Teach English in Caohejing Xinxing Jishu KAifAqu - Shanghai Shi

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The value of observed teaching practiceThrough viewing and analyzing the ITTT video example lessons, I have concluded that observing a teacher in practice is one of the most valuable tools a new TEFL teacher can acquire. I have analyzed both lessons to determine their effectiveness as models for building relationships with students, adopting an effective presentation/monitoring style, and executing a lesson plan. Building Relationships with Students A constructive relationship between teacher and students is crucial for learning to occur. The first and second lessons were a stark contrast in how a teacher may or may not relate effectively to his/her students. In the first lesson, the teacher did not appear to value the students. He clearly seemed to want to be somewhere else. He didn't bother to learn their names and made no effort to interact with them throughout the class. He appeared to treat the students as if they were incapable of learning. His attitude seemed rudely critical when students did not respond as he wanted. The students' responses to the teacher reflected the teacher's attitude. They seemed almost fearful of the teacher. Their body language was closed to the teacher. They were unresponsive and I observed lots of frowns. The students appeared puzzled by the teacher's behavior and instructions. They seemed to want to learn and give the teacher a chance. However, eventually they appeared disinterested and politely annoyed. The students participated very little even when cajoled. They appeared intimidated. They were not genuinely encouraged to participate. There was generally no spontaneous participation. In the second lesson, the teacher seemed to value the students. He took time to begin learning their names. He introduced himself. He appeared to enjoy being with them, smiled at them, used humour, and laughed with them. He was very patient and kind. He had lots of praise when students did well and was gentle with his corrections. He actually applauded the students for their work at the end of the class. The students appeared to like the teacher. They smiled at him, opened up to him, laughed with him. They seemed to trust him not to belittle them and, therefore, they spoke freely. There was a great deal of spontaneous and unsolicited participation which produced a very relaxed atmosphere. At the same time, the students were very attentive and nobody appeared to be left behind regardless of ability. At the end of the class, they appeared very satisfied with his work and applauded. Adopting an Effective Presentation/Monitoring Style Presenting a lesson with vocal clarity, appropriate speed, concise instructions, and reliable monitoring is also important. The contrast between the two lessons was substantial in this area as well. In lesson one, the teacher spoke very fast, mumbled, spoke to the floor, and might have had an insulting edge to his voice. His vocal pitch was un-animated. The teacher's instructions were confusing or non-existent. His explanations were also confusing and assumed linguistic knowledge far above the level of his students. He lost the students in techno-speak at the start of the class and they never recovered. I don't remember him using any visual prompts, gestures, or images in any of his instructions or explanations. The students simply were not monitored at all. They were given a worksheet to complete and then another without any review or feedback. As an observer, I had no idea who understood the material and who didn't. However, in lesson two the teacher's voice was upbeat, enthusiastic, and animated. He had a smile in his voice. He spoke with an appropriate speed and pronounced his words clearly. The energy in his voice energized the students. His instructions were clear and concise. He checked to make sure the students understood the instructions before moving on. He used gestures, visual prompts, and images in both his instructions and explanations. His explanations were simple and not tedious. For effective monitoring, the teacher reviewed each exercise with the students and allowed each student opportunities to answer questions and speak through each phase of the lesson. As an observer, I was able to determine which students had grasped the content and which students needed more help. Executing a Lesson Plan A well executed lesson plan is essential for learning. The two lessons revealed very different approaches to the engage, study, and activate phases that comprise the backbone of a successful learning experience. In lesson one, the engage phase was non-existent. The teacher started asking about ?modal auxiliary? verbs (with no response) and then began writing sentences on the board with his back turned to the students. There simply was no activity to get the students thinking and speaking in english. In contrast, the teacher in lesson two spent 20 minutes on the engage phase. He seemed to be aware that engaging the students was a potential obstacle and took extra time to ensure their interest. His activities ensured that the students engaged with each other (pair work) and with the class (feedback time). He was also able to get a sense of their animal vocabulary which was important for continuing with the study stage. By the end of his animal listing activity, every student had been speaking, writing, and apparently thinking in english. The study phase was a disaster in lesson one. The teacher got off on the wrong track by throwing out technical terms like ?modal auxiliary?, ?affirmative use?, ?interrogative use?, and ?negative use? as if the students knew what he was talking about. They were elementary level and clearly didn't. He tossed out worksheets to each student with no explanation on how to complete them and then failed to review the work with the class. Rather than walking about, observing, and offering assistance (if needed) he sat in a chair while the students fumbled. In lesson two, the teacher transitioned from the engage to the study phase very smoothly. He effectively (and humorously) mimed new vocabulary words. He grouped the students into pairs so they could interact and help each other with the worksheets. He introduced each activity with visuals and gestures and gave the students opportunity to review their answers with the class. He was particularly effective at allowing the students to correct their own and each others' errors. He called students by name and praised each person for his/her work. I was impressed by the amount of time he spent on pronunciation since this seemed to be a particular concern for this class. I thought his technique made the drilling exercises actually fun. The activate phase is when the lesson culminates with students using their new language skills to interact in english. The differences between the two lessons were highlighted more than ever in this phase. Lesson one's exercise for the activate phase was poorly explained and the class appeared to not understand what the teacher was asking them to do. The teacher appeared to ?run out the clock? when he realized the class was not going to be able to complete the exercise. As a student in the first lesson, I would have felt like my time and money were wasted. As an observer, I felt sympathy for the students and found this difficult and tedious to watch. Moreover, there was no way to determine if any of the students learned anything. In contrast, the teacher in lesson 2 explained the activate phase exercise with his own drawing which helped the class understand the activity and feel comfortable drawing (many adults are embarrassed to draw). He grouped the students in pairs which encouraged interaction and support. He reviewed the activity with the class in a manner that encouraged conversation and use of the language. When he realized that some groups did not understand they were supposed to create a fantasy animal, he chose not to correct them. Instead, he used their work to get them to practice the focus language of the lesson. This indicated a flexibility that was important to the success of his lesson. After observing the teacher's activate phase, I had a good idea of where the students stood with regard to the language presented. Overall, lesson one was a good example of how not to teach a class. Lesson two, however, was an example of a good teacher implementing good practice. It was informative and inspirational. Analyzing the two ITTT video example lessons provides a wealth of information for anyone about to step foot in the classroom as a teacher. I plan to use this opportunity and all other observations of teaching practice to improve my ability to build relationships with students, adopt an effective presentation/monitoring style, and execute a successful lesson plan.