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1st Report / Alejandra de Antoni / Classroom Observation Methods2 2009

1st Report / Alejandra de Antoni / Classroom Observation Methods2 2009

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Published by María de Antoni
This is a report of a 40-minute lesson I observed at a secondary school in Argentina. It was a class of 12 and 13 year-olds. They are learning English as a Foreign Language and their level is somewhere between elementary and pre-intermediate.
The analysis carried out in this lesson is global since it's not focused on particular details but on the lesson as a whole (there is, for instance, an overall analysis of behaviour, attittude and talking time both from the students' and the teacher's point of view)
This is a report of a 40-minute lesson I observed at a secondary school in Argentina. It was a class of 12 and 13 year-olds. They are learning English as a Foreign Language and their level is somewhere between elementary and pre-intermediate.
The analysis carried out in this lesson is global since it's not focused on particular details but on the lesson as a whole (there is, for instance, an overall analysis of behaviour, attittude and talking time both from the students' and the teacher's point of view)

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Published by: María de Antoni on May 27, 2009
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Classroom Observation: Report 1 Teacher Observed: GObserver: Alejandra de AntoniDate: May 19
th
2009
Observation Table taken from “Tasks for Teacher Education” (Pearson Education Limited) 
Class: 1
st
Year Intermediate (C School, Buenos Aires City, Argentina)Number of Learners: about 25Age: 12/13 years oldLength of Lesson: 40 minutesLevel: Elementary+ / Pre-intermediateObserver: Alejandra de Antoni Teacher Observed: GAfter observing a 40-minute lesson, I will answer the questions in Class Observation Table A (see Appendix) in order to analyse the collected data.1.Materials used:
o
Blackboard
o
Coursebook (Energy 2, Pearson Longman) There were also visual aids on the walls. Some were created by the students(posters) and some others were provided by the teacher. However, they were notused since they were not relevant for the current lesson.
2.
Aim of the lesson (what the observer believes was the aim of the lesson):
o
 To carry out a speaking activity (Who’ve done it?) in pairs to practise/revisethe past continuous. If the aim was to practise or revise this tense, it was notachieved because the students didn’t use the tense themselves but they onlylistened to it (they understood the teacher perfectly when she paraphrasedwhat they said using past continuous) or read it (from the coursebook).However, it is also true that, when helped and guided by the teacher, some of them managed to rephrase their sentences using the past continuous.3.Talking Time:
o
 Teacher: 60%
o
Students: 40%Students’ talking was not generally done in English unless the teacher pushed andguided them to do so. (Some of the students, however, tried to use English most of the time
even though it was a really tough job for them)4.Use of English (vs. use of Mother Tongue)
o
 Teacher: 90% English – 10% Spanish
o
Students: 90% Spanish – 10% English5.Learners’ Participation:
o
Most of the students were not very active. They were not carrying out theactivity and were talking about something else. The rest of the class wasdoing the activity but most of them were not using English. We know it’s verydifficult to make such a large course solve an activity without their using theirmother tongue. It’s very difficult to monitor all of them and to make sure thatthey are using English. I think that this is generally the case with informationgap activities in which one of the students has the information and can hand it
1
 
Classroom Observation: Report 1 Teacher Observed: GObserver: Alejandra de AntoniDate: May 19
th
2009over to his partner without using English (showing it, for instance). However,there are activities, such as opinion gap or reason gap activities, in whichwhat they have to provide is not given by the activity and therefore they areforced to interact to find a solution to the problem. In this way, we can becertain that they will have to interact and, therefore, use the language insome way because they know they have to give their answers in English.However, these activities have a very important drawback: we cannot controlor restrict their answers and, therefore, cannot be sure that they will use thelanguage form we want them to practise. Consequently, we need to resort tothese three types of activities and to be ready to face the risks that usingeach of them imply. The learners were always called upon by their first names. It is compulsory forus to talk to them as people with whom we can have a conversation about anytopic, if we want them to be in a communicative classroom. When we talk toour friends, relatives and acquaintances we always use their names and,therefore, we do the same with our students.As regards volunteering, only a few of them would raise their hands asking foranswering questions or speaking. It’s not something surprising at all. Itgenerally happens that some students feel more at ease to speak in front of the class and they are generally the “risk-takers” because they do not caremuch about making a mistake in front of the rest.6.General Behaviour and Attitude of the Learners:
o
In general and especially at the beginning, they were very restless. Theyshowed, through their body language and face expressions, that they did notwant to carry out any activity. However, as the lesson went by, some studentsreally got involved in the search for the criminal and participated actively as awhole class to try to get to a conclusion.7.Asserts and Mistakes: how were they handled?
o
Asserts:when students did something right, instead of praising them in thenormalway, what the teacher did was showing that she was perfectlyfollowing what they were saying (just like we do in conversations). I think thatthis is a great way of showing the students that they are using English not tobe tested but to engage in a natural conversation with the rest and with theteacher about a certain topic (in this case, finding the criminal).For example: Teacher: Congratulations! Some of you can be very good detectives! (Shenever talked about language or forms!
)
o
Mistakes: the teacher handled them using guiding correction. Instead of saying “no” or “it’s wrong” the teacher would rephrase what the student saidusing the proper form or she would ask them guiding questions for them toget at the proper form on their own. For example:Student: “some persons was…” Teacher: “How many
 people
?Student: “four people was…” Teacher: “four people…”Student: “were!!!”8.Sketch of the classroom:  There were three rows of students facing the blackboard. In each row, there wereabout seven lines of two students.
2
 
Classroom Observation: Report 1 Teacher Observed: GObserver: Alejandra de AntoniDate: May 19
th
2009On the walls, there were some posters made by the students. For example, onecalled “Labour Day.” There were some others provided by the teacher, for example,the Phonetics Symbols one.Most of the time the teacher is walking from one place to another so as to be able totalk to and monitor different students. She was not sitting at her desk!
 
9.Language activities carried out throughout the lesson:
o
 There was just one activity (a pair work): students were asked to carry out anactivity from the book in which they had to find out where were the differentcharacters at the time of the crime so as to see who the criminal was.
 
 Teacher’s Desk
S – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – SS – S
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