ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Global Issues — Week 4 — Financial Crisis

October 20th, 2008 by Dave · 5 Comments

Materials used:

On Tuesday, we did the first reading circle. I was pleased to see that it went well. I had done this with a global issues class I taught in Hawaii, but at that school reading circles were a common part of the curriculum. Here, none of my students had done them before. Still, they did a great job preparing their articles and had active discussions. I was a little worried about this because, in whole-class activities, there are a few people who tend to dominate. Fortunately, things seemed very balanced in the groups, with quiet students becoming more talkative.

After they did the reading circles, I handed out the peer evaluation sheet. I don’t know if I’ll bother doing this in the future, as the feedback has been extremely positive and thus not particularly useful, but I wanted to give it a try. Plus, I like letting students know that I want their opinions.

For the remainder of Tuesday’s class, I briefly introduced the final project. I didn’t give them any handouts, but I wanted to get them started thinking about possible issues and actions. For their project, I’m going to have them choose an issue, do some research, and then take an action related to the issue. Their project (in the form of either a paper or a presentation) will be to share what they learned about the issue, and their experience with their action. I will introduce it more formally next week.

On Thursday, my mentee taught her first class of the term. For a topic, she chose the global economic crisis. She did a great job. Last week, she had asked students if they were interested in learning about the financial crisis and, to my surprise, they were. I didn’t think that an ESL activity about the financial crisis would go over well.

She started by splitting the students into pairs and giving them one event from a timeline. They were asked to summarize the event in their own words, and then place it on the timeline that was drawn on the board. Students were then asked to take turns explaining their part of the timeline, while the teacher answered questions and helped with vocabulary.

She next gave students a handout which included some vocabulary words and discussion questions. She went through the vocabulary words, then had students watch a video clip explaining how the crisis happened. They watched it twice. After, the students discussed one of the questions from the handout in a small group. Each group then shared a brief summary of their discussion with the class.

The last thing she did was lead a short class discussion about the nature of sources, explaining the difference between subjective and objective and discussing their relative advantages and disadvantages. She also gave the students some readings offering additional information.

Watching someone else teach my class was a very interesting experience. First of all, I was able to see my students from a different perspective. One thing I realized is that I need to be firmer with them. With adults, I tend to shy away from telling them what they must do, preferring instead to frame things as suggestions. For example, instead of telling students to be quiet, I usually just start talking and wait a few moments for them to realize on their own. Part of my job as a teacher, though, is to be more authoritative, pushing students to do things that are good for their language acquisition, even when they may not want to do them.

I also appreciate the opportunity to see someone who has a different approach than I do. For example, I would never have done the timeline activity at the top of the class. I almost never do activities where students get up and move around. Seeing that it can work, and how it adds variety to a lesson, I hope I can start using this type of idea in the future.

Tags: blog · ESL activity · financial crisis (2008) · global issues activities · Global Issues class · lesson plans · poverty & wealth

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jon // Mar 21, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you so much for this great website. I am new to ESL teaching in China and stumbled upon your podcast. This financial crisis activity looks like it would be interesting to my students! However, all of the links to the materials are dead, is that going to be fixed?
    Thanks again!

  • 2 Dave // Mar 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Sorry about that! I fixed all the links. If you do end up using the activity, let me know how it goes.

    Good luck!

  • 3 Neoanchorite // Jun 20, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for replying to my post on your other site, Dave (I am assuming this is the same Dave). What I find interesting here is the contrast between your concern for accountability (as evidenced in the use of peer evaluation) and the total lack of accountability that, as MSNBC says, took the economy to the brink of financial collapse. I think that is an issue worth making more of and it gets right to the heart (if there were one) of the laissez faire non-system.

  • 4 Maria Zabala peña // Apr 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Hello Dave
    Thanks for sharing your materials.

    I will probably use your material next year. I think it will be too difficult for my current students . The meltdonw is not included in the curriculum of those who could benefit from this task. I see if I manage to include a ” current affairs section” next year.

    I have copied and pasted your web on my copies so that I remember to give you my feedback

  • 5 Dave // Apr 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Hi Maria,

    That’s great. I’ll be interested to see how your experience with these materials goes. Thanks for stopping by!

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