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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life of a TEFL Conversation Teacher | Cake Boss

So luckily my job in Italy is not to teach students the basics of English Grammar but to stimulate conversations in English. This is a difficult task because students only want to share their opinions when they are interested in the topic. If they are not interested you will hear Crickets. 

So I have been in Italy for a little over a month. I have done lessons to get to know the students, assess their english, spoken about Philadelphia and Colloquial English/Slang. These lessons were very interesting and did get the students involved but I was having trouble creating conversation and getting them to ask questions.

This past week I started a new lesson on Cake Boss or Il Boss Delle Torte, as renamed on Italian TV. The students were excited about this lesson and were speaking a ton in class when I initially introduced it. The structure of the lesson was like this:

Have the students tell me about the Show... (2m)
Watch a short clip (3m) - Lexy's Cake for her Birthday. California Beaches/New York cake falls and Buddy and team problem solve.

Discuss Clip: (5m)

Who was the client? 
What kind of cake did they want? Description, Flavor (Gusto)?
Who are the characters in this clip?

Speak to them about the scenerios. Explain a little. Then Ask questions about the types of vocabulary they might need.  (write these on the board) (10m)
What types of questions does Buddy need to ask to get a good idea of the cake he should make?
What details do the Clients need to give Buddy for the perfect cake?
Some flavors of cake?
Some types of Fruit?
Ingrediants to make a cake?
Break students up into groups and give out scenarios to different groups (2m)
Group Work (20m) 
Break students into groups of 4-5
Hand out Scenarios and explain them to the students. Give them a length to follow and let them know they can either write a paragraph or a dialogue but it should be at least 6-8 sentences long.
  • Buddy sits with you (new Client) while you explain the perfect birthday cake for your Sweet Sixteen. 
  • Maurizio and you are delivering a cake but he slips on a banana peel and the cake crashes to the ground. What do you do?
  • Buddy sits with difficult Client who is not sure about what kind of cake he whats.  What would you do to get a good idea of the Client’s perfect cake?
  • Your getting Married next week! You need to give Buddy a very clear idea of the perfect cake for your ________________ themed wedding!
  • A Client comes into the bakery to see their cake. You forgot to finish it! What do you do?
  • It is your Mother’s 50th Birthday. She loves animals and _______________. Describe the perfect cake for her to Buddy.
  • Your best friend is moving to Vegas, Nevada to persue his dream of being a Professional Poker Player. Describe the perfect cake for his going away party.
Presentations (20m) 
Leave at least 20 minutes are the end of class for presentations. For some of the groups you have to ask questions at the end or ask the other students what they would have done with the scenario. 
So I would call this my first successful lesson because I had most students engaged and speaking in English. They all described their scenarios and gave thought out solutions or described the perfect cake for their situation. After a few of the presentations, others students asked questions or gave feed back. I love this show and cake so perfect match. 

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