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la Enseñanza del Inglés en el Nivel Medio
Class Observation # 1
Class: 1st year A – Level: Intermediate Nº of learners: 29 Age of learners: 13 years old Length of lesson: 40 min. Level: Pre-Intermediate Observer: Rodrigo Rouco Teacher observed: G
1) Materials and equipment used: Textbook: ‘Energy 2’, Pearson Longman (selection) – pp. 52, 53 / Unit 5 – Rules & advice. CD (from ‘Energy 2’) CD player Blackboard
2) Aim of the lesson: I think the aim of the lesson was to introduce students to the grammatical and functional points of the new unit: imperative sentences and giving commands (this included exposure and the teaching point). It was also intended to give students some recognition practice of affirmative and negative sentences. However, half of these aims were achieved. The students carried out the exposure part only: listening to a dialogue (from where the teacher would later elicit examples of imperatives) and answering questions about it. I believe that the main reason why not all the aims were achieved was that, being a large group, it took long to get most to work at the same pace. In my opinion – and it has happened to me – the larger the groups, the longer the activities will take. Although the teacher encouraged learners’ participation at all times, it was difficult to get everyone to follow at the same time: at times, some students were not paying attention and talked among themselves. In addition, in order to maximise the students’ opportunities for participation, the teacher responded to every student’s contribution. For example, the clarification of the term ‘bully’ involved the class in a lively discussion, and the teacher capitalised on that. So, relatively short tasks (such as pre-listening, pre-teaching of vocabulary) took longer than expected. 3) Teacher / Student talking time (roughly): Teacher: 70 % Students: 30 % Most of the time, the teacher ‘held the floor’. This was expected, I believe, because the lesson involved mostly exposure and the presentation of a new topic. However,
the teacher managed to exploit every opportunity to allow students express themselves. Throughout the listening activity and the reading of the dialogue, she continuously elicited answers from students, who were eager to contribute. When they answered in their mother tongue, the teacher either filled their gaps or encouraged to use English. 4) English & Mother tongue talking time (roughly): The teacher used English for most of the time – around over 90 %. The students used English when the teacher elicited answers during the warm-up, the prelistening, and when answering the reading comprehension questions (80 % of their talking time). 5) Learners’ participation: Most of the learners participated actively during the lesson. In the warm-up moment, when the teacher asked about their last weekend activities, several answered spontaneously and others reacted to that – though the latter’s reactions were in Spanish mostly. During the pre-listnening, the teacher drew on students’ prior knowledge to elicit and pre-teach some vocabulary. Most of the class participated, answering in English mainly. While chwcking the comprehension questions, when the teacher wanted to clarify some things (meaning of windowdresser, on what side of the road people drive in Argentina and in Britain), students attempted several answers, some of which were quite original! The teacher called upon the students who answered her questions spontaneously: she addressed them by their names, and also by pointing and approaching them. During the checking of questions, sometimes she called on their names individually, and sometimes to whoever was willing to answer. All in all, well over half of the class was ready to volunteer answers. However, several scattered students did not contribute much – either because they were the most restless, or quite silent. 6) General behaviour and atmosphere: By and large, learners’ general behaviour was positive and very good: the majority of the class participated actively, and were ready to contribute to the work done. Although chatty at times, this did not prevent them from following the tasks. However, a few students were rather disruptive at times. The teacher would call upon them and they would slowly resume their work. In general, the class was lively and well-behaved. Though often rather chatty to do some work which needed silence, they did perform the tasks willingly. 7) Teacher’s praise and errors: Most of the lesson involved a listening and reading task, which is perhaps why students did not make many mistakes regarding the language system. Basically, the teacher had to help them in the comprehension of the text. During the pre-listening task, the teacher acknowledged all contributions without explicitly correcting, but guiding students to give some expected answers. Something I particularly liked was the way the teacher was able to ask a lot of questions to guide students to get
through the text and to make sense of it and the task. She elicited the vocabulary by relating the words with the picture. When students weren’t sure, or their answers were not the expected ones, she would give them some options for them to decide (which got most learners eager to answer), and then she would clarify. 8) Sketch of the classroom: The class was organised as follows: The teacher’s desk was at the front, in the left corner. The students’ desks were arranged in three rows of about seven desks each. In general, there were two students per desk. The CD player was located at the front of the class, on a desk in the right corner, near the door. On the walls, there were some posters. Some had been designed by the students. Others had been taken from magazines.
Teacher’s Desk S – S
S–S S–S S–S S–S S–S S–S
S–S S–S S–S S–S S–S S–S
S–S S–S S–S S–S S–S
a) Listening to a dialogue from the book (Global Comprehension Task): Students first read two global comprehension questions. Once they knew what they had to listened for, the teacher played the CD. Finally, the class together answered the two questions. b) Reading the dialogue (Specific Comprehension Task): Teacher asked students to read more specific questions. She asked them to read the dialogue while she played the CD for the second time. When they heard the answer, students had to shout ‘Stop!’. The teacher would stop the CD and the students would give the answer.