This will be a familiar refrain to anyone who’s ever worked at a summer school*, and is coming back to haunt me now that I’m working (semi-)permanently at a private language school in the UK. I’m currently teaching an Elementary level group 20 hours a week, with various of the students having been in the same class for the last 2+ months and getting very impatient about going up a level.
The first thing I always do with this phrase is teach the students that the correct word is in fact “FinishED”, and if they ask we talk about the fact that it’s short for “I have finished.” At least that hurts my ears less 😉
The next thing to do is work out how to deal with this situation. My ultimate aim is to train the students out of saying “Finished” at the end of every task, particularly at the end of a speaking task (how can you ever be ‘finished’ with a speaking task?) These are not students who are particularly shy or quiet in their L1s, and they’re not so short of English that they struggle to find things to say. I’ve been trying to work on question forms a lot over the last couple of weeks, and one of the nine students has got the hang of asking extra questions to continue a conversation, partly because she is the student most desperate to go up a level and she’s trying to prove she’s ready (more on that in a later post), but also because we discussed how she converses in Arabic, including whether she says “Finished” at the end of every conversation in her native language.
For more finite tasks, there is generally a much clearer ‘finish point’, but I find the idea that the students feel the need to tell me they’ve finished when it’s pretty obvious I can see that a little depressing. Don’t know if that’s just me though? When doing the IHCYL about how to teach young learners, there was much discussion about what to do with fast finishers, but most of the time these (adult) students finish within a few seconds of each other so the idea of extra activities (maybe) doesn’t apply. Should I just ignore the ‘finished’s or is there a way to harness this enthusiasm? I often extend the task a little, but find these extensions can sometimes end up doubling or even tripling the length of an activity.
Apologies for the stream of consciousness nature of this post – it’s late and I really needed to get it out of my system! All solutions/thoughts gratefully accepted…
*I don’t know if it was/is just my classes, but I never noticed students doing this in Brno, when I was teaching them for a whole year. Either that, or I complained at them and have now forgotten about it 😉