It’s early evening on a Friday about 7.30pm and the end of a long week both for me and the poor student who’s ended up scheduling her lessons at a time when the only other person in the school is the receptionist who has to lock up after us.
We’ve been talking about presentations and leadership and the board is covered in useful expressions, reformulations, explanatory diagrams and the odd stick figure cavorting across the board an attempt to convey meaning. And now, having moved on to the next bit, I need some more board space so I ask “Is it OK if I clean the board?”. “Uh, can I write it down first?” she asks. Part of me thinks – well that’ll take us to the end of the lesson quite neatly. And the other part thinks – but then we won’t get to finish up this bit of the task. I think for a moment. “Have you got your mobile with you?” I ask. “Does it have a camera?” and we experiment with open and closed shutters, lights on and off, but we get a nice clear readable shot of the white board in about a minute and on we go.
Next lesson, the learner brings her notebook and pen, uses them intermittently, but clearly prefers to continue the discussion, using the board as support and occasionally taking a photo to record board work for later review. I become much more aware of the haphazard approach to boardwork that I’m currently using. After one photo and board cleaning, I divide the board up into clear sections.
“What do you do with the pictures?” I want to know. “I bluetooth them to my computer and then make a neat version in my notebook.” She replies. I wonder if this is what is truly meant by blended learning….
Next lesson we work on supra-segmental stress features in a presentation delivery. Out comes my phone this time and I record her delivering the introduction to her presentation. We examine stress and pause in connected speech and rhetorical pauses. We record a second attempt and play it back. She doesn’t like it, so we go for a third attempt. We listen to the first and last attempts and she sees where and how she’s improved. We bluetooth the mp3 files from my phone to hers so she can take them away and listen to them later. Homework is to work out the next bit of the presentation and record a version for review next class.