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Reflective Assignment

Stage 2
By Adele Rocheforte-Anness

Contents
1.
Background……………………………………………………………………….
.Page 2

2.Reflect and comment on beliefs and practices as a


teacher…Page 2

3.Identify and comment on your strengths and


weaknesses….Page 3

4.Action
Plan…………………………………………………………………………
Page 3

5.Description of Data Collection


Methods……………………………..Page 4

6.Word Count and


Bibliography…………………………………………….Page 4

7.Appendices……………………………………………………………
…………..Page 5,6,7,8
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1.Background to Stage 2

I mostly teach Cambridge exam courses at high schools in Rome.

My two week Orientation Course was at the British Council in Valencia


where we had an A2 level class of professional adults.

The aim of my lesson was to use reported speech for message giving
and complaining.

2. Reflect and comment on your beliefs as a teacher


• I believe language acquisition occurs best when the context is of
interest to the student .Take a group of teenagers using should
to give advice on fashion or boyfriend problems ,they will engage
in the activity because the subject is relevant to them, whereas if
the context was investing in the stock exchange, participation
would be minimal, with little use of the target language.

• I like to do a number of small progress tests throughout the


course because this gives:

a) the student an idea of her progress

b) me an indication of the effectiveness of past lessons

c) a reason for students to revise

• I believe in the importance of a friendly relaxed atmosphere to

a) facilitate student interaction

b) promote co-operation between students and teacher

c) enjoy our lesson and each other’s company

• I believe that motivation is a key factor in determining a student’s


progress. Providing clear obtainable goals , results in the student
wanting and being encouraged to succeed. I notice with my exam
classes that as the date approaches, they work harder on all four
skills, ask more questions and pay more attention to the lesson
,because they want to pass.

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3.Identify and comment on your strengths and
weaknesses
As noted by my orientation course tutor I have a learner friendly class
room manner and often use humor to put the students at ease. This
encourages participation in the lesson, which in turn leads to greater
language acquisition. This is also how I enjoy learning.

I am attentive to the students needs, in that I am flexible enough to


adapt my lesson plan depending on their involvement and reaction. This
is greatly appreciated by my students especially as my classes follow a
six hour day at school. I understand teenagers have short attention spans
and the capacity to adapt.

Due largely to my flexibility in the lesson the overall content can


sometimes be erratically presented, as seen by my use of the board and
the order in which practice activities are done. This can disorientate
some students who then become bored .The opposite of my intention.

My lessons are mainly teacher led , as I feel that this is my role to play
.This results in my students expecting me to direct the lesson and they
can become passive instead of proactive.

My knowledge of the subject matter at times is only sufficient to deal


with the grammar exercises we do in class and I am not confident in
presenting language in forms other than what is shown in the text book.
The effect on my students is that they are not exposed to a wider
presentation of language, which subsequently could limit their
understanding and production.

4. Action Plan
In order to present a lesson which has a logical plan, I intend to include a
flexi stage to allow for anything that may arise from the lesson to be
addressed. By doing this I will not lose the overall cohesion of the lesson
and prevent going off on a tangent whilst responding to any student
questions or need for clarification that may arise. I am going to have a
section of the board for any new vocabulary, this will remain for the
lesson. I will ask a colleague to look at my use of the board during my
next lesson.
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In order to change my lessons from being teacher led to that of being
student centered ,I intend to use the Task Based Learning(TBL)
approach, which I examined in my Experimental Practice Assignment
(EP), regularly in class. In my F.C.E. exam class’s next lesson I plan to use
a recording of native speakers completing the speaking tasks ,I will also
record the students doing the same task, students will compare the two
versions. I will also tape my next lesson to establish how much teacher
talking, as opposed to student talking, there is. For the same class in the
following lesson I intend to have the students collaborate to write a
transactional letter to their school asking for information on the courses
offered.

In order to increase my knowledge of the subject matter I have started


the Delta course. Having finished my EP on TBL has already resulted in
an increased awareness of how important learner centered activities are
to stimulating interest. I intend to systematically read widely, starting
with the subject of phonology and have ordered Roach. P., English
Phonetics. I then plan to use my knowledge to incorporate the use of
phonetics in my lesson plan.

5.Data Collection Methods


“Some of the most beneficial aspects about teacher action research are
that it is small scale, contextualized, localized and aimed at discovering,
developing or monitoring changes to practice.”(Wallace,M.2000)

With this in mind I have started a lesson diary (field notes) where I note
the positive and negative aspects of my lessons. This will show me if the
same problems are occurring repeatedly ,also what activities the class
enjoy.

I have designed a board work monitor sheet for my colleague to use


when observing me, this will provide specific features of my board work
to be focused on.(Appendix 1.)

I will be using the Writing a Development Log template from the


Professional Development Assignment File. Not only is this an account of
what I have done besides teaching to develop as a teacher but it also
helps me to focus on why I did a particular activity ,if it was beneficial
and how I can apply what I have learnt.

I will be recording my next F.C.E. lesson to check on how much time I


spend talking to the class.

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I have designed a questionnaire for my F.C.E. students on their TBL
lesson to understand if they have enjoyed and learnt from it. (Appendix
2.)

6.Bibliography and word count


Wallace, M.(2000)Action Research for Language Teachers CUP

Professional Development Assignment File from the Delta Course 2010

Word count 999

7.Appendices
1.Board work monitoring-please circle your answer
1) Can you read my writing? all the time / some of the time / not
well

2) Was it necessary to write on the board? Yes all the time / some of the
time

3) Was the board orderly ? Yes all the time / some of the time

4) Did students copy what was on the board? Yes all the time /some of
the time

5) How much time did I spend writing on the board? 5%10% 30% 50%

2.F.C.E lesson Questionnaire Answer from 1—5 where 1


is the lowest
1. Did you enjoy the lesson?
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2. Would you like to use native speaker tapes again for
exam practice?
3. Did this lesson help you to speak English?
4. Did you feel more confident speaking after the
lesson?
5. Have your listening skills improved?
6. Did you speak more naturally after the lesson?

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7.

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Reflective Assignment Stage 3
10
Adele Rocheforte-Anness

Contents

1)Identification of key developments in my teaching


since Stage……..10

2)Identification and comment on my most significant


weaknesses……10

3)Action-
Plan………………………………………………………………………………
……..11

4)Description of Data Collection


Methods…………………………………………11,12

5)Bibliography and Word


Count……………………………………………………….12

6)Appendices…………………………………………………………
………………………13,14

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1)Identification of key developments in my teaching
since Stage 2
My beliefs as a teacher stated in Stage 2 that motivation ,a friendly
relaxed atmosphere, small progress tests and an interesting context are
important factors for language acquisition have not changed. An
interview of my F.C.E class as part of my Extended Assignment showed
all my seven students strongly supported my reasoning. (Appendix 1)

My teaching has changed due to:

• A colleagues observations, my board work is much more


controlled ,I write only what is needed and it is written clearly in a
logical sequence, I plan it beforehand .

• Taping my lessons my teacher talking time(TTT) has decreased


as I am much more aware of what I am doing in the classroom.

• Keeping a lesson diary which shows repeatedly that the


students have shown enthusiasm and are motivated to participate
but also that the flexibility of my lessons often results in not all of
my objectives being met .

• Becoming a Cambridge writing examiner has helped me


evaluate the students written exam practice more accurately and
faster.

• Being aware that my lessons are often teacher led , I can now
see how to determine the outcome by the choice of materials as
shown in my last observed lesson LSA2 where the ordered
presentation of exercises resulted in the students completing the
task with minimal teacher intervention.

• More collaboration with the class, asking what music ,subject


matter they are interested in.

2)Identification and comment on my most significant


weaknesses

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• Too much (TTT)and teacher led activities are still problems I
need to work on . Keeping these to a minimum in favor of more
student talking time and student led activities would result in
increased learning opportunities.

• In my Lesson Planning I need to provide more of a challenge


for the learner and to think the lesson through from the students
view point to increase the success of the lesson.

• My knowledge of the subject matter although increasing is I


feel still inadequate especially in pronunciation which is my weakest
area.

3)Action Plan
My plans are similar to those of Stage 2 as I have found the results to be
very useful provide to monitor and asses my progress.

In order to change my lessons from being teacher led to being


student centered :

• I intend to plan my lessons providing materials or exercises


which guide the learner to achieving the aim of the lesson with little
teacher intervention .

• I will be keeping TTT to a minimum ,using where possible


written instructions

To improve my lesson planning I will :

• Be including more variety of tasks to take into consideration


the different ways of student learning.

• Anticipate any new lexis, its pronunciation ,meaning and use to


be clarified to the class.

• By planning my use of the white board beforehand avoid any


potentially confusing presentations and ensuring that what is written
is both necessary and meaningful. .

• Provide a meaningful reason to complete or follow up tasks.

• Allow students time to take notes.

In order to increase my knowledge of the subject matter:

• I will continue reading for the Delta course ,paying particular


attention to the phonology section of recommended books.
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4)Description of Data Collection Methods
In conducting action research, teachers can become emancipated(Gore and
Zeichner 1995,in that they become in control of the whole process of
research and investigation of their own teaching, rather than being the tool
of an outside researcher .Teachers ,then can become more autonomous,
responsible and answerable through action research.(Day, C. 1997)

With the above in mind I will continue to.

• Keep a lesson diary noting positive and negative aspects of


my lesson to show me if the same problems are repeated and also
what activities the class enjoy. The negative aspect being these are
only my views so I will be periodically giving the class an opinion
questionnaire on the lesson .(Appendix1)

• Ask my colleague to monitor my use of the whiteboard, using


the board work monitoring sheet provided .(Appendix2)

• Use the Development Log Template from the Professional


Development Assignment File as this keeps me focused on why I
am doing a particular activity.(Appendix3)

• Record future lessons ,using a tape recorder in order to


monitor my TTT and student involvement in the lesson together
with any areas of the lesson which require attention in following
lessons.

• Take photographs of my board work.

5)Bibliography and Word Count


Day,C.(1987)Professional learning through collaborative in-service
activity. In Smyth,J.(ed.)Educating Teachers:Changing the nature of
Pedagogical Knowledge.London:The Farmers Press.pp.207-222

Professional Development Assignment File from the Delta Course


2010

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Zeichner, K. & Gore, J. (1995) Using action research as a vehicle for
student teacher reflection: A social reconstructionist approach. In S. Noffke
& B. Stevenson (Eds.) Practically critical: An invitation to action research in
education pp. 13-30. New York: Teachers College Press.

Word Count 750

You make some useful comments in this stage of the RA assignment and show
that you are continuing to reflect on your teaching and use this as a tool in your
professional development. You come up with some useful and practical ideas on
how to develop and you seem to be seeing already the benefits in your teaching
and planning. For the final stage of this assignment aim to read more broadly and
reflect on what reading you have found particularly helpful and in what way.

You identify some key developments you have made in your teaching practices
from RA Stage 2. It is important here that you provide supporting evidence from
your data collection in your appendices to justify your confidence here (e.g.
comments from your observer, extracts from your lesson diary, comments from
your learners etc.) Make sure that you provide such collated results for Stage 4 of
the assignment. You have chosen to continue to work on two areas of weakness
(teacher talking time and a tendency towards teacher-led classes) that were
already stated as problematic in Stage 2. This is fine, although you could have
provided a clearer rationale for this decision. You have also chosen to work on
two further areas. You could usefully comment briefly here on what has led you
to prioritise these (e.g. is it comments from observers, your background reading,
comments from learners?) (2a, 2b)

You show that you have reflected to some extent on the effectiveness of the
approaches, methods, techniques and materials that you selected in Stage 2 in
terms of how these have helped your development as a teacher and justify, albeit
very briefly, using similar means once more. Although you have selected what
appear to be appropriate means for evaluating your action areas, at times you
need to be more specific here (e.g. which particular sources will you consult to
develop your understanding of phonology?) (2c, 2d)

You draw up an action plan by selecting techniques and materials that will allow
you to develop your planning and teaching skills. This links to your identified
weaknesses (2e)

You have briefly restated your original beliefs in your introduction. You will need
to explore these in more depth when you write your final submission (2f)

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6)Appendices
Appendix 1

The students opinion of the lesson questionnaire

Please answer yes/no

1)Would you like to decide the materials we use in class?………

2)If the materials are not interesting is it more difficult to do the exercise?

3) Do you think progress tests are useful?...

4) Do progress tests make you revise?...

5)Do you enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in class ?..

6)If you like your teacher, do you work harder ?..

7)Does having an exam to sit make you work harder?.

Appendix2

Board work monitoring-please circle your answer

1) Can you read my writing? all the time / some of the time / not well

2) Was it necessary to write on the board? Yes all the time / some of the
time

3) Was the board orderly ? Yes all the time / some of the time

4) Did students copy what was on the board? Yes all the time /some of
the time

5) How much time did I spend writing on the board? 5%10% 30% 50%

6)Was there any instances when I could have written more on the board?
Yes/No

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7)Were there times I could have given the learners more information about
a language point? Yes/No

8)Please write any suggestions for what else could have gone up on the
board.

Appendix 3

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Reflective Assignment Stage 4

Adele Rocheforte-Anness

Contents
1) Re-assessment of my current beliefs as a
teacher……………………17

2) Identification and Evaluation of what has helped


me most……..17,18

3) How I will continue in the


future…………………………………………….18

4) Word Count and


Bibliography…………………………………………………18

5) Appendices…………………………………………………………
………………….19,20,21

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1)Re- assessment of my current beliefs as a
teacher
Overall my beliefs as a teacher stated in Stage 1 have been
consolidated during the Delta course.

1) I believe that language acquisition occurs best when the


context is of interest to the student .This was shown in my
student’s questionnaire (Appendix 1 No°1,2)and LSA 1 when the topic
of the listening exercise (a job interview) was not interesting because
the teenage students did not relate to the topic. If I had chosen a pop
star interest would have been higher, meaning increased participation
and language acquisition following.

2) I maintain that doing a number of brief progress tests is


positive for the class as it shows them where to revise and gives me
an idea of where I need to concentrate future lesson attention. These
views are shared by Peter May (2004 p5), Sally Burgess and Katie
Head (2008 p13).

3) I truly believe the importance of a friendly relaxed


atmosphere is fundamental to learning. This has been confirmed
by the student’s questionnaire which showed they came to class more
and worked harder if they had a good relationship with their teacher.
(Appendix 1 No° 5,6,7)

4) Motivation, I believe is one of the key factors to language


learning. Whether intrinsic or extrinsic “we have to want to do
something to succeed in it” Harmer, J. (2010 p98). In my exam classes
effort increases as they approach the exam. Very important at the
planning stage as “Tasks and materials that are involving, that have
an element of challenge while providing the necessary support, are
more likely to be motivating than those that do not have these
qualities.” Thornbury, S .(2000).This connects strongly with point 1
above; students are more interested when they can relate to the topic.

2) Identification and Evaluation of what has


helped me most
I have found being observed by colleagues and my Local Tutor
most helpful, especially regarding board work and teacher talking
time. I am now very conscious of what I write on the board and ask
myself at the planning stage if it is necessary or meaningful for the
student? Is my Teacher talking time necessary? Prior to the Delta
course I did not welcome peer observation. It made me very nervous.
Designing a task sheet for specific points such as board use gave me
control of what was to be observed which resulted in me wanting to
know the outcome rather than dreading it.

Taping my Lesson showed me how much Teacher and Student


talking time had taken place and also gave me the opportunity to
review what had happened in the class. Supplying the answers to
questions such as: Had all the students participated equally? Where
there any questions which had been left unanswered? This was very
easy to implement and extremely helpful when planning following
lessons.

The student interviews from my EA assignment together with


questionnaires from LSA 3(Appendix 5) and RA Stage 3 (Appendix 1)
were important to indicate student interests and opinion on the lesson.
These were taken into account when planning the next lesson and also
gave the class the opportunity to give their input which encouraged
participation and interest in their course.

3) How I will continue in the future


I will be continuing self study reading the small library of books by
authors such as Lewis, Thornbury, Ur and Swan which I have
accumulated on the Delta course. I am currently reading Gerald Kelly’s
How to Teach Pronunciation which is clearly set out and
straightforward to follow.

I will be asking colleagues to observe my lessons on a regular


basis, providing specific question sheets. This will give me the
feedback I need to improve on and monitor aspects of my teaching
practice such as task variety, teacher talking time etc. I will be taping
my lessons at regular intervals for the same reasons.

My Lesson planning will be more aim focused. Asking myself


what is the purpose of each lesson stage and what are the benefits to
the students.

My interest in the ESL field has increased in proportion to my


realization of how much there is to learn and I am enjoying the
journey.

4) Word Count 698 and Bibliography


Burgess,S. and Head,K.(2008)How to teach for Exams.Longman

Harmer,J.(2010)The Practice of English Language


Teaching.Pearson Longman

Kell,G.(2000)How to Teach Pronunciation Longman

May,P.(2004)Exam Classes. Oxford

Thornbury,S.(2000)How to Teach Grammar.Longman

5)Appendices

Appendix 1
The students opinion of the lesson questionnaire

Please answer yes/no

1)Would you like to decide the materials we use in class?

85%yes ,5%no answer,10% no

2)If the materials are not interesting is it more difficult to do the exercise?

90%yes 5% no answer,55%no

3) Do you think progress tests are useful?

90%yes 5% no answer ,5% no.

4) Do progress tests make you revise?

95%yes ,55%no answer

5)Do you enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in class ?

90%yes 10%no answer

6)If you like your teacher, do you work harder ?

90%yes 10%no answer

7)Does having an exam to sit make you work harder?

90%yes 10 % no answer.

Appendix 2
Board work monitoring-please circle your answer

1) Can you read my writing? all the time / some of the time / not well

2) Was it necessary to write on the board? Yes all the time / some of
the time

3) Was the board orderly ? Yes all the time / some of the time

4) Did students copy what was on the board? Yes all the time /some of
the time

5) How much time did I spend writing on the board? 5%10% 30% 50%

6)Was there any instances when I could have written more on the board?
Yes/No

7)Were there times I could have given the learners more information about
a language point? Yes/No

8)Please write any suggestions for what else could have gone up on the
board.

You could have given more information on pronunciation, given


instructions on paper .You write clearly but at times unnecessarily
and don’t wait long enough for students to take notes, you could
prepare this before the lesson as a handout.Stress and pron need to
be incorporated in your lessons more.

Recent observation ,You have reduced your board work to


the essential, illustrating a point raised by a student concerning a
word definition,you give sufficient time for st to take notes All other
explanations you have given via mime, task sheets or handouts
which remain as a record for the student without taking up valuable
lesson time in unnecessary copying.You have included pron and syll
stress for new vocab .

Appendix 3
Date What I did Why/What did I How will I use
learn? this /any further
action

Nov 2010 Attended a course to To become an This will and has


become a writing on-line writing helped me with
examiner for examiner my exam
Cambridge BEC classes as I am
I have learnt to
Vantage exams very aware of
evaluate written
how the written
work very
work is graded I
quickly from an
examiners view can guide my
point students
towards a pass
Attended
Attended an IH Rome
workshop on I teach in one
conference
Nov 2010 interactive school where
white boards they have an
(IWB)-learnt the IWB where I
possibilities and have put into
scope –this is practice what I
def the direction have learnt and
schools are feel more
taking confident and
interested to
explore its
possibilities

Appendix 4
Diary extract

12th March CAE Training session at British School Rome

Was very conscious of my talking time and the intention of the


exercises I had prepared. I found that in the planning phase I was
stepping back from my usual ,I’ll provide the questions, I’ll give the
answers approach to one of how can I have the Speaking Examiners do
this? Having asked them to read the exam format and write 10
questions then ask each other in pairs or small groups I was very
pleased to see that they not only enjoyed the exercise but fully
explored the format. I don’t think the results would have been the
same if I had spoon fed the information. Def a step in the right
direction.

Appendix5
1) Did you enjoy the lesson?...................

2) Was the subject interesting?...............

3) Do you feel more confident in listening for exam answers?............

4) Has knowing about strong and weak forms helped you understand why it is often
difficult to understand each word?............................

5) Are you interested in doing more listening exercises focusing on strong and weak
forms?...................................................................

6) Have you any suggestions for future listening focused


lessons?..........................................................................................................................
.......................................................................................................................................
.......................................................................................................................................
.......................................................................................................................................
....................

1) What do you like doing in your free time ?...............................


2) What other languages do you study?.......................................
3) What is the most difficult skill in English? Reading/Writing/Listening in
class/Speaking
4) How much time do you spend each day doing homework?.........
5) Why did you choose to study at a linguistic school?...................
6) What other countries have you visited?.....................................
7) Do you watch TV in English ?......................................................
8) Do you read books in English?....................................................
9) What English speaking TV programmes do you listen to ?.........
………………………………………………………………………………………………..