Dutch Lesson 3: Rationale and Materials

For the third Dutch lesson, a variety of activities and materials were used. At the beginning of the session the aims of the class were clearly outlined on the whiteboard and verbally by the teacher, which provided students with an idea of the session’s purpose. This was followed by completing an information sheet from the previous lesson. I believe this was used to ensure the module remained on schedule and to guarantee student understanding of further tasks. It also allowed students to refresh knowledge they were starting to forget.

Following this, a task was set using key phrases. Presented on the interactive whiteboard, this ensured the entire class received the same information and allowed the teacher to make notes that everyone could clearly see. This was perhaps used by the teacher to ensure the class recorded accurate information. Using the phrases, a pair work task was set to practice speaking. As this was new information, pair work was ideal for the teacher – students used phrases in small, comfortable groups while the teacher circulated the room and observed.

The students were then given a transcript, and asked to search for vocabulary to use in the following task of discussing hobbies. I believe the teacher decided to use a transcript to encourage students to search for key information within every day conversation. After the completion of the exercise the correct grammatical formation of the new topic was presented. Using the interactive whiteboard again, the entire class could see and note down the correct manner of discussing hobbies. This ensured all students were clear on grammar and pronunciation. Class contribution of different hobbies was a particularly useful activity, which the teacher used to encourage participation and ensure students would relate to the topic.

This was followed by presentation of the relevant questions you would use to discuss hobbies. With a few examples of different ways to ask about hobbies, students then began working out the grammatical pattern of forming the questions. This was used by the teacher to promote student use of previous Dutch knowledge (and languages) in general to figure out new information. After a lot of pair and group work, using a handout and asking students to complete it individually was designed to ensure everyone understood the new grammar, and had not been relying on a select few contributors. This task also gave the teacher time to circulate the classroom, correct individual mistakes and note down common group mistakes.

As the session had over run, the final task would be completed next time – a wise choice by the teacher, as rushing through the task at the end of the session would not have been useful for the students.

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Dutch Lesson 2: Student v Teacher

During the second Dutch lesson, the student and teacher activity was varied and well balanced to enabled maximum learning. The session began with a whole class activity, in which students asked a basic conversational question (such as ‘What is your name?’ and ‘Where are you from?’) to the student to their right, who answered it and passed the question on. I felt this was a very useful exercise as it enabled speaking practice, allowed students to practice listening and pick up pronunciation, as well as the bonus of giving students the opportunity to get to know each other a little better. This required very little input from the teacher, who only became involved to help the game keep going or to correct minor pronunciation errors. As it was the beginning of the session, having a student led activity engaged the entire group and made sure people were concentrating and paying attention.

Another useful aspect of the session that encouraged a high rate of student talk time was the group practice of Dutch numbers via reciting your own mobile phone number. I found this to be a good follow on activity from the whole class conversation practice, as it divided the class into smaller, less daunting groups. For students, it was a particularly useful exercise as it required practice of both speaking and listening skills (to ensure you recorded other phone numbers correctly). It was also a useful activity to enable the teacher to circulate the room and input any corrections on pronunciation and technique.

The introduction of new grammatical points at the end of the session was somewhat hurried (which was an unfortunate result of the large number of students), but was presented in a clear and easily formatted manner. In this section, as would be expected with the introduction of any new material, there was a greater amount of teacher talk time. However, the planned activity of asking the students to try and guess the grammatical rules meant that student interaction with the materials given remained high. Feedback of what the students thought the grammar would be lead to informative student-teacher interaction, which nicely ended the session.