Monday, July 18, 2005

Another Fine Home Movie in Review

EDSE 501 has provided yet another fine video viewing and self-reflection opportunity. Last Friday, under the evaluating eye of Ms. Cornelius and my five MTC compadres, my Spanish lesson on numbers 11 through 20 was video recorded. This magnificent cinematic feat yielded 40 stellar minutes of footage that includes a review of numbers 1 to 10, an introduction of the new content, and, as the grand finale, a catchy little tune I wrote and affectionately named Canción para Números.

It comes as a reassurance that I am much more satisfied with my performance as a Spanish teacher than I was less than a month ago when I viewed myself as a makeshift English teacher. I know, intrinsically, that I have a lot more fun in front of my class as a Spanish teacher, and it shows extrinsically as well. Getting up in front of a class to teach Spanish is my cue to be goofy, over the top, energetic, loud, absurd, crazy – you name it. I feel that way each day when I stand up to teach, and it comes across as such on video.

Watching myself on the video from EDSE 501, compared to the video from EDSE 502, proves what a difference subject matter and content knowledge can make in a teacher’s overall effectiveness. I’m also sure the influence of the many nutty Spanish instructors I’ve encountered in recent years has made a huge impact of my conception of a Spanish teacher. And of course, since I am teaching an introductory course, the content lends itself to be taught in a highly interactive, kinesthetic manner. We play games, toss balls, sing songs – my goal is to keep the energy level, and thus the engagement level, high the entire period.

My main criticism of my video taped lesson last semester was my lack of movement around and in front of the class. In this most recent video, and basically each day I’ve taught Spanish, I bounce around the room, which I find happens naturally. One reason is that I have to pantomime and act most things out with hand motions and pointing. Since I am trying to foster an emersion technique in the classroom explanation through movement is often essential and necessary.

My demeanor in general this time around was also much more appealing to me. I seemed to like what I was doing, to be enjoying myself, but I didn’t put up with any behavioral issues from the “students.”

Additionally, Spanish proves challenging for me each day not only as content matter that I must effectively communicate to students, but also as a second language that challenges my own realm of linguistic comfort. I’m catching myself, both in and out of the classroom, thinking and wanting to speak in Spanish more frequently, wanting to let Profesora DeGraaf break out now and then outside of the classroom too.

Basically, I’m extremely excited to be a Spanish teacher. I’m having a great time with it and I can see others – the students in my class right now – enjoying and learning too. I think I’m ready to jump into my role at Wingfield High School.


Anonymous Laurel said...

What's also interesting is that motion is tied to memory-- not only is it beneficial to have the teacher in motion (for the obvious advantage that it keeps students awake/alert), the students' own motions can be used as a learning tool as well. There is a psych study which found that subjects told to make hand motions compatible with items on a list could categorize those items faster and remember them better... Also I think I read somewhere that people who gesture a lot while talking have better recall...

10:55 PM


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