Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week 2 - Ready, Steady, Go

#619 Annie Onishi Central Park Track Club New Balance CPTC 100B5983.JPG
Image on Flickr by Charles Smith

After introductions were exchanged in Week 1, serious work starts in Week 2. I expect it is going to be a steep learning curve from now on. A bit like marathon running. Though the work before us might seem overwhelming at times, we will get there eventually.

So, this is what my week looked like:


On Sunday I curl up on my couch, weekly readings in my hands. Three hours later, I feel that my brain has expanded. All that information about search engines! I can't wait to try them out. And the ABCD objectives are new to me.


Time for my first go at search engines. I pick the ones that help you choose a controversial topic - IDEA Portal and Glean Comparison. I end up with a solid lesson plan for my Advanced students.


Time for some serious work - writing the ABCD objective. Since I have never written objectives this way before, I am a little apprehensive. I decide that it is a good idea to post the first draft of the objective as early as possible and refine it by the end of the week. I start with:

Given the vocabulary for describing books and films provided in their textbook, adult intermediate students will be able to retel the plot of a book or a film and describe their reactions to it comprehensibly, with reasonable fluency and reasonable accuracy.

Luisa provides some really helpful feedback and reading through the forum discussions I learn a bit more and write my second draft. Then Yuliya jumps in to my rescue and I and end up with:

Given the vocabulary for describing books and films provided in their textbook, adult intermediate students will retel the plot of a book or a film and describe their reactions to it in 20 sentences using at least 10 words from the list. Although mistakes may occur, they will be of such nature that they do not hinder communication.

What has become obvious this week is that, as I have suspected, I will learn as much from my fellow-participants as I will from the weekly readings. Our forum is very lively and people are willing to help each other and provide feedback.


I write the first draft of my main task - the description of one of my groups. This makes me reflect on my teaching situation.

I love working in a language school and I love working with adults. I like the fact that all my students are in class because they chose to be there. Since I don't mark them, they are not afraid of me. They can leave at any time, but they choose to stay. They will choose to stay only if my teaching is good, if my lessons are interesting and if they are making progress. Their ideas about what they need and why they are there are often vague, but they are happy to be there. This is inspiring, but it is also limiting in so many ways. I can't rely on them to be where I want them to be and do what I tell them to do. I can never be sure that they will blog with me or edit a wiki with me. I can't be sure that they have got my back. This project is no exception. How do I know that they will participate? I have got to make sure that it is interesting and answers their needs. Then I just need to wait and hope for the best.


On Thursday I write the second draft of my class description and several more versions of my ABCD objective. I read through the forums and reflect.


I do a webquest using various search engines provided in our weekly readings and post my reflections to the forum. I explore a couple more for good measure. I will definitely go back to American Rhetoric, which provides American public speeches, lectures, debates and there is a section with famous movie speeches. I will also return to the Moving Image Archive to search for movies to share with my students or watch on my own.

And here I am. It is almost 3.30AM here in Belgrade. Tomorrow I will visit my fellow participants' blogs to see what they are posting.

This looks like a solid weekly plan. I will try to stick to it.


  1. Nice post, Natasa. It felt like reading your personal journal.

    1. Thank you, Luisa. I thought I would do it like that this week. Next week, we'll see...

  2. Yes, Natasa,

    really nice post, After reading I have to agree there's at least one point I envy you of and that is the fact that you have students in our class even if they are not compelled to stay there. In our school the courses are in total 38 hours divided in lessons of 75 minutes we meet 3 times a week. The school is not compulsory but studying is and the students are allowed to be absent for no reason from two lessons. Quite a few interpret the rule: we MUST be absent twice! But it is a challenge to keep them happy when they come for a lesson, which again proves how important it is to plan the lessons better. Using the ABCD certainly helps, I just need to learn it to make use of it.


    1. Thank you, Sinikka. You are right - I am lucky to work with the people who want to be there. Though it has its drawbacks, that is exactly why I chose to work in a language school 22 years ago.

  3. Hi Natasa,

    I Love the way you adorn your blog and there is only one sentence for you: "Natasa is a truly creative Blog Queen."


  4. Imas, thank you for a wonderful compliment. It has brought a wide smile to my face...