students' attention

What Makes a Good Language Lesson?

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Notes on a Lecture by Professor Jack C Richards

Reflection on an Article

(590 words)

My initial reaction to this article was to think I had heard this before and read it also in a book. I think the issue is though, as a teacher if you miss some points in your lesson then all that reading /listening was not worth the effort. I think that Professor Richard raises some valid points that I hope by talking about them raises my awareness that bit more.

I have to agree with Professor Richards, this is a focus of mine as well, and that is the ‘focus on the learners’ in the classroom and their acquisition of a new language.  I know in a class of twenty students there will be students that are more extroverted and introverted. I think it is right, bearing the students’ learning in mind, that the teacher must ‘allow the learner’s perspective to be their constant focus of attention’. I think for a teacher, it can be easy to teach a lesson but if you have not made sure that the students have learned all that you gave them it is not of any value. I think by involving all the class you can get a better perspective where you can improve yourself and help all students more in the class. Professor Richard alludes to this by saying: ‘teachers need to change students seating positions on regular basis and teach lesson from different location’. I have heard the word ‘comfort zone’, and I think this is what it means by getting the students to realize the reason for coming to an English language class. It is true that the students do like to sit with their friends and sometimes make the class a social experience, not a learning experience.

Another fact I think is valuable and that is the ‘goals of the lesson’. This goes along with the clearly written lesson plan. If there are clear objectives and the teacher makes sure the students are achieving them the teacher will have the students’ attention. Professor Richards says for successful lessons, ‘goals and activities are clear and students are occupied for a large portion of the lesson’. I think by doing this, the lesson will give the students as Professor Richards says, ‘a sense that they are actually capable of learning to speak English’. This means that activities given to the students are achievable. Also, I think the end result is as much value as the during/middle part. The result is what the students leave the classroom with. The teacher hopes and I think every teacher should strive for is that the students should, ‘be able to do something in English that they couldn’t do as well before’. This means the teacher’s lesson must be something that the students can, ‘retain and use and which is lasting value’. I think this is one of the main issues for a teacher which is to be able to successfully finish a lesson where all the students have learned something and achieved. This is an issue that affects me, as I like to focus on challenging the students.

I like this article because it is another way of reinforcing what the teacher knows but sometimes forget. I would have liked to have listened to the whole lecture though and not just these summaries.