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четверг, 14 июля 2011 г.

Teacher's Tips: Case Study 3.

Dear Teachers and Students:

I invite you to look into the following case-study and evaluate it by posting your comments:

A few years ago I did teacher training, and one of the participants seemed to be more enthusiastic than anyone else. She was passionate about teaching, and her cheer and gusto became evident upon your first encounter with her. She would share her teaching techniques with you and advise you on the best strategies, however, when I attended her own lessons she didn't feel as secure as I thought she would be. She didn't seem to have the background knowledge of her subject, nor could she identify the best methods for teaching. As a result, her students would get bored and lose interest in the subject. If you were training her, what would you recommend to boost her lesson effectiveness?

Feel free to respond in the comment lines below. You can choose "anonymous" if you're concerned about your privacy.

2 комментария:

  1. A few weeks ago I was very enthusiastic about my coming practical training as a teacher of English at school. Last Friday I attended some English lessons of the 6th and 9th grade and decided that it would be quite easy for me to explain to them some grammar rules and make them talk.
    All my zest faded today when I saw that pupils displayed little interest in the lesson. I got stuck at a moment when I could not draw their attention to me. The technique that seemed to be good for me proved very unhelpful for them. Later on I recollected a quote, “If you stop learning today, you stop teaching tomorrow.” Many teachers think that effectiveness comes with time, though in fact, it comes with a lifelong learning. Moreover, one thing is to know some strategies and another is to know how to use them during the lesson.

  2. Dear Violetta,

    Thank you for your comment and thank you for being open about your sense of being at a loss while teaching. It's a humbling experience, but it has definitely moved you up your learning curve. Had you not experienced this yourself I don't think you would have learned as much. And your conclusion is absolutely right (based on your course readings and your own reflections): we cannot expect to be relevant today based on yesterday's knowledge.

    Here're a few things you might consider:

    1. Age group and generational activities: You mentioned that they were not appealed by what you thought would have been appealing to you. When teaching a specific group of people put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself: if I were 13 years old NOW what would my life be like? What would I enjoy: Harry Potter? Social Networks? What books would I read? What would I get excited about?

    2. Engage: Such audience is probably one of the most difficult ones as they need to be engaged, and that involves not only your preparation, but your energy level. You have to find a way to explain something with as minimal "instruction" as possible. It has to be "engagement": a movie-making scene, a group project, drawing, cutting out images from magazines....

    3. BEGINNING: Your power comes in the very beginning. Young teachers don't know that and they're a bit shy at the beginning of the lesson thinking they'll be alright towards the end. However, if you lose your first couple of minutes you will lose your entire lesson. So, think what would grab their attention: it's a media age, so you might want to consider images and/or music/ video, if possible, of course.

    4. Don't be afraid of the noise: Teachers get panicky when the students are loud, but there're different kinds of volume we're dealing with. What you want to achieve is the "working noise" that you can control still, but let them speak and be loud. It's that kind of age. If nothing else, they'll love you for letting them be themselves. Create "noisy" activities: have them walk around the classroom, have them interview each other, have them act things out, etc.

    5. Don't be afraid of mistakes: That was my first concern years ago - I wanted my students to be perfect in their first lesson, I was obsessed with correcting mistakes. Though very beneficial in the long run, it takes away from the smoothness of the lesson and makes the environment a bit rigid. Let them make mistakes and know that you won't be able to correct all of them. Mistakes are a part of learning. After all, you and I make mistakes while speaking English all the time.... Why should our students be any different?