Friday, 6 February 2009

Discussion groups, "The Bottle Queen" and "Panache"

Some days ago I wrote about how I had worked with the topic Native Americans in my groups. The glogsters turned out to be quite a success, even if not all of the students had managed to save theirs properly, and most of them also liked Kinsella's story "The Bottle Queen". We read this story together in class and I also gave the students some study questions for homework. This week we have been talking about the story in groups of four. Since Christmas I have started using group discussions rather than going through a whole bunch of questions in class, and this works quite well. Most times I have given each of the groups some time for preparation, so that they can compare notes and start speaking English before the discussion. The feedback from the students is that they like these dicsussion groups, and for me it is a way of seeing, and indeed listening to everybody, not just those who generally have a lot to say. I have told the students that these discussions will influence their grade at the end of the semester, and I use a rubric like this when assessing them.

Having finished this week's discussions, we turned to another short story by William P. Kinsella's, "Panache". I had planned for the students to work on this story in groups and a roleplay was one of the activities. You find my plan for how to work on "Panache" here. Summing up the two short stories at the end of the day, many of the students suggested themes, topics and possible interpretations, and it seemed to me that they had also learned quite a few things about the social conditions of the Native Americans.

1 comment:

  1. Reading about the social conditions of Native Americans is better than knowing nothing at all. However, I feel fortunate that I'm actually teaching now on one of the U.S. Native American reservations, and I can see first hand what many people can only read about.