An IIC Dilemma | Andy Boon | April 14th, 2001
I decided to focus on a private student class for my IIC assignment. It is a very unusual lesson in which the student initiates the topic of the lesson from something he has read or done that week. This provides the basis of a free communicative lesson which is very different to other lessons I teach. I was thinking of tying in the lesson to the Seedhouse article about genuine communication in the classroom. HOWEVER, I recorded one class today after gaining my student's permission and then after the lesson he told me of his discomfort in class because of the tape recorder. It had added pressure to his usual fluent style of speaking. Obviously I cannot continue to record the class but it also means my focus is out of the window. Any ideas??
Recording students | Jonathan Clifton | April 14th, 2001
Reply to Andy:
I can see the problem. The only similar experience I had was when I was trying out a kind of community language technique where I recorded parts of the lesson and then used this to reformulate the student's English. The student said it was distracting talking into a tape recorder. So that was the end of that. Here I think the problem was that I asked him to talk directly into the microphone.
As regards recording for Aston, I usually only record students when I feel comfortable that we have established a good rapport and it won't cause a problem. Also I usually have a small cassette recorder out on the table to use with class cassettes, the recorder is a feature of the classroom so I think slipping a cassette in passes as less of an event because as I said the recorder is always on the table.
The tape recorder is thus fairly discrete and the student doesn't speak directly into it and I think that after a while they forget that it is there- I certainly forget its presence.
Also I tend to record a series of lessons- often rejecting the first recording and the really focusing on later recordings. This way the student gets used to the recorder and it becomes the norm rather than an exception. Thus reducing the observer's paradox.
Hope this helps.
Re: Recording Students | Francesca Michalski | April 15th, 2001
Like Jonathon, I also record classes using the regular class cassette recorder, I tell students they are being recorded but they soon forget because the recorder is not a new feature in the classroom.
Re: Recording Students | Raymond Sheehan | April 20th, 2001
Picking up on an earlier thread about reducing learners' consciousness of recording devices in the classroom... I've dug out my ancient dictaphone (amazingly, they're still making the mircocassettes that go with it). In one rather extrovert class, they used it like the conch in Lord of the Flies. Whoever held it had the right to speak and be listened to. It's also much more useful than my usual gigantic Coomber when monitoring pairwork; just dropped down casually on the side of the table. Don't know how much of an impact it would have on a 1-1 situation. I suppose if the learner is made to feel that the primary purpose of the recording device is to help him progress ... and that what is recorded will be used to give him feedback on pronunciation, gambits, vocabulary? Then we as CPs can go off and use the tapes for a totally different purpose with a clear conscience.
I stopped using a dictaphone for recording myself a long time ago; found scribbling furiously a lot more productive. However, if someone invents a dictaphone that looks just like the latest coolest mobile phone, I'll have fewer inhibitions strutting along the street and posing in cafes muttering about lexis and discourse.