. First, she wrote that they were going to have a grammar review and later made some announcements. A student who appeared to be a gifted ESL student asked for clarification about transitive and intransitive verbs. The teacher then paused, clarified, and explained the students doubts. The teacher went around the circle and asked them for their homework, and almost everyone answered that they had done it. The students appeared to be from different cultural background, and I could figure out that most of them came from Spanish speaking countries. There were students who came from the West and North Africa, China, Thailand, and Haiti. The average age of those students appeared to be coming from the Spanish Speaking countries were the most active, participative and gifted speakers in the class.
The students already had a presentation to be made on that day. It was due on that day, so, they were called one by one to the front to make their presentation before the class. Their homework was to choose a phrasal verb and create a sentence. Most of them were able to present a phrasal verb with a clear example and their correct usage in a sentence. The teacher praised them constantly that they were doing very well and that their examples were remarkable. The students used PowerPoint to explain what Employment at Will is and States that enforce it and those that do not. That topic raised students awareness of job application and abused employers difficulties about being immigrants. The students who made their presentations were able to answer students concern about the topic. A student also cracked a joke asking if Employment at Will can be applied to marriages. That presentation was full of vivacity. Every student had something to say about his or her first job in the United States.
After a brief review of modal verbs, the teacher told them that they were going to have a new activity. The topic was Cambridge Participatory Budgeting, the handouts had a certain amount of money, and they would identify what project the money was going to be used. They would choose to vote on culture and community facilities, streets sidewalks, transit, environment, health, safety, parks, recreation, and education. The teacher told them that they should not worry because she knew it was going to be a disaster. However, it was worth trying because, during the break time, those who live in Cambridge would vote for that project.
Every student was provided with a handout and was told that the main purpose of that activity was to prepare them for a vote during their break time. This activity gave students an opportunity to work with language, and they had so much fun working with their budget and the teacher. Some students explained the meaning of each vocabulary to their colleagues in groups, and the teacher went around to check students engagement in the activities and went to the clarify elicitation. The amount of content was huge, and the students exchanged ideas, expressing themselves and I could recognize all kinds of English accents in the class. The teacher was very happy with this class because she found out that students understood the material, and everyone spoke about what they chose and why. Often times the teacher used her Ipad to show them the differences between images.
The last activity was a jigsaw reading where the students who read had reliable materials to read. It was about the month of December, which is one of the most powerful months of the year for all cultures. One student read the passage about Christmas for Christians, another read about Eiid Milad ul-Nad for Islamic holiday, Kwanzaa celebration of African American, Hanukkah for the Jewish holiday, Wright Bothers day, New Years day and prepare for winter. After reading, there was a listening activity related to the reading where students listened to a tape and filled in the blanks. Everyone answered them correctly even with trick vocabulary. The teacher praised them for their good work, gave them homework, and asked for a reflection on what they have learned.
I think it was a great ESL class, which took 3 hours. Most of those students were highly motivated to learn, and they facilitated the teacher to achieve her goal. The communicative approach was effectively used as well as contextualized grammar, there were so many scenarios to engage students in communication, materials provided by the teacher were very reliable, the teacher was conscious competent about cultural sensitiveness in her class with a clear topic, visual aids were clear and very interesting.
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