Tuesday, 16 June 2009

“For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.” T.S.Elliot

Three days left before the summer holiday and it is time look back at the months that have passed, and it is also time to look forward to August and a new school year. As always, I have learned quite a few things this year, and even if I have now taught the same courses for three years in a row, the experiences are different from the previous years. I feel that this year has been a busy one; new students, new projects, new colleagues, seminars at various places in Norway, student exchange in Holland. Looking back, I do think the year has been great. Some of the things that I have done in my English classes this year have been a success, and here is a list of some of the things I know I will do next year:

  • Continue using discussion groups rather than class discussions with the first year students. I really feel that these groups have made the students more active and more talkative, and also that this has been an all right way to dig into various topics from the syllabus.

  • Read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time with the first year students. Almost all the students liked the novel, and my plan is to start reading it quite early in the first semester. Perhaps I will let them read a second novel in the spring term. Reading is good, and can really help all of us to improve our language skills.

  • Using Exploring English when dealing with grammar, language and text structure. My school has also bought a lot of copies of the book, which I believe will be a nice supplement and quite useful.

  • Make the students use glogsters and photostories as a way of presenting their material. Much more fun than the ordinary power point presentations!

  • Watch the film Crash. It always works well with the students, and it is worth seeing time and time again!
So which things will I not do again next year? Honestly, I believe that most of the things we have done this year have worked quite well, and therefore I cannot come up with anything I know I am sure I will not do again another time. There is, however, room for improvement in various ways. As I have said above, I have taught the same courses for three years now, but this does not mean I have done the same things every year. I definitely hope that we can manage to find a way to assess the works of the students that can be less time consuming, but at the moment I am not sure how to do it. I also have some ideas about new things to do in class, new texts to read, etc., but I think I will wait until after the summer holiday to present these.

I would like to end this blog entry by a quite by Napoleon Hill. I think these words can be useful to keep in mind when planning a new school year and in life in general: "Do not wait; the time will never be ''just right.'' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. "

Photo: "Papion"

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