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Kevin Leon

TESOL Portfolio
Observation Statement
Throughout my TESOL program I have had the chance to attend numerous observations.
The classes have mainly been a mixture of grammar and listening/speaking, as well as one
reading and writing class. Despite the different teaching styles of the teachers, most of the
lessons shared various similarities. In addition to the small size of the classes, most of the
teachers used Communicative Language Teaching and included activities with pair and group
One of the most commonly used methods used in the classes was CLT, or
Communicative Language Teaching. “The goal is to enable students to communicate in the target
language” (Freeman and Anderson, 2011). All of the activities are done with communicative
intent, and the students are taught that different forms of a word can be used to convey the same
meaning. “Students interact a great deal with one another” (Freeman and Anderson, 2011).This is
another similarity that I noticed throughout the observations. Almost all of the classes included
group activities. This allowed the students to interact with each other and also kept the lessons
lively and active. It also gave the students opportunities to practice their English. All of the
classes had a mix of mainly Asian and Arabic speaking students, which meant that English was
the only way most could communicate with each other. This was made more evident by the
random and constantly changing classroom seating. For many of the lessons, students were in
random seats that led to situations like Saudi students being paired with Korean speakers.

CLT was evident in all of the listening and speaking classes. For example, in my second
observation of Candace Jorgenson’s Listening and Speaking class, the students began the class
by talking with their partners about their week. After about the two minutes, the students would
share what their partner said. A misunderstanding led to the teacher reminding the students about
asking for clarification, one of the most important aspects of successful communication. In my
observation of her Oral Skills development class last year, she had an activity in which a student
would tell a story while another would respond and ask questions. A third student would record
what was said and later share the story to the class. In Karen Lindwall’s Grammar class she talks
about different contexts and meanings that the same simple past and present perfect words can
have. This explanation of different forms words can have is an important part of CLT. Another
pattern I observed was the prevalence of group work and pair work. For Karen’s class the
students would work in pairs to compare their homework and complete worksheets. In both of
Candace’s classes, the students would work together to tell stories and perform listening
activities. Even in my first observation, a Listening/Speaking class with a substitute, the students
spent a large amount of the class working on a role playing activity involving a counselor and a
job seeker.
The hands off approach of CLT appeals to me, as it give the teacher an important role as a
facilitator but put most of the learning on the students. The constant group and pair work allows
the students to interact with each other. In the classes I observed the students did not seem bored,
and most seemed to enjoy being able to talk. Talking with peers from other countries allows the
students to practice their English communication skills, arguably the most valuable tool for an
ESL student. In addition, it also allows for learning to take place even when there is a substitute
teacher. As a result I will use pair and group in work in my future lessons.

Freeman, D.L., & Anderson, M. (2011).Communicative Language Teaching.Techniques and
Principles in Language Teaching.Great Clarendon St., Oxford: Oxford University Press.