|My tomatoes were dancing on camera to help teach articles and prepositions.|
My poor students probably had their most boring class yet on Tuesday. At least in other classes there was time and opportunity for interesting interactions that related to storytelling. Today, the most open time was while asking them to guess which preposition they thought matched a situation. And why.
Last night at midnight, the deadline for the second story draft passed. Students are now expected to do some peer reviews by next week's class. This means trying to proofread those awkward things like prepositions and articles, as well as suggesting areas that need revised.
While I'm teaching creative writing, I also have to remember that I'm teaching English as a second language, as well. It's easy to get distracted by the content aspect of the class and dismiss the difficulties my students have with the basics of the language. After all, that is somewhat the point of the class: learn through practising in contexts that are real.
Even those born in English speaking countries have problems with basic English grammar. It just so happens that those are the first things my students learn and it sticks with them so well that they don't make the common mistakes you might see online.
Their or there? Obvious to my students. We're, were, where? Simple. Affect or effect? No problem.
A/an, the or nothing? Ahhhh!
In, on, at, by, for, to? Help!!!
The biggest area of grading isn't in these minor points. Showing they understand skills of using language in creative ways is how my students earn their grade. So, for these short stories, or their midterm on Thursday, while they might lose a small fraction if their writing lacks clarity, they'll still pass with a great grade when they consider POV, tense, genre, philosophy and how to bring that all together using language that engages and evokes the reader.
My goal is to push them to think differently, mostly in creative ways, but also to assist them in becoming more fluent as they strive to share ideas with their readers in a clear and enjoyable way. We need the basics of language in order to do that. Let's just hope they had a little fun practising it with the help of my cuddly friends.