Osaka Study Group Meeting September 27th Report
At the beginning we sang “What Does He Have in His Bag Song” to the music of “The Farmer in the Dell”. We changed the verses to suit the target language so that the students will be able to review what they learned as they sing the song over and over.
Before going on to Practice Key 1, we explained about one of the important theories of the Model Action Talk (MAT) METHOD. That is “We teach one new thing at a time.” In order to put the theory into practice, we need to plan ahead and look what we need to teach before the new language is taught. In this way we can reduce students’ level gaps.
With Practice Key 1, we introduced how to teach the vocabulary of snacks. The point was that there are countable and uncountable nouns in English. This is a very difficult concept for Japanese learners since we do not pay attention whether something is countable or not in the Japanese language. Here again ‘using gestures’ is very helpful and effective. After introducing the vocabulary, we introduced the sentence pattern. The point here was to have students listen and notice the different words “have” and “has”, and under what conditions they are used. Teachers tend to explain grammar first but as it is said, students learn more when they find rules themselves. It is necessary to introduce the target language with a clear contrast.
After the demonstration, we had the ‘It’s your Turn” time, where the teachers got into smaller groups and practiced the skills. For those who came for the first time, we took some time to practice how to DRILL with the cards. Those who were quite familiar with the MAT METHOD had the chance to take turns being the teacher and brush up their skills by giving advice to each other. We believe that this time to actually “Do” what was presented is a very important process.
With Practice Key 2, we introduced how to teach the question form. Giving an impact is another key word here. As we teach only once a week, we need to think of how to prevent students from forgetting what they have learned. We showed an example of how to introduce the reason we do not need the /s/ after the verb when we use ‘does’ as we ask the question.
After the second ‘It’s your turn’ corner, we had the Halloween Activity time.
We enjoyed the story, “Trick or Treat’. A lot of snacks are given to the boy as he goes trick or treating. But Marlin waves his magic wand at him and now everything is “Wackbards!” Jelly beans becomes Belly Jeans!! By using gestures as a cue, the audience can get involved to tell the punch lines of the story. We enjoyed the pictures of the strange “Wackbarded” things as well as sharing the thrilling feeling of trick or treating.
The song “Halloween Night” has become one of the popular conventional songs for our Halloween meetings. Getting in a circle and move around like the characters, we shared the excitement of Halloween. When the song stopped we got into pairs and did Halloween Janken. This activity is very good to play with a big group and to make a friendly atmosphere at the parties.
We hope that the workshop was useful for those who came to the meeting. Also we hope to see those who we haven’t met yet and will be able to share and learn together about the MAT METHOD.
IIEEC Teacher Training Center OSAKA
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