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No net

July 16, 2009

We are now into the video activity which I scheduled for two days and it is stretching into its third day with one more to go.  It definitely takes more time than dividing them into groups, having the students choose a norm violation, perform it on campus, and present the results.  For one thing, I left the organization open.  I did that because I didn’t really know how to organize it since I didn’t know what the students needed to know and how to go about providing it.  As the activity developed, I got the tech people to put MovieMaker on the desktop and made a resource page for the students to use.  I developed a basic handout that I will revise now that I have a better idea of what to do.  We have given over time for the students to develop scripts, shoot the video, and tomorrow edit and present it.  We are a little tight on the edit and present because one student is taking a couple of days off to go to her dentist in Venezuela. 

My preliminary notes on doing it again are develop a handout that identifies the task as comparing a social norm from more than one country with the norm in the U.S.  Since this previously was a norm violation activity, I didn’t have a lot of examples until I had to think of some in class.  I began with a Peace Corps movie called Gaffes.  This is a keeper.  If I do it again, I will discuss more norms like wearing shoes inside the house, greetings, tipping, going through doors, holding doors, treating people older and younger.  I will make the activity more of a comparison activity and ask for thoughts about adjusting.  Second, if I do it again note to myself is to discuss different types of movies they can make. They are supposed to show the movie and discuss making it along with the social norm they are portraying.  I will see how that works.

I feel a little like a tightrope walker working without a net, both excited and terrified.

The positives have been a lot of talk in English about what they are doing and about different norms. 
The negatives are that it takes a lot of time and space.  During summer semester, there are many empty rooms around us, but that won’t be the case during the semester.  Unfortunately, our ESL lab is not a good place for making movies though it might have to suffice. 

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