Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Notetaking for ESL Conversation Classes

During conversation classes with my ESL students, I takes notes on our conversation. I let students know that during our ESL conversation classes, I'll be taking note of the errors they make in word choice, pronunciation, tense usage, etc. I also make notes about things said correctly, but that can be said in a more native English sounding way. I ask my students to ignore my note-taking and most of them are good about that.

After about 10 to 15 minutes of conversation, I stop the flow of the conversation to review the notes I've made with my ESL student. I find that this period of time usually works well because it allows there to be a flow to the conversation and encourages the student to practice/speak without interruption. There's usually a good stopping point at this time interval. And finally, it allows me to not forget what I wanted to suggest (in case my notes aren't clear to me!).

Students usually take their own notes on the corrections and they often remember something else that they've heard that the want to ask about. I used to put my notes in the recycling bin until a few of my students started asking me for my notes. I gladly give my notes to them. And now I've started giving my notes to students who don't ask. They always seem appreciative. And I'm fantasizing that they diligently study my notes at home!

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