Macmillan Books for Teachers
Practical techniques and ideas for classroom activities. Assumptions about learning. The role of TP on a teacher training course. Feedback on lessons. Eliciting, giving instructions and setting up activities. Students working outside the classroom.
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Again, before making them, make sure you have all the students' attention; make the announcements clearly and check the students have understood. Don't forget to fully exploit, through questions and comments, any notices you may wish to put up in English.
Farewells and socializing
Farewells are the final signal that the students can pack up and go. Make sure you say goodbye naturally - it's a good opportunity for the students to learn how to do it.
As they and you are packing up and leaving, it is well worth chatting to individuals in the same way you do when they are arriving. This makes your relationship with them much more natural. It prevents the lesson being viewed as a performance divorced from everyday communication.
To highlight the structure of the beginnings and ends of lessons.
1 Observe as many lessons as possible for their beginnings and ends f say the first five and last ten minutes of lessons).
2 Categorize each beginning and end in terms of the following activities:
a greeting the group
b greeting individuals
с socializing with the group
d socializing with individuals
e setting homework
f returning homework
h summarizing, evaluating, revising
You may need to add other categories.
3 Compare the beginnings and ends in terms of their appropriateness and success.
8. Establishing rapport and maintaining discipline
Establishing rapport and motivating students
Rapport is such an important factor in determining whether a class is a success or not. Students are prepared to contribute and learn to use the language more when the atmosphere is relaxed and you and the students all get on well together, and when they have confidence in you. While the students play a large part in determining the atmosphere in the classroom, it can nevertheless be encouraged or deterred by your general attitude.
How can you establish a good working relationship with your students?
Have the right manner
During TP you will learn to establish a style of teaching which suits your personality. Aim to treat students in a manner which is natural to you; don't put on a 'performance'. Most teachers try to balance directive control over a class with a relaxed, helpful manner. Try to see the relationship from the students' point of view. As you get to know them, and as they get to know you, you will be able to judge better what you can and cannot do. Teachers who get away with teasing or even being 'rude' to their students are only effective because the students recognize underlying sympathy and humour. This approach is only possible when rapport has been established and Is not to be recommended for the early days of TP!
Don't prejudge a class
Other teachers' opinions are worth listening to but relationships with teachers vary and it is as well to assume that a 'bad' class need not necessarily be bad with you, and a 'good' class, even if initially well-motivated, can become demotivated if the students lose confidence in their teacher.
Look as if you enjoy your job
A lack of enthusiasm and interest can only be a deterrent. Don't assume that students share your low times. If you teach in the evening you may be feeling tired at the end of the day but students may be eager to work hard, particularly if they only come to school for two hours per week and want to get the most out of their class time.
Be positive about the activities and materials you are using
If you feel that the material you are using is boring you are likely to end up with a bored class. You are probably more critical than the class anyway. If the appearance of a text is not quite up to standard (even though, of course, you should always aim for it to be), don't apologize for it. Emphasize how interesting it is or how good it is for language practice or skills development.
Show personal interest in the students
Both inside and outside the classroom, find out about their opinions, their attitudes and their day-to-day life when they're not learning English. In monolingual classes, if you are the 'foreigner' abroad, let them tell you things about their way of life. In multinational classes, find out about their countries and cultures. Apart from anything else, knowing what interests them and what offends them can help determine topic areas for your class. Also, being able to refer occasionally to something you know about individual students in the class is, if done with tact, a good way of building up a relationship with the group as a whole.
Personalize materials and activities
Wherever possible, elicit real experiences and opinions from your students rather than relying on fictional situations and characters to illustrate and practise language. Tell the students about yourself, your friends and your family. They are more interested in you and in each other than in characters from books.
Respond and react to what students say
As you become less nervous you'll be better at hearing what the students are saying and responding in a natural and interested way. Wherever possible, respond naturally and honestly to students' questions or comments - even during controlled practice activities. It is sometimes not easy to know whether to comment on the accuracy of what has been said or whether to respond naturally. Compare these two exchanges, taking place during a break:
1 Helmut: You come to party tonight?
Teacher: Are you coming!
2 Helmut: You come to party tonight?
Teacher: Yes, what time is it?
In the first exchange Helmut might be confused, thinking he is being asked if he's coming - in fact his English is being corrected. While there's a time and place for correction (See Chapter 7: Giving feedback to students), it is often inappropriate to discourage genuine interaction by responding as a 'teacher' rather than as a 'friend'. You could try combining the two roles by responding: You mean 'Areyou coming to the party?''- Yes, I am. What time is it?
Be interested in their progress
Talking to the students informally can tell you what they think they need to learn, what they think their good and weak points are. It also gives you the opportunity to judge their language needs for yourself, in normal relaxed circumstances outside the conventions of the classroom. Students can also tell you their difficulties and why they think they're having them. Such information should help you decide what to do in the classroom when you work out what the group as a whole needs.
Ask for comments on the classes
It is well worth asking your students individually and occasionally as a group, if possible, what they find useful and not so useful about your classes. Many students like to be consulted about their course, though some may be reluctant to make critical comments. See also Chapter 5 Section 6: Learner development and study skills-, and Chapter 7 Section 3: Evaluation and testing.
How can you encourage good group dynamics and interdependence between students?
Obviously the larger the class and the fewer number of weeks you teach it, the more difficult it is to be concerned with, or influence, how the students feel about each other. However, you should at least try to develop a co-operative atmosphere, with students taking each other into account as much as possible and learning to share language and ideas. It is one of the teacher's tasks to manage the
learning situation so that students interact. When students learn to learn from each other, the group as a whole benefits. A group which is co-operating, sharing ideas, providing help and evaluating the success of activities is likely to be taking more overall responsibility for what it learns and how it learns than a group that is used to filtering everything through the teacher. Such responsibility usually aids the success with which students learn a language. Their dependence on you is reduced and yet their motivation increases. The group develops its own positive dynamic.
Here are some practical ways to help you encourage this spirit of interdependence. They are not in order of importance, and the list could certainly be added to.
* When making seating arrangements, be aware of which students are friends and which do not get on so well.
* Make sure the students know each other's names. (See Using students' names on pl9.)
* At the beginning of a course of lessons have a 'getting to know you activity' to break the ice and get everyone talking to one another. (See How can the students learn each other's names? on p20.)
* Choose activities and materials that involve the students talking to each other about their personal experiences, ideas and opinions (see above).
* Have plenty of pairwork and group work, especially at the beginning of a course of lessons.
* When doing pairwork, change the pairs frequently so students get to work with a variety of people. An activity in which students circulate or mingle can break down barriers.
* Encourage the students to talk directly to one another, not 'through' you in whole class activities.
* Redirect students' enquiries to other students and only answer them yourself as a last resort. If it is done regularly a simple gesture should be enough to encourage it. In time the students should by-pass you altogether.
* Get the students to help each other. If a student doesn't know the answer to something or know how to do something like pronounce a word or complete a written exercise, get another student to help. In oral work, a simple gesture may be enough to indicate that you expect this to happen.
* If a student can't correct him- or herself get another student to correct; don't jump in yourself unless you have to. (See Chapter 7 Section 2: Correction techniques.)
* Get students to evaluate each other's work. So if a student offers you some language for approval, turn to the others and say Is that all right? or Do you agree? Equally, get the students to look over each other's written work. Even at lower levels, where perhaps they have just copied something from the board, this can be a useful exercise. If, at higher levels, they have individually jotted down a few ideas on a topic, ask them to look at their neighbour's ideas and talk about them while they are waiting for the rest to finish.
* Get the students to prepare and ask questions to check the comprehension of a text rather than asking all the questions yourself. Before they ask the questions, go round quickly to make sure the questions are understandable and answerable. Questions can be prepared individually, in pairs or in groups.
¦ Give the students responsibility for other members of the group. If a new student arrives you could ask one of the students to introduce the other students and encourage them to ask the newcomer friendly questions. If a student is late, you might get the other students to find out why.
* Make sure that you discreetly acknowledge the abilities of the stronger students; disallow any impatience with weaker students; generally show that everyone has something to contribute.
* Don't let individual students dominate the group or work against the interests of the group. (See Maintaining discipline on p60.)
* Don't supply everything yourself. Get them to lend each other pens, to share books, to open windows, etc.
* Don't dominate a class yourself. Give the students opportunities to interact and create a positive and supportive atmosphere.
In the final analysis it is generally the teacher who creates the working atmosphere of a class. If you over-dominate, the students tend to invest little of themselves in the class and you may even have discipline problems. On the other hand, if you fail to direct the students when necessary, and give firm guidance, they are likely to make an ineffective working group and suffer feelings of frustration and insecurity.
To show how different teachers can view the same group in different ways.
1 Observe a class which is unfamiliar to you, if possible one doing a fairly 'free1 activity.
2 Make notes on the prominent students and the least prominent students in relation to their personalities, their approach to the class, their learning habits, their relationship with the other students, and so on.
3 Show your student profiles to the class teacher and discuss the extent to which he or she agrees.
This comparison can yield very fruitful discussion, particularly if your comments are committed to paper and, in the case of a discrepancy of views, both sides are fully argued.
To develop an understanding of the value of interaction between colleagues and mutual evaluation.
1 Ask each member of the group to write a report on one aspect of the others' contributions to the course (for example, TP, the social atmosphere, discussion groups, etc). The report should be framed positively, noting good points first, and making criticism in the manner of I'd like it if he or she did ... more rather than He or she doesn't...
2 Discuss the results.
Seriously conducted, this exercise can vastly improve the working relationship of a group and develop the habit of being able to comment critically without being destructive or making people feel threatened. For this reason it is essential that no teacher trainer should approve or disapprove of the contents of the reports.
To discover the value of interaction activities.
1 In pairs or as a whole group, do a selection of interaction activities. Ideally they are best done in a foreign language. For example: Find someone in your group with whom you have three things in common.
2 Discuss how you felt doing the activities, discuss language areas that arose and, if done in a foreign language, discuss language problems you had.
This exercise is best done at the beginning of a course when everyone is getting to know one another.
The extent to which you will have to maintain discipline over and above general classroom management depends on a number of factors:
* the age of the students. Obviously children need to be more overtly disciplined than adults. Generally young teenagers are considered to be the most difficult;
* the reasons for learning and the motivation of the students - whether they are obliged to be in class or whether they arc 'volunteers';
* the size of the class. It is more difficult to keep an orderly atmosphere in a large class than a small one;
* the atmosphere and ethos of the institution. Some institutions are much stricter than others in their attitude to student behaviour;
* the respect the members of the class have for teachers in general and you in particular.
Some of these factors you can influence and others you cannot. We have already mentioned the balance to be achieved between exercising control and encouraging a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in which the students can interact with each other. If in doubt, err on the side of control initially, especially with children. It is always easier to relax control as the lessons progress than to try to tighten up when the class seems to be getting unruly. Sometimes you may feel that you have to sacrifice popularity for respect but in the long run teachers who are not respected arc not generally popular either.
You will gain respect if:
* you are punctual;
* you are well prepared for the lesson;
* you return homework promptly;
* you do what you say you are going to do;
* you treat people consistently and fairly;
* you try not to let your personal feelings about individual students influence the way you treat them as members of the group;
* you don't ignore problems;
* you never make threats you are not able or prepared to carry out;
* you never lose your temper.
How can you deal with problem students?
Students may cause problems in a number of ways. They may be unwilling to take part in activities, show obvious signs of boredom or disaffection, talk (in their own language) when you don't want them to, or even openly question the usefulness or the interest of the activities and materials you are using. There may be some who don't want to work with certain students or who behave badly when paired up with particular people. Some students may be persistently late or never do any homework.
With a small group of adults, dealing with students like this need not be a heavy-handed affair. Often hinting that you recognize the trouble in front of everyone is enough, but be tactful or humorous and try to win the problem student round. Sometimes a friendly chat helps, particularly when the real problem is that the student feels he or she is not being acknowledged enough by you. Listen. They may have a genuine complaint. Another tactic is to put the student into a position of responsibility - chairing a group discussion or reporting back on groupwork. Often the problem is that students don't feel responsible enough for the progress of the class.
If there are younger students who are working against the interests of the group, spend some time talking to them in private; tell them how you see the situation and how you feel about it. Listen to the student but insist on improvement. You may be able to take certain steps - such as not pairing up certain people. Try to sort out the problem but be careful not to let them command too much of your attention, especially at the expense of other students. You might easily provide the wrong sort of encouragement and lose the rest of the group.
Often there are students who are not a real problem for you but who are a problem for other students. Perhaps there is a student who is very shy and never contributes in pairwork or groupwork - in this case it can be helpful if you change the pairs frequently, put the person into a three rather than a pair, give the person more support in pairwork (a more concrete task perhaps), or even take the person's partners aside and enlist their support and understanding. A very different type of problem student is the one who is over-enthusiastic, who always shouts out the answers and is very demanding of your attention. If you have a student like this in your class, make sure you nominate well - don't acknowledge the student unless you specifically name him or her and if need be say No, Anita, I want Ricardo to answer.
If in doubt, ask for advice from a more experienced teacher. The problem may be a common one for which a simple solution exists. Although students frequently sort out problems for each other, don't ignore them or hope they'll go away. This is particularly the case with classes of children. It will only get worse and make you look weak and ineffectual. If control over a class is lacking it is essential that you seek advice and support from someone else in the school. (See also Punctuality on p52.)
How do you control noise levels in the class?
Although this is not really a discipline problem it can appear so in institutions where classes are generally conducted in silence with only the voice of the teacher to be heard. One of the inevitable consequences of trying to teach the spoken language through maximizing student talking time is that there will often be more than one person talking in the room at any one time. Using pairwork in a class of forty means that there could easily be twenty talking at once and the noise level may disturb the person using the room next door. There are ways of keeping the noise level down at times:
* Give each group a different task. If your groupwork involves a quiet reading activity as well as a discussion stage, then one group may be talking while the other is reading.
* Make sure the students are close enough to each other. A spread-out group is noisier than a huddle.
* Appoint a chairperson for groups. The chairperson can have several functions, one of which can be to make sure that only one person talks at any one time.
* Tell the students to talk quietly. This is an obvious piece of advice but often ignored. The students usually appreciate the problem as much as anyone else and if they are reminded they should do as you say.
* With repetition work you can ask the students to say the words to themselves or to whisper, or organize it so only part of the class speaks at one time.
* Prevent the activity from going on too long. Groupwork with a task which expects the students to express themselves will tend to get noisier the longer it goes on. Break it up with fresh instructions and a reminder about the noise level.
* Check with other teachers beforehand. If you anticipate a noisy lesson it is best to check that the class next door is not doing an exam at that time.
9. The monolingual and the multilingual class
Monolingual and multilingual classes both have advantages and disadvantages.
What are the advantages of teaching a multilingual group?
* All communication in the class is authentic - English is the only common language. The students are motivated to make themselves understood in English as there are no possible short cuts. Interaction is natural and the students are usually not so self-conscious.
* A multilingual class is a multicultural class. As a result a lot of interest is generated by comparing the way of life of the different students. They are usually very interested in finding out about each other and each other's cultures.
* Multilingual classes usually take place in an English-speaking country. As a result the students have more opportunities to pick up the language from the environment - when shopping, on social occasions, from the media, at their accommodation, etc. These students usually make much quicker progress than those learning in their own country.
What are the disadvantages?
* The main difficulty is being sure that all the students have understood. You often have to spend more time illustrating and checking meaning.
9 7 'he monolingual and the multilingual class
* The students will have different language problems depending on how different their language is from English in, for example, aspects of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
* Because students come from different countries, their general educational background, their approach to learning and their study skills may be very different.
You may be familiar with one or more of the languages represented in the class and so it is inevitable that your understanding of these students' problems will be better than those whose language and culture is unfamiliar to you. Don't be tempted to translate words into those languages you know as this is not only confusing but also very unfair to those students whose languages you don't speak. It may even be better to pretend ignorance so that students can't say, for example, It's 'jouet', isn't it?
What are the advantages of teaching a monolingual group?
* As your students have the same mother tongue they will usually have the same problems with particular aspects of pronunciation or grammar. You can use your knowledge of their difficulties to concentrate on and give further practice in these areas.
* They may have very similar learning backgrounds and styles.
* They will probably be more homogeneous in outlook and more accepting of one another.
* There are occasions where short cuts can be made by translating a word or two.
* You can choose whether to give instructions and explanations in the mother tongue.
* It may be useful to discuss how to tackle a task in the mother tongue, or to talk about a lesson - whether students found it useful or enjoyable. This can be particularly useful at beginner level before the students have gained confidence in the language.
* You can do study skills activities which include the use of translation dictionaries.
* Translation of texts by the students can be an effective way of learning and is particularly useful at higher levels where students are having to get to grips with subtle nuances in English.
* If you are a 'foreigner' in their country there is an authentic information gap which can be exploited.
What are the disadvantages?
* The main disadvantage is that because they speak the same language your students may feel self-conscious about speaking in English to one another.
* Because they probably make similar mistakes it is not as easy for them to correct each other and you sometimes stop noticing them.
* Sometimes, especially with large classes, it is difficult to stop students chatting in their own language when they should be practising English.
For these reasons, consider carefully how much you want to use the students' mother tongue. Remember that one of the best sources of language input is the teacher. You can help provide the exposure to the language so valuable for acquisition. If you speak English in class your students get valuable listening practice, they are not so self-conscious about speaking themselves and operating in the language seems much more natural. You can make a habit of answering in English even if students ask you questions in their own language. You can even make an 'Rnglish only1 rule for your classroom.
Avoiding the use of the mother tongue in pairwork and groupwork
You can make it easier for your students to use English by:
* describing your rationale clearly and getting their support from the beginning;
* deciding where you place yourself in the classroom. The groups nearest you are more likely to use English than those further away. So take an interest in what each group is doing and move around so that groups have less chance of switching back to their own language;
* monitoring more overtly: for example, by having a pen and paper in your hand;
* making the work task-oriented. If the final product has to be in English, whether it is a story, a film review or just answering comprehension questions, a greater use of English is ensured;
* keeping speaking activities short until the students have more confidence and increased fluency. It is better to have a shorter time than is strictly necessary for full practice of the language. Nothing is more likely to send students into their mother tongue than having time to spare at the end of groupwork;
* making sure that the students have the English to do what you ask. You might find it helpful to start off with very structured activities after you have taught some essential words and expressions so students are not at a loss for words;
* starting with 'open' pairwork as a model for the 'closed' pairwork;
* assigning roles. If everyone knows what they must do they are more likely to do it in English. You might consider giving someone the role of 'language monitor' - someone to make sure English is used in the group - or 'evaluator' - someone who will report back on the performance of the group overall, including their use of English.and of their mother tongue.
Finally, don't be too concerned if your students resort to their mother tongue in groupwork or pairwork activities. Sometimes it saves time in the long run, as when they are clarifying instructions before they begin the task. It is worth remembering that if you are doing groupwork as an alternative to whole class work then even if only two people are using English simultaneously you have doubled the amount of student talk for that time.
Atkinson, D. 1993 Teaching Monolingual Classes (Longman) Hadtield, J. 1992 Classroom Dynamics (OUP)
Nolasco, R. and Arthur, I.. 1988 Ijirge Classes (Prentice Hall/Macmillan) Tomalin, B. and Stempleski, S. 1992 Cultural Awareness (OUP) Underwood, M. 1987 Effective Classroom Management (Longman) Wright, T. 1987 The Roles of Teachers andLearners (OUP)
Chapter 3. Managing resources: equipment and teaching aids
In this chapter we look at how the teacher can use different resources to make lessons more interesting and effective. Teaching institutions vary enormously in the number and type of resources available to teachers. If you are doing TP in a well-resourced centre you should take the opportunity to try out the full range of resources. However, even in a relatively poorly-resourced school there are many ways that simple and 'home-made' resources can be used to good effect in lessons.
1. The board
It is unusual to find classrooms without a board of some kind, whether it is white, black or green. It is essential, then, to organize your use of it in order to obtain the maximum effect.
Four basic prerequisites:
1 Start with a clean board or with a board that only has on it what you have just put on. Don't start your lesson with the remains of someone else's still up.
2 Write legibly and neatly. If necessary, get some practice outside class time. (This includes writing in a straight line!) Try to print or at least be consistent in the letters you use - this will make your writing easier to read and is helpful for beginners and/or people who are having to learn a new script. Don't write in capitals. Learners need to know when capitals are necessary and when they are not. Even with European languages the rules that govern the use of capital letters vary.
3 Use the right implement. This doesn't apply so much to chalk boards (although some chalk is better than others) as it does to white boards. Don't make the mistake of using a pen which can't be wiped off!
4 Generally, try to keep the board as clear, as straightforward and as easy to read as possible. Clean it periodically to keep it neat and consider other ways of displaying more permanent information - a cork board or the walls of the classroom - in order to keep the board looking uncluttered.
What sort of things will be put on the board?
What you will want to put on your board will probably fall into one of the following categories:
Permanent or reference material
This may not go on the board at the beginning of the lesson but once it is up it will probably stay until the end. In low-level classes you may wish to put up the day and the date at the beginning of the lesson; it is a good way of helping the students learn the days of the week and the dates. It also encourages good study habits. You can put up reminders of items that students need constantly or persistently get wrong: for example, What does... mean? The expression can then be pointed to when needed until all the students are familiar with it.
Other things that might come into this category are the main language items of the lesson: new vocabulary items and model sentences. You would expect most, if not all, the words in this section to be copied into the students' notebooks at some stage in the lesson. By putting such words into this section you are signifying their importance.
Material for the development of the lesson
This will be the material that relates to the stage of the lesson you have reached at any one moment. It could be pictures you are using to illustrate a story, an expression the students are practising saying, an outline of a grammar rule or even the score for a team game you are playing. Some of it may be transferred to the permanent section of the board.
This is the work you use to illustrate or exemplify the answer to an unpredicted question or to back up an alternative explanation when the planned one doesn't work. It may be a drawing or it may be a written word. Space must always be left on the board for such work. You will usually want to erase work in this section as soon as the point has been understood and noted.
Notes and reminders
You may want to put daily class notices and announcements in this section. (See Making announcements on p55.) Also, questions you answer wixh Ask me later and things that you don't want to or can't answer on the spot are well worth noting in a corner. It shows that you are not just fobbing off the student and when you clean the board at the end of the lesson it will act as a reminder to you to prepare something for the next lesson.
It is essential that you plan the board and decide which part you are going to allocate to which use. Include a plan of the board in your lesson plan and refer to use of the board in specific stages of the lesson. The 'development' area is likely to be the largest so that will probably command the central part. The 'permanent' area is the most predictable and should be easy to plan for. It might be helpful to separate the different parts of the board by drawing lines: it reduces confusion.
The three stages on p67 show one possible development of a board through a lesson
1 The board
Stage 1 revising vocabulary
Pictures used to revise vocabulary stuck in central section one by one. Words written underneath or put straight into 'reference' section
Stage 2 ACTIVITY:
Vocabulary in Dialogue added to main section
reference section line by line, as it is practised
Stage 3 ACTIVITY:
Vocabulary plus Question form at top of board,
model sentence different prompts (words and pictures)
from dialogue, or added one by one as the activity develops
simple rule (eg like + -ing)
At what stage in the lesson should the board be used?
Exactly when the writing up is done depends on the type of lesson and your students' normal styles of learning. If you are specifically developing the writing skill, written work on the board can constitute a major part of the lesson. Often the writing stage is consolidation of oral work and comes after listening to and saying the language. If the students are impatient for you to write things down during oral practice it is sometimes better to write the words on the board for the students to copy them, rub the board clean and then tell them to close their books before returning to the oral practice.
How can you make the best use of the board?
* Use colour to make the board look attractive and its contents memorable. For example, you can reserve one colour for phonemic symbols so the students don't get confused between the spelling and the pronunciation of words. (See Chapter 6 Section 3: Pronunciation.)
* Use your board as a temporary display area. You can attach pictures, diagrams, etc with a product like 'Blu-Tack'. If you want to save the time it takes to write during the lesson you can write key words or sentences on card and stick them to the board at the appropriate time. Another advantage of using cards is that they can be quickly moved around on the board.
* Adjust the size of your writing to the size of the room and the size of the board.
* Don't put everything on the board - only the essential - and immediately rub off anything which is no longer needed.
* When writing up vocabulary include an indication of the part of speech, eg (v) after verbs, (adj) after adjectives, etc. Include the article a or an before nouns. Mark the word stress. (See Chapter 6 Section 3: Pronunciation.)
* Try and build up board work bit by bit after each activity rather than put it up in one go.
* Involve the students in the writing process by eliciting what you are going to put up, the spelling of difficult words, and so on. This will keep up their level of attention and concentration.
* Make it clear to students when they need to copy something from the board and when it isn't necessary. If you want them to write something down, allow enough time to do the job properly: write it up neatly, give the students time to read it (perhaps aloud) and then copy it down. You may wish to go round and check they have copied it correctly, particularly at the lower levels.
* When you transfer work from the main part of the board to the permanent part you provide students with a useful summary of the main stages of the lesson.
* Always clean the board at the end of a lesson.
For further ideas on this topic, see Chapter 2 Section 2: Classroom arrangement.
To highlight stages in the use of the board as a lesson progresses.
1 Look at the lesson plan on ppl46-7.
2 Decide what you would need to put on the board and when.
3 Draw a diagram of each stage of the board.
4 Compare it with a colleague's diagram.
To observe a colleague's use of the board and to give feedback.
1 Observe a fellow trainee teaching a lesson and make a note of his or her use of the board. You can consider the following points: overall tidiness and attractiveness; legibility; helpfulness to the students.
2 Give feedback to your colleague. Try to find a number of positive points and make some suggestions for improvement.
2. The overhead projector
The overhead projector (OHP), while not replacing the board, is becoming increasingly popular.
What are the advantages?
* You can write on an OHP without turning your back on the class.
* You can prepare overhead transparencies (OHTs) in advance. This saves time during the lesson and ensures that the writing is neatly presented and the pictures clearly drawn.
* Students can write on OHTs and the results can be shown to the whole class. The results of groupwork can easily be shared using this technique.
* You can photocopy onto some special OHTs. In this way you can present complicated pictures or diagrams, pages from coursebooks, examples of students'work, etc.
* You can mask parts of OHTs, so revealing information step by step. This technique can be used to great effect when guessing the next line of a text, or the contents of a partly hidden picture.
* OHTs can be laid one over the other so that information is built up. An OHT containing the missing words can be laid over an OHT containing a gapped text, or pictures of characters in a story can be laid over the background scene, for example.
What are the disadvantages?
* OHPs are cumbersome and can be difficult to move around. As with all electrical equipment they can go wrong - in OHPs there is a tendency for the bulbs to blow.
* There may be too much light in the room, no screen or no suitable wall space.
* OHTs are relatively expensive, especially those that can be used in a photocopier. However, if you use erasable or washable pens the OHTs can be washed and re-used.
* Quite a lot of practice is needed to ensure efficient use of the OHP
* OHTs can only be used one after the other: one OHT cannot be kept on permanent display while the next OHT is being shown; nor can they be used effectively afterwards as part of a wall display.
How can you make the best use of the OHP?
* Practise using the machine before trying it out with a class.
* Make sure you are using the correct OHTs (if you put an ordinary OHT through a photocopier it will melt), and the correct pens (some OHP pens are indelible and some are washable).
* Before the class make sure the OHP is working, try out your OHTs and check that they are focused and can be clearly seen at the back of the room. You may need to change the distance of the machine from the screen or wall and/or adjust the focus.
Visuals can take many forms but the most common are real objects (sometimes called realia) and pictures or photographs. A number of teachers also make very effective use of Cuisenaire rods - small blocks of wood, initially designed to teach children mathematics. They have a variety of uses: for example, the illustration of colours; placed in, on, under, behind an object such as a box they can demonstrate the meaning of prepositions; they can be used to show word stress - one rod for each syllable in the word with a taller, different coloured rod to mark the stressed syllable.
Using visuals has a number of advantages:
* They often illustrate meaning more directly and quickly than through verbal explanation - they cut down unnecessary teacher talking time.
* They attract the students' attention and aid concentration.
* They add variety and interest to a lesson.
* They help make the associated language memorable.
* On permanent display (posters, charts, etc) they can help make a classroom a stimulating and attractive place in which to work.
What are visuals used for?
Among other things visuals are used to:
* arouse interest and concentrate attention at the beginning of a lesson;
* elicit already known language;
* illustrate a new language item, often a vocabulary item;
* create a need for new language which the teacher then satisfies;
* set the scene for a story or roleplay;
* stimulate discussion.
Finding and storing visuals
It is never too early to start collecting material that you think might be useful to show in class. The best source is magazines, but pictures and posters can also be obtained from holiday brochures, tourist information offices, catalogues, etc. If you have something particular in mind it is often easier to draw your own picture than spend a long time looking for one. You can spend some time preparing visuals to keep and use again and you can also make effective use of quick board sketches. You can ask the students to find visuals as part of their homework. They can be asked to bring in a photo of themselves when little or a member of their family, an advertisement they find interesting, even a favourite object. You can often provide visuals from objects commonly found in the classroom or on your person - examples of colours, materials, clothes, etc.
Work out a system for storing visuals you want to keep and organize them so that they become a resource you can keep re-using and adding to. Pictures simply ripped out of magazines look scrappy and unprofessional so it is worth making the visuals as attractive and durable as possible by mounting them on card and perhaps keeping each one in a plastic envelope. It might be useful to put a note on the back of each picture after you have used it to show what you have used it for. Don't forget that many pictures can be used for more than one purpose, in different lessons.
When showing a visual make sure that:
* it is big enough to be seen. Before the lesson prop it up on a table where you would normally stand and look at it from the back of the room to check that it can be seen ia sufficient detail:,
* it is unambiguous (ie as simple as it can be for the purpose it has to fulfil) unless the ambiguity is deliberate and productive;
* you arc holding it steady; when you first show the visual make sure that everyone can see it;
* if necessary you show the visual to each student in turn;
* you display a visual by sticking it to the board, on the wall or on a notice board. This makes it easier to refer to later in the lesson, particularly when you are summarizing what has been done. You may be able to make the visual into a permanent wall display, with the associated language printed on labels. This will serve as a constant reminder to the students of the work done and help make the classroom attractive.
To assess how easily quick board drawings can be used.
1 In a group of two or three, take it in turns to make a board drawing to represent the following: a car accident; a court room; your house or flat; a simple process such as making a cup of tea; two people falling in love; Paris.
2 Make sure that each drawing takes no more than 15 seconds to draw.
3 Discuss how effective the drawings were. Which elements conveyed the meaning most clearly and efficiently?
To discover the ideal viewing distance for visuals.
1 Select a picture about 20 cm x 15 cm with some bold figure in the foreground but a considerable amount of detail in the background.
2 Write a list of five or six questions which first elicit the image as a whole and then elicit some of the detail.
3 Stand a number of your colleagues at distances of lm, 2m, 3m and 4m from you and hold up the picture.
4 Ask the questions and notice the cut-off point in terms of the detail they can perceive.
To practise showing visuals to a group.
1 Select one large (20 cm x 20 cm), one medium-sized (15 cm x 15 cm) and one small (10 cm x 6 cm) picture.
2 Stand in front of your group of colleagues and display each in turn, asking them to look carefully. Then put them on the board.
3 Discuss the different types of activities in which you could use the pictures.
1 It should be noticed how many different uses there are for the pictures.
2 You may be able to stand back and all the group will see the large picture, but you will have to go round and show the small one individually before any oral work can be done. It might be felt that the small one is more suitable for pairwork and groupwork only.
4. Worksheets and workcards
Although there are many excellent published materials available for the EFL classroom there are times when you will want to make your own worksheets to give to students to use in class or out of class for homework. These can take a number of forms: sheets of paper photocopied from a master you have produced, cue cards or role cards to use in pairwork and groupwork, or even home-made games.
Why should you want to make your own worksheets?
* to photocopy a text or exercise from a book which the students would not be able to keep or write in (but see the note below on copyright);
* to adapt published materials; perhaps change some of the questions to suit your students better, or introduce a new activity (by changing a straightforward text into a paragraph-sorting activity, for example);
* to write your own exercises to go with a piece of authentic material;
* to make cards for communication activities.
Making a worksheet or workcard
Many teachers have ready access to photocopiers so worksheets can be easily produced, lake care to make the worksheet as professional looking and as attractive as possible:
* If you write by hand make sure the writing is legible and neat.
* If you use a typewriter or word-processor check for typing errors.
* If you photocopy from published material it is often better to photocopy the whole page, cut out the part you want, glue it to a blank piece of paper and use that as your master.
* Don't make the writing too dense: leave space around the edge of the sheet and spread the work out.
* Include illustrations in the form of simple line drawings or pictures cut out of magazines to add interest (line drawings photocopy well but photographs don't).
* If you can, add colour - by hand to individual sheets and cards or by using a variety of coloured cards or photocopy paper.
* If you want to re-use cards, perhaps as part of a home-made game, it may be worth covering them in plastic or putting them in plastic wallets.
Other points to remember:
* It is often useful to keep a master of worksheets you make so you can use them again. Write on the back of the master details of when and why you used it, and make any changes you need before filing it away.
* As with visuals it is worth organizing and classifying your worksheets so you can lay your hands on them when you need them again.
* Don't waste time or money producing worksheets if you could achieve the same results with the board or the OHP.
Note on copyright
Unless it is explicitly stated that photocopying is allowed (this is sometimes the case with worksheets or tests in teachers' manuals, for example), it is against the law to make a photocopy of any part of a book, assuming the book is in copyright (copyright lasts for fifty years from the author's death). However, a system does exist whereby institutions can apply for a licence to photocopy a limited amount of material from published works; records are kept of copies made and the licence fee collected is distributed to those authors and publishers whose works are copied. Full details are available from The Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P PHE. Alternatively, the publisher can be approached directly for permission.
Always include a reference to any published material you photocopy at the bottom of the worksheet.
To evaluate 'home-made' worksheets.
1 Get together with a few of your colleagues. Each of you bring a worksheet you have made, preferably one you have used or that you plan to use with a class.
2 Give each other feedback on the worksheets. You could evaluate them in terms of their clarity, attractiveness, interest and effectiveness. Try to make one positive suggestion for improvement for each worksheet.
5. The cassette recorder
The cassette recorder is one of the language teacher's most useful tools. Nearly all coursebooks and many other published EFL materials are accompanied by cassettes. In addition, many teachers have access to authentic audio material that can be brought into the classroom - most notably recordings made from the radio, and songs. Most teachers have access to a cassette recorder for use in the classroom and if you can borrow additional machines you can set up communicative groupwork activities....
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