I would like to share my reflections on a TA lesson, visited on Monday, led by Renata Jonina at the Riga Secondary School Nr 13 with Form 11 (17-18 y.o.)

The goal of the lesson was to see the variety of English informal language, using the extract "It Kills Me" by JD Salinger.

SS had to read the extract at home and translate it. At class they had to find all the informal words and expressions and classify them according to how informal they were (spoken language, informal, slang, taboo words). SS should take into consideration emotional aspect of the words, their function (motivation of saying them and appropriacy for the context).

I think that it was a TA lesson, because SS used the ENV model to create a table (spoken language/informal language/slang/taboo words): element (informal word), name (they had to classify them), value (offensive or neutral, appropriacy in the given context, motivation of using it).

The Teacher's role. The teacher was  a catalyser of a sharp and provocative discussion at class. It was a challenging language situation, where almost everybody took part and expressed their opinion regarding the text, the task and the experimental Teacher's teaching approach. Unwillingly they started the discussion about the target language given in the task, giving reasons, justifying their opinion, but mostly with negative and rejecting attitude. Though the challenge of the tasks was reduced a lot (only a small part of the prepared tasks was possible to cover), the lesson was given.

I also like to say about the moral dimension of the lesson. At the end SS had to see with their own eyes, what impression can give a rebellious teenager, who uses slang or taboo words (the narrator in the exctract). Everybody agreed, that it is far from positive and inspiring. So the teacher invited them to think of their own behaviour, when they use such strategy to express themselves.

Here I'd like to mention the overall atmosphere in the class. The teacher had to struggle hard to introduce tasks, to overcome the denying attitude of the teenagers, unwilling to work, to face the challenge. I think, to reduce the teacher's stress, provide support and motivate SS, s/he should work in a team of like-minded teachers at the same place. SS should get used to the TA approach from the primary school, involving parents in the process.


# Alexander Sokol 2013-03-16 14:03
Diana, thanks a lot for the reflection. Can you please give more details on specific tasks offered by the teacher? Were they from the System of Tasks to this text or prepared by the teacher?
I am also curious about specific things that happen during the lesson? How was the challenge created? How did the learners response and what did the teacher do? All these details would be useful.
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