Language Learning and Teaching with the aid of Technology

Diary of a Second Life English Teacher … Part 4

Today's the day my students do their guided role plays for their second assessment on the course. This post is about what I have to do to get ready for it. I'll do another one tomorrow to tell you how it worked out in practice.

What I'm trying to do today is to test their abilities to use English more spontaneously and in a situation where they might have to persuade other people to come round to their point of view. The form of the assessment is 'freely adapted' (as they say) from the old RSA Communicative Competence exam, where I'm going to be a facilitator (or spontaneous communication) as well as being an examiner. In other words, I'm going to have to be a good multi-tasker … it's a shame you can't actually do that!

I've created a set of role play cards (which you can access from the course web site by going to this page:

and clicking on the Assessment 2 link on the left).

The fictitious company involved was created for the sister course to Business Talking, Business Writing, which several of the students are also doing. The set-up is a management meeting to discuss whether to present a new product and a new strategy to the board of a light-engineering company.

What I have to do before 3.00 pm is check through the visual aids I'm going to be using this evening and make sure they're all uploaded to my Textures folder. I have a couple of mails to write as well, since, true to form, things have popped up for various students which are going to make it impossible for them to attend this evening (such as being taken to Estonia on a study trip by the department they're writing their Master's Theses for).

I've already made a podcast about this evening and sent out a couple of class mails which seem to have answered all the preliminary questions. I'm expecting this evening, though, to have to go through the basics of the exercise again.

They're going to be working in groups of four this evening, so I also need to print out the Assessment 2 marksheets and make sure that I can quickly see avatar names and names IRL, so that I can get people into groups quickly at the beginning of the lesson. I want them to spend some time with their role play groups practising strategy, and also some time with other people who're playing the same role to prepare themselves for their roles too. When we get going, I'm going to ask the 'spectators' to follow the person who's playing the same role as themselves and prepare to give that person feedback immediately afterwards.

I'll make another post tomorrow to tell you all how it went …

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