The eighth day of the CELTA course was about lexical approach and Chia was the tutor.
I must note that she did not present to class anything regarding the issue; instead she had us discover the points that matter about the topic of the day. She first divided the class into two groups and handed out two sheets of paper of different colours. After each group read the information on the sheets and made notes about them, she had those with the blue sheets stand in a circle in the centre of the classroom facing outwards. Then, she had those with the yellow sheets stand around the circle facing one person who has already read the information on the blue sheets. Next, she instructed those in the inner circle tell those in the outer circle about what they had read. Those in the outer circle were free to ask for clarification on the points they wished.
In the second stage of the activity, those in the outer circle were required to move clockwise by two persons and re-tell the person they would face what they had just heard from their former partners. Those listening to their own information were free to point out the parts less understood and give clarification if they wanted.
In the third stage, Chia asked those who had made notes about the yellow sheets to grab a chair and those others to sit in another chair in front of those with information from the yellow sheets. This done, the yellow group shared what they had read about with the blue group leaning over and speaking directly into their ears. Afterwards, both blue and yellow group people turned to each other and the blues re-told the yellows what they had just listened to from them.
By the end of the activity, everyone had an idea about the lexical approach and Chia had not taught the class anything. She had only been the organizer and facilitator. She had not been on the spot for even a moment. This, in addition to acknowledging us about the lexical approach, was a perfect model for information gap type activities. It was so useful that we could all answer questions about the topic without problems because we had learned it in co-operation with each other. We were quiet active throughout the activity and there was never a time to get bored of what we had been doing. Also, we knew we were responsible for our partners’ learning, so we were extra-careful with what we did.
Chia, after everything was done, summarized the main points of lexical approach one more time and told us to always remember that people could learn much better in chunks and collocations because they would find it more meaningful. There was also a talk about the importance of contextualization and knowing how to create contexts according to the level and interest of students. Lastly, the session was ended with a vocabulary game that required us to add words into the categories given by Chia, and everyone loved that.