- When you have completed your lesson, ask yourself these questions.
1. Did the students co-operate with their peers or seem to have much contact outside of class with proficient L2/Foreign Language users?
The students did co-operate with their peers. I think the best way to do this is through the instructions of the teacher. I said ‘talk to four people’, this made them at least talk to more than their partner. I think the next time I will get them in groups but mix the groups up.
My thoughts are on building a community spirit
2. Did the students often ask for clarification, verification, or correction?
All these factors are important for the lesson and I encourage them. I thought the students were using them. There were still some students relying on other students to help. I wrote some Concept Checking Questions (CCQ) for the students to ask. At least, it highlighted factors to address.
3. Do your lesson plans incorporate various ways that students can learn the language you are modelling, practising or presenting, in order to appeal to a variety of learning styles and strategies?
I got the students up in lines, and they had to sort out an order. I had pictures to relate the words. I think I should have done the opposites of some of the words to make the words clearer. Also, I think they could have learnt more, so I could have got them out to write more words on the board, although I did put three pictures on the wall and let the students get up and write their ideas.
4. Does your teaching allow learners to approach the task at hand in a variety of ways? Is your LLS training implicit, explicit, or both?
I think I use a variety of ways for the students to learn. Also, I go around the students when they working and ask them questions and check their work to see how they are tackling the task. This gives them a chance to ask questions.
5. Is your class learner-centered?
At times, I still feel I talk too much although I used a lot of group work. This group is tempered because the students always like to chat.
6. Do you allow students to work on their own and learn from one another?
I encourage students to talk to their partners. I try and focus them on asking their partner questions. I also had it in mind to get them conversing with each other. I have a feeling that at times I should allow the students to do my work and then they ask me questions. For example, in this class, I reviewed some sentences the students had written on the board about three pictures and all the students were quiet. This I thought was valuable time wasted. I think I should have given the pictures to the students and checked their work as they worked in a group.
7. As you circulate in class, are you encouraging questions, or posing ones relevant to the learners with whom you interact?
I think I do this well. It is fascinating because some of the students do not understand the questions you ask. This shows that they still need a lot of one-to-one practice. One lady in this lesson kept saying ‘I do not understand’. I made it a focus of mine to get her to understand. I feel as though some students are not real learners. They come to our school thinking that just following the teacher and speaking a few words makes them a student. So, by circulating in class, and encouraging questions I can install the learning spirit in them. I think also my relevant questions about their learning and showing that we are all in this together, they will benefit from asking questions and learning in this class.
8. Do students seem to have grasped the point?
My first exercise was to get the students to write some sentences about what they feel they want from this class. I think I should have explained it better. They were not sure why we were doing the exercise. Saying this though I feel if I give them the answers they will just copy and give the answers that are the right answers but not what they really feel. Again I can look back at the questions for understanding. If they do not understand they should ask.
9. Did they use the LLS that was modeled in the task they were to perform?
They were hesitant to use the sentences I gave them about understanding. Some were not sure why they had to do it. They do the task but for some reason, they hold back. I think this idea of LLS was new to them. I have 30 hours with the class and I will try to improve their ideas on how they learn.
10. What improvements for future lessons of this type or on this topic might be gleaned from students’ behaviour?
I think I will try to have the students working together more and mixing the groups up also. I need to install some questions for understanding that will always be needed. I will try and keep them thinking that they can ask the teacher when they do not know.
11. What did you do at the start that got them thinking?
For this lesson about general appearance, I first asked questions about their height, and length of hair. I then talked about my general appearance. I did this by using my hands. I also wrote a spider’s web on the board to help with the words.
12. How did the students show they were trying to acquire the knowledge?
I said to them ‘Am I short?’ and the students answered ‘No, you are short.’ This showed to me who was listening. Some students asked me for clarification. This was good because it became more personal. I also said ‘am I young?’ which most people said ‘no’.
13. How did the students show they had learnt the grammar point?
I made them write some sentences on the board about the pictures I had put up. I let them write freely without any checking then once they had finished I checked over the work. I also had them write in the book about themselves and their partner and I went around and checked this.
14. With respect to language acquisition, how can you show this factor has been achieved with your students?
This was the first lesson and I do not think that they could have acquired the grammar. I think for this first lesson it was just to show them the words. I think in the next lesson I will allow them to try and use the words as it is easier to write than speak.
15. What do you wonder about in your teaching and your students’ learning?
I wonder why so many students when they do not understand either forget about it or ask their friends. Their friends may tell them the answer but it is in their native language. This dismisses their chance to listen to a native speaker explain. I wonder why they think they can not ask for clarification.
16. What puzzles you about your students, the content, or the organization of your classroom?
I think the organization of the room is fine but the class is too big. My content needs to be more learner-centered and less talk from the teacher. I need to have exercises that allow the students to be puzzled and ask questions.
17. What aspects of the students’ learning do you want to understand better?
I want to know how much they have learned in the class. I want them to show that they have understood the lesson and like speaking their new language
18. What are some of your teaching situations that you are intrigued by or want to change? Why?
I want to change the way I use the board and teacher talking time. I notice sometimes that I can be talking and the whole class is listening but I could have done this task a bit differently and got the students to do the work.
19. What do you know about your teaching or their learning that you are interested in verifying?
I want to know that my language is not too slow or fast for the level and also am I testing them to their fullest.
Reflection on the Article “Hands-on” or “Head-Trip”….. How do you learn best? by Susan. L. Colantuono
Having read ‘Hands-on’ or “Head-Trip’…. How do you learn best? by Susan. L. Colantuono, this is a review and reflection on this piece of writing that relates to an experience of mine with reference to the SIT TESOL course I am taking. This article refers to the learning and the four steps in the learning process which are devised in order to learn and put your reflected ideas back into practice. From these points, I found that a German class taken by one of my SIT instructors was a good example that alludes to this article.
Today is the first day of my SIT TESOL course. Our class had two German lessons where the first German lesson I felt as though I was not contributing enough. I felt I was lacking intellectual acuity, and I reflected that the lesson was a little flat. It was lacking interest, emotion, and excitement. Now, the responses from some of the other members of the class were that it was amusing and fun. This made me think while reading that the learning experience I had coincides with the article ‘Hands-on’ or “Head-Trip” about people responding differently to learning. I found myself a bit isolated upon hearing some of the other people’s views. Even when reflecting with another one of our SIT instructors who asked for comments, my comment was that ‘I felt like the language learning experience is a long road’. By no fault but my own, this was a negative thought; I mean, not that I was wrong but there were much more positive views to compare against.
Referring to the four learning stages from the article, the second lesson taught by one of our SIT instructors, I felt more involved by writing more words down in my notebook and practicing more with myself as well as my partner. I listened more I suppose with more concentration and I also recognised I used some of the materials from the first lesson. I think I reflected on my experience and wondered about how I could make it different.
The issue here for me is that after reading this article I can take a step back and reflect on my experience and learn. Number one: in the learning process from the article refers to being the ‘concrete experience’ of having the lesson with the instructor. Number two: being the ‘observation + reflection’ that I didn’t get the best out of the lesson I could have and maybe I was not enthusiastic about the learning experience. Number three: the ‘abstract concepts’ being, was it to do with me? What was wrong with my attitude or was it the instructor who did a lot of repetition and did not make the class enjoyable enough for me? Number 4: the ‘concepts in new situations’ was when I heard other people say they enjoyed it, and there were few people who made me think that I should change my attitude. So, now here is where I must have reached what it says in the article a ‘hypothesis’ for my next learning practice, which I think I did in the next lesson.
I think that in any learning situation a learner should try to think positive and get the best they can out of it and maybe this time I was not in the right mood. This reflection is good because I can now approach the next lesson with a better focus, which is better than just blaming it on the teacher or forgetting about it
Giving and Receiving Feedback – It Will Never Be Easy But It Can Be Better By Larry Potter
This is a commendable article for me as I think at times I recognise that it is hard to receive and give feedback. It could be said that most people’s feedback skills could be said to need a little practice. I think this is important because as a teacher you will need feedback from your students to tell you if they enjoyed and comprehended your teaching. Also, the students will want feedback on their learning. Each will need a positive, constructive base.
After reading the article, my first reaction is to think of myself who usually goes on the defensive when given feedback. The defensive, I mean that you are not really listening to the person giving the feedback. Larry Potter alludes to this point; he defines feedback as ‘information that can be heard by the receiver as evidence by the fact that he/she does not go on the defensive’. I agree with Larry Potter that feedback has ‘great value’ but only ‘to us if we can let the feedback in and effectively use the information’. I do like this sort of article because I can identify with points in the article that coincide with myself. An example would be when Larry describes Ineffective feedback as ‘judgmental statements’. I think I can give judgmental statements and upset people. I recently said a teacher was talking too much in class but forgot to look at the students who were okay with his talking. Other people said this is only level 2, the students do not talk much. I felt a bit bad for talking about the teacher. I think maybe I was too opinionated. Also, I think I get feedback a lot but may not use the experience, as I should. Maybe I think they are just making a comment and I don’t really ask them such questions as ‘Why’? ‘What do you think is better?’ I think after reading this article on feedback for future actions I should take time to realize that I could be wrong and that I should take in the information (feedback) that has been given. I think I should ask for clarification and realize that it is not a battle and the comment is to help and I should reply with what I think. Thus hopefully getting a discussion going.
The information that is given in the feedback can be ‘shut out’ as Larry Potter says. We ‘lack the skills to send and receive feedback’. I agree with this point as I had a situation the other day. I thought of a lesson plan and mentioned it to a teacher and basically, I was told that it was wrong because the lesson wasn’t student-centered thus in the lesson plan the teacher would speak more which he or she is not supposed to do. The problem with me was I had thought about this lesson for a long time and had it planned. Now my first reaction when I was told it was wrong was to get a little angry, I felt as though it was an attack against me. Maybe I felt as though I was not good enough, my ideas were not good enough. So I felt a bit sorry for myself. I think the best idea would be to say ‘shall I forget about that lesson plan’, and if she said ‘yes’, say to her ‘what do you think then? I could have asked her why she thought is wrong and what ideas I should think of. I think I should have got to the bottom of my thinking as I might think up another lesson plan like this and have the same trouble again.