mmoonneeyy.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. Jeremy Harmer - The Practice of English Language Teaching - 4th mmoonneeyy.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. THE PRACTICE OF. ENGLISH. LANGUAGE. TEACHING. Jeremy Harmer. Longman mmoonneeyy.info THIRD EDITION. COMPLETELY REVISED AND.
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Our aim is to build teachers' confidence, knowledge and classroom abilities - and inspire them to try out new ideas." Jeremy Harmer, Series Editor How to Teach. mmoonneeyy.info The Last Black Unicorn Tiffany Haddish Jeremy Harmer - The Practice of English Language Teaching. Jeremy Harmer. PEARSON. Longman .. with the previous two editions, Anita Harmer provided counsel, support and a sharp and challenging assessment of.
As students we can become bored, or we may find the subject more difficult than we thought it was going to be. They will need to know what equipment is available in their school and how to use it. Now customize the name of a clipboard to store your clips. Educational and cultural background We have already discussed how students at different ages present different characteristics in the classroom. When children start vocalising their m other tongue at around the age of two, we do not expect them to study it; we expect to just watch it emerge, first at the level of one-word utterances, then two-word utterances, until the phrases and sentences they use become gradually more complex as they grow older. This is fo r the students that readers o f this book m ay teach.
Beginners need to be exposed to fairly simple gram m ar and vocabulary which they can understand.
Intermediate students know all this language already and so we will not ask them to concentrate on it. At beginner levels, the need for us to rough-tune our speech see page 37 is very great: But at higher levels, such extreme behaviour is not so important.
Indeed, it will probably come across to the students as patronising. At all levels, teachers need to ascertain what students know before deciding what to focus on. At higher levels, we can use what the students already know as the basis for our work; at lower levels we will, for example, always try to elicit the language that is, try to get the language from the students rather than giving it to them we are going to focus on.
That way we know whether to continue with our plan or whether to amend it then and there because students, perhaps, know more than we expected. Educational and cultural background We have already discussed how students at different ages present different characteristics in the classroom.
Some children come from homes where education is highly valued, and where parental help is readily available. Other children, however, may come from less supportive backgrounds where no such backup is on offer. Older students - especially adults - may come from a variety of backgrounds and, as a result, have very different expectations of what teaching and learning involves. Where students have different cultural backgrounds from the teacher or from each other, they may feel differently from their classmates about topics in the curriculum.
They may have different responses to classroom practices from the ones the teacher expected or the ones which the writers of the coursebook they are using had anticipated.
Some educational cultures find learning by rote memorising facts and figures more attractive than learning by doing where students are involved in project work and experimentation in order to arrive at knowledge.
And it is worth remembering that even where students all live in the same town or area, it is often the case that they come from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
In many English-speaking countries such as Britain, the US, Australia, etc, multilingual classes classes where students come from different countries and therefore have different mother tongues are the norm, especially in private language schools.
As a result, students are likely to represent a range of educational and cultural backgrounds. As teachers, we need to be sensitive to these different backgrounds.
We need to be able to explain what we are doing and why; we need to use material, offer topics and employ teaching techniques which, even when engaging and challenging, will not offend anyone in the group. Where possible, we need to be able to offer different material, topics and teaching techniques at different times to suit the different individual expectations and tastes.
The importance of student motivation A variety of factors can create a desire to learn. Perhaps the learners love the subject they have chosen, or maybe they are simply interested in seeing what it is like. Perhaps, as with young children, they just happen to be curious about everything, including learning. Some students have a practical reason for their study: This desire to achieve some goal is the bedrock of motivation and, if it is strong enough, it provokes a decision to act.
For an adult this may involve enrolling in an English class. For a teenager it may be choosing one subject over another for special study. This kind of motivation - which comes from outside the classroom and may be influenced by a num ber of external factors such as the attitude of society, family and peers to the subject in question - is often referred to as extrinsic motivation, the motivation that students bring into the classroom from outside.
While it may be relatively easy to be extrinsically motivated that is to have a desire to do something , sustaining that motivation can be more problematic. As students we can become bored, or we may find the subject more difficult than we thought it was going to be.
We can do this in a num ber of ways. The activities we ask students to take part in will, if they involve the students or excite their curiosity - and provoke their participation - help them to stay interested in the subject. We need, as well, to select an appropriate level of challenge so that things are neither too difficult nor too easy. We need to display appropriate teacher qualities so that students can have confidence in our abilities and professionalism see Chapter 2.
Students need to feel that the teacher really cares about them; if students feel supported and valued, they are far more likely to be motivated to learn. If students feel they have some influence over what is happening, rather than always being told exactly what to do, they are often more motivated to take part in the lesson.
But however much we do to foster and sustain student motivation, we can only, in the end, encourage by word and deed, offering our support and guidance. Real motivation comes from within each individual, from the students themselves. Responsibility for learning If giving students agency is seen as a key component in sustaining motivation, then such agency is not just about giving students more decision-making power.
It is also about encouraging them to take more responsibility for their own learning. We need to tell them that unless they are prepared to take some of the strain, their learning is likely to be less successful than if they themselves become active learners rather than passive recipients of teaching. In such cases, teachers will not be successful if they merely try to impose a pattern of learner autonomy.
At first we will expect them, for example, to make their own dialogues after they have listened to a model on an audio track. Such standard practice getting students to try out new language is one small way of encouraging student involvement in learning. We might go on to try to get individual students to investigate a grammar issue or solve a reading puzzle on their own, rather than having things explained to them by the teacher.
We might get them to look for the meanings of words and how they are used in their dictionaries see below rather than telling them what the words mean. Getting students to do various kinds of homework, such as written exercises, compositions or further study is one of the best ways to encourage student autonomy. W hat is im portant is that teachers should choose the right kind of task for the students.
It should be within their grasp, and not take up too much of their time - or occupy too little of it by being trivial.
Even more im portantly than this, teachers should follow up homework when they say they are going to, imposing the same deadlines upon themselves as they do on their students. Other ways of prom oting student self-reliance include having them read for pleasure in their own time see pages and find their own resources for language practice in books or on the Internet, for example. At earlier stages of learning, good bilingual dictionaries serve the same function and allow the students a large measure of independence from the teacher.
We will help students to be responsible for their learning if we show them where either in books, in self-access centres or online they can continue studying outside the classroom. For example, we can point them in the direction of suitable websites if they have computer access , or recommend good CD or DVD resources. If students are lucky, their institution will have a self-access centre with a range of resources comprising books including readers - see page , newspapers, magazines, worksheets, listening material, videos and DVDs, and computers with access to the Internet.
Students can decide if and when to visit such centres and what they want to do there. Self-access centres should help students to make appropriate choices by having good cataloguing systems and ensuring that people are on hand to help students find their way around. However, the object of a self-access centre is that students should themselves take responsibility for what they do and make their own decisions about what is most appropriate for them.
O f course, many schools do not have self-access centres, and even where they do, many students do not make full use of them. This is because not all students, as we have said, are equally capable of being or wanting to be autonom ous learners. Despite this fact, we should do our best to encourage them to have agency without forcing it upon them.
Conclusions In this chapter we have: But generally they find it quite hard to say why certain teachers struck them as special. Perhaps it was because of their personality. Possibly it was because they had interesting things to say.
Sometimes, it seems, it was just because the teacher was a fascinating person! One of the reasons that it is difficult to give general descriptions of good teachers is that different teachers are often successful in different ways. Some teachers are more extrovert or introvert than others, for example, and different teachers have different strengths and weaknesses.
A lot will depend, too, on how students view individual teachers and here again, not all students will share the same opinions. But there are also others, perhaps, who do not have what appears to be a natural gift but who are still effective and popular teachers. Such teachers learn their craft through a mixture of personality, intelligence, knowledge and experience and how they reflect on it.
It is true that some lessons and students can be difficult and stressful at times, but it is also worth remembering that at its best teaching can also be extremely enjoyable. In this chapter we will look at what is necessary for effective teaching and how that can help to provoke success - so that for both students and teachers learning English can be rewarding and enjoyable.
They take note, either consciously or subconsciously, of whether we are always the same or whether we can be flexible, depending on what is happening at a particular point in the lesson.
As we have said, teachers, like any other group of hum an beings, have individual differences. However, one of the things, perhaps, that differentiates us from some other professions, is that we become different people, in a way, when we are in front of a class from the people we are in other situations, such as at home or at a party.
Everyone switches roles like this in their daily lives to some extent, but for teachers, who we are or appear to be when we are at work is especially important. Personality Some years ago, in preparation for a presentation to colleagues, I recorded interviews with a large num ber of teachers and students.
Effective teacher personality is a blend between who we really are, and who we are as teachers. We have to be able to present a professional face to the students which they find both interesting and effective.
When we walk into the classroom, we want them to see someone who looks like a teacher whatever else they look like. This does not mean conforming to some kind of teacher stereotype, but rather finding, each in our own way, a persona that we adopt when we cross the threshold. We need to ask ourselves what kind of personality we want our students to encounter, and the decisions we take before and during lessons should help to demonstrate that personality.
This is not to suggest that we are in any way dishonest about who we are - teaching is not acting, after all - but we do need to think carefully about how we appear. Adaptability W hat often marks one teacher out from another is how they react to different events in the classroom as the lesson proceeds. This is im portant, because however well we have prepared, the chances are that things will not go exactly to plan.
We will discuss such magic moments and unforeseen problems on page This is especially im portant when the learning outcomes we had planned for look as if they may not succeed because of what is happening. We have to be flexible enough to work with this and change our destination accordingly if this has to be done or find some other way to get there. Or perhaps we have to take a decision to continue what we are doing despite the interruption to the way we imagined things were going to proceed.
When students see that they can do this, their confidence in their teachers is greatly enhanced. If, for example, the teacher always acts as a controller, standing at the front of the class, dictating everything that happens and being the focus of attention, there will be little chance for students to take much responsibility for their own learning, in other words, for them to have agency see page Being a controller may work for grammar explanations and other information presentation, for instance, but it is less effective for activities where students are working together cooperatively on a project, for example.
In such situations we may need to be prompters, encouraging students, pushing them to achieve more, feeding in a bit of information or language to help them proceed. At other times, we may need to act as feedback providers helping students to evaluate their performance or as assessors telling students how well they have done or giving them grades, etc.
We also need to be able to function as a resource for language information, etc when students need to consult us and, at times, as a language tutor that is, an advisor who responds to what the student is doing and advises them on what to do next. The way we act when we are controlling a class is very different from the listening and advising behaviour we will exhibit when we are tutoring students or responding to a presentation or a piece of writing something that is different, again, from the way we assess a piece of work.
Part of our teacher personality, therefore, is our ability to perform all these roles at different times, but with the same care and ease whichever role we are involved with.
This flexibility will help us to facilitate the many different stages and facets of learning. Rapport A significant feature in the intrinsic motivation of students see page 20 will depend on their perception of what the teacher thinks of them, and how they are treated.
Rapport means, in essence, the relationship that the students have with the teacher, and vice versa. In the best lessons we will always see a positive, enjoyable and respectful relationship. Rapport is established in part when students become aware of our professionalism see above , but it also occurs as a result of the way we listen to and treat the students in our classrooms.
In the first place, students want teachers to know their names rather than, say, just pointing at them. But this is extremely difficult for teachers who see eight or nine groups a week.
How can they remember all their students? One m ethod is to ask the students at least in the first week or two to put name cards on the desk in front of them or stick name badges on to their sweaters or jackets. We can also draw up a seating plan and ask students always to sit in the same place until we have learnt their names. Many teachers use the register to make notes about individual students Do they wear glasses?
Are they tall? We need, therefore, to find ways of doing this that suit us best. At any age, they will be pleased when they realise that their teacher has remembered things about them, and has some understanding of who they are. Listening to students Students respond very well to teachers who listen to them. But we need to listen properly to students in lessons too. And we need to show that we are interested in what they have to say. Respecting students One student I interviewed had absolutely no doubt about the key quality of good teachers.
Correcting students see page 97 is always a delicate event. The problem we face, however, is that while some students are happy to be corrected robustly, others need more support and positive reinforcement.
In speaking activities see Chapter 9 , some students want to be corrected the m om ent they make any mistake, whereas others would like to be corrected later. In other words, just as students have different learning styles and intelligences, so, too, they have different preferences when it comes to being corrected.
But whichever method of correction we choose, and whoever we are working with, students need to know that we are treating them with respect, and not using mockery or sarcasm - or expressing despair at their efforts!
Respect is vital, too, when we deal with any kind of problem behaviour. We could, of course, respond to indiscipline or awkwardness by being biting in our criticism of the student who has done something we do not approve of. Yet this will be counterproductive.
It is the behaviour we want to criticise, not the character of the student in question. Teachers who respect students do their best to see them in a positive light. They are not negative about their learners or in the way they deal with them in class. They do not react with anger or ridicule when students do unplanned things, but instead use a respectful professionalism to solve the problem.
Being even-handed Most teachers have some students that they like more than others. For example, we all tend to react well to those who take part, are cheerful and cooperative, take responsibility for their own learning, and do what we ask of them w ithout complaint. Sometimes we are less enthusiastic about those who are less forthcoming, and who find learner autonomy, for example, more of a challenge.
The reasons that some students are not forthcoming may be many and varied, ranging from shyness to their cultural or family backgrounds. Sometimes students are reluctant to take part overtly because of other stronger characters in the group. And these quiet students will only be negatively affected when they see far more attention being paid to their more robust classmates.
At the same time, giving some students more attention than others may make those students more difficult to deal with later since they will come to expect special treatment, and may take our interest as a licence to become overdominant in the classroom. Treating all students equally not only helps to establish and maintain rapport, but is also a m ark of professionalism.
As professionals we are also asked to perform certain tasks. Part of this preparation resides in the knowledge they have of their subject and the skill of teaching, something we will discuss in detail on pages But another feature of being well-prepared is having thought in advance of what we are going to do in our lessons.
As we walk towards our classroom, in other words, we need to have some idea of what the students are going to achieve in the lesson; we should have some learning outcomes in our head.
O f course, what happens in a lesson does not always conform to our plans for it, as we shall discuss on pages , but students always take comfort from the perception that their teacher has thought about what will be appropriate for their particular class on that particular day. The degree to which we plan our lessons differs from teacher to teacher.
It will often depend, among other things, on whether we have taught this lesson or something like it before. We will discuss planning in detail in Chapter Keeping records Many teachers find the administrative features of their job taking the register, filling forms, writing report cards irksome, yet such record keeping is a necessary adjunct to the classroom experience.
There is one particularly good reason for keeping a record of what we have taught. It works as a way of looking back at what we have done in order to decide what to do next. It is im portant for professional teachers to try to evaluate how successful an activity has been in terms of student engagement and learning outcomes. If we do this, we will start to amend our teaching practice in the light of experience, rather than getting stuck in sterile routines.
It is one of the characteristics of good teachers that they are constantly changing and developing their teaching practice as a result of reflecting on their teaching experiences. Being reliable Professional teachers are reliable about things like timekeeping and homework. It is very difficult to berate students for being late for lessons if we get into the habit for whatever reason of turning up late ourselves.
It is unsatisfactory to insist on the prom pt delivery of homework if it takes us weeks to correct it and give it back. Teacher skills As we have suggested, who we are and the way we interact with our students are vital components in successful teaching, as are the tasks which we are obliged to undertake. But these will not make us effective teachers unless we possess certain teacher skills. Managing classes Effective teachers see classroom management as a separate aspect of their skill.
We will know how to put students into groups, or when to start and finish an activity.
We will have worked out what kinds of instructions to give, and what order to do things in. We will have decided whether students should work in groups, in pairs or as a whole class. We will have considered whether we want to move them around the class, or move the chairs into a different seating pattern see pages We will discuss classroom management in more detail in Chapter 3.
Successful class management also involves being able to prevent disruptive behaviour and reacting to it effectively when it occurs see pages Matching tasks and groups Students will learn more successfully if they enjoy the activities they are involved in and are interested or stimulated by the topics we or they bring into the classroom.
But even in such situations there is a lot we can do to make sure we cater for the range of needs and interests of the students in our classes see pages Many teachers have the unsettling experience of using an activity with, say, two or three groups and having considerable success only to find that it completely fails in the next class. However, what such experiences clearly suggest is that we need to think carefully about matching activities and topics to the different groups we teach.
Whereas, for example, some groups seem happy to work creatively on their own, others need more help and guidance. Where some students respond well to teacher presentation with the teacher acting as a controller , others are much happier when they investigate language issues on their own. Variety Good teachers vary activities and topics over a period of time.
The best activity type will be less motivating the sixth time we ask the students to take part in it than it was when they first came across it.
Much of the value of an activity, in other words, resides in its freshness. But even where we use the same activity types for some reason because the curriculum expects this or because it is a feature of the materials we are using , it is im portant to try to ensure that learner roles are not always the same.
Sometimes they might compare answers in pairs; sometimes they might interview each other about the text; sometimes they m ight do all the work on their own. Variety works within lessons, too. It is not just children who can become bored by doing the same thing all the time. However, we might make a different kind of activity, such as a role-play, last for longer than this. A lot depends on exactly what we are asking students to do.
We will discuss ways of using and adapting coursebooks in more detail in Chapter Destinations W hen we take learning activities into the classroom, we need to persuade our students of their usefulness. Good activities should have some kind of destination or learning outcome, and it is the job of the teacher to make this destination apparent.
Students need to have an idea of where they are going, and more importantly, to recognise when they have got there.
Nevertheless, even in such circumstances, it will be helpful if we can make sure that students leave the class with some tangible result. That is why a summing-up, or feedback session at the end of a discussion, for example, is so valuable. Teacher knowledge Apart from the ability to create and foster good teacher-student rapport and the possession of skills necessary for organising successful lessons, teachers need to know a lot about the subject they are teaching the English language.
They will need to know what equipment is available in their school and how to use it. They need to know what materials are available for teachers and students. They should also do their best to keep abreast of new developments in teaching approaches and techniques by consulting a range of print material, online resources, and by attending, where possible, development sessions and teacher seminars.
The language system Language teachers need to know how the language works.
This means having a knowledge of the grammar system and understanding the lexical system: They need to be aware of pronunciation features such as sounds, stress and intonation. These different features of the language system are explained in Chapter 5.
Students have a right to expect that teachers of the English language can explain straightforward gram m ar concepts, including how and when they are used. They expect their teachers to know the difference between the colloquial language that people use in informal conversation and the more formal language required in more formal settings.
They also expect teachers to be able to demonstrate and help them to pronounce words correctly and with appropriate intonation. W hen students have doubts about the language, they frequently ask their teachers to explain things. But at other times the issue is one of great complexity and even the most experienced teacher will have difficulty giving an instant answer.
In other words, our knowledge of the language system may not be adequate for certain kinds of on-the-spot questions about subtleties.
Moreover, sometimes the question is not especially relevant - it is a distraction from what is going on in the lesson.
But you can find the answer yourself if you go to this book. Students will realise that these answers are perfectly appropriate when the teacher does indeed return for the next lesson with the information that they have promised. Materials and resources When students ask the kind of complicated questions m entioned above, good teachers know where to find the answers. We need, in other words, to know about books and websites where such technical information is available.
No one expects teachers to be all-knowing in this respect: If teachers are using a coursebook, students expect them, of course, to know how the materials work. Their confidence will be greatly enhanced if they can see that the teacher has looked at the material they are using before the lesson, and has worked out a way of dealing with it.
Classroom equipment Over the last few decades the growth in different types of classroom equipment has been incredible. Once upon a time we only had pens, board and chalk to work with. But then along came the tape recorder, the language laboratory, video machines, the overhead projector, computers, data projectors and interactive whiteboards these are all described in Appendix A on page Some teachers are more comfortable with these various pieces of educational technology than others.
This will always be the case. There is no reason why everyone should be equally proficient at everything. However, students will expect that teachers should know how to use the equipm ent that they have elected to use.
Learning how to use various types of equipment is a major part of m odern teacher training. However, we should do everything in our power to avoid being overzealous about the equipm ent itself. It is only worth using if it can do things that other equipment or routines cannot. The essentials of good teaching - i. W hat has changed recently, though, is that students can do things they were unable to do before thanks to technical innovation.
Thus m odern podcasts downloadable listening which can be played on individual MP3 players give students many more listening opportunities than ever before.
They can burn CDs with examples of their work and the materials used in class to take home when a course has finished. They can search for a wide range of language and information resources in a way that would have been impossible a few years ago. As teachers, we need to do everything we can to keep abreast of technological change in educational resources.
But we should never let technology drive our decisions about teaching and learning. We should, instead, decide what our learners want to achieve and only then see what kind of techniques and technology will help them to do this. Keeping up-to-date Teachers need to know how to use a variety of activities in the classroom, of course, but they also need to be constantly finding out about new ways of doing things. There is now a wealth of information about teaching on the Internet, too. Magazines, books and websites often contain good descriptions of new activities and how to use them.
In the first place, it is difficult for newly qualified teachers to keep everything in their heads at the same time as they struggle with the demands of a new job. Nevertheless, as they learn their craft, we would expect them to be hungry for as much knowledge in these areas as possible since this will make them better teachers. Secondly, this kind of knowledge is not static, hence the need to keep up-to-date.
Things change almost daily. New books, classroom equipm ent and computer software are being produced all the time, just as teachers keep coming up with wonderful new ways of doing old things such as grammar presentation or discussion activities. Staying in touch with these developments can seem daunting, of course, because of the pace of change, but it is worth remembering how deadly it would be if things always stayed the same. Art or science? Is teaching language an art, then, or is it a science?
As this chapter has shown, there are good grounds for focusing its almost-scientific attributes. Understanding the language system and finding the best ways to explain it is some kind of a scientific endeavour, especially when we continue to research its changes and evolution. In the same way, some of the technical skills that are required of teachers procedures for how to do things, a constant attention to innovation in educational technology and materials design need to be almost scientific in their rigour.
Yet teaching is an art, too. It works when the relationship that is created between teacher and students, and between the students in a group, is at its best. If we have managed to establish a good rapport with a group, almost anything is possible.
We have discussed some of the key requirements in creating such a rapport, yet behind everything we have said lurks the possibility of magic - or a lack of it. Because the way some teachers are able to establish fantastic rapport, or get students really interested in a new activity may be observable, but trying to work out exactly how it was done or why it happened may be more difficult.
For as we have said, good teachers listen and watch, and use both professional and personal skills to respond to what they see and hear.
These include how the classroom space is organised, whether the students are working on their own or in groups and how we organise classroom time. We also need to consider how we appear to the students, and how we use our most valuable asset - our voice. The way we talk to students - and who talks most in the lesson - is another key factor in classroom management. Successful classroom management also involves being able to deal with difficult situations - an issue we will discuss on pages The teacher in the classroom O ur physical presence can play a large part in our management of the classroom environment.
The way we move and stand, and the degree to which we are physically demonstrative can have a clear effect on the management of the class. Most importantly, the way we are able to respond to what happens in class, the degree to which we are aware of what is going on, often marks the difference between successful teaching and less satisfactory lessons. All teachers, like all people, have their own physical characteristics and habits, and they will take these into the classroom with them.
Proximity Teachers need to consider how close they should be to the students they are working with. Some students are uncomfortable if their teacher stands or sits close to them. Appropriacy Deciding how close to the students you should be when you work with them is a matter of appropriacy. So is the general way in which teachers sit or stand in classrooms.
Many teachers create an extremely friendly atmosphere by crouching down when they work with students in pairs. In this way, they are at the same level as their seated students. However, some students find this informality worrying. Some teachers are even happy to sit on the floor, and in certain situations this may be appropriate. But in others it may well lead to a situation where students are put off concentrating. All the positions teachers take - sitting on the edge of tables, standing behind a lectern, standing on a raised dais, etc - make strong statements about the kind of person the teacher is.
It is important, therefore, to consider what kind of effect such physical behaviour has so that we can behave in a way which is appropriate to the students we are teaching and the relationship we wish to create with them.
If we want to manage a class effectively, such a relationship is crucial. Movement Some teachers tend to spend most of their class time in one place - at the front of the class, for example, or to the side, or in the middle. Others spend a great deal of time walking from side to side, or striding up and down the aisles between the chairs. Although this, again, is to some extent a m atter of personal preference, it is worth remembering that motionless teachers can bore students, while teachers who are constantly in m otion can turn their students into tennis spectators, their heads moving from side to side until they become exhausted.
Most successful teachers move around the classroom to some extent. How m uch we move around in the classroom will depend on our personal style, where we feel most comfortable for the management of the class and whether or not we want to work with smaller groups.
Awareness In order to manage a class successfully, the teacher has to be aware of what students are doing and, where possible, how they are feeling. This means watching and listening just as carefully as teaching. This will be difficult if we keep too much distance or if we are perceived by the students to be cold and aloof because then we will find it difficult to establish the kind of rapport we m entioned in Chapter 2.
Awareness means assessing what students have said and responding appropriately. This means being able to perceive the success or failure of what is taking place in the classroom, and being flexible enough see page to respond to what is going on. The exact nature of this contact will vary from teacher to teacher and from class to class. Finally, it is not just awareness of the students that is im portant.
We also need to be self-aware, in order to try to gauge the success or otherwise of our behaviour and to gain an understanding of how our students see us. Using the voice Perhaps our most im portant instrum ent as teachers is our voice. How we speak and what our voice sounds like have a crucial impact on classes. W hen considering the use of the voice in the management of teaching, there are three issues to think about.
A udibility Clearly, teachers need to be audible. They must be sure that the students at the back of the class can hear them just as well as those at the front. But audibility cannot be divorced from voice quality: Teachers do not have to shout to be audible. Good voice projection is more im portant than volume though the two are, of course, connected. Variety It is im portant for teachers to vary the quality of their voices - and the volume they speak at - according to the type of lesson and the type of activity.
The kind of voice we use to give instructions or introduce a new activity will be different from the voice which is most appropriate for conversation or an informal exchange of views or information.
In one particular situation, teachers often use very loud voices, and that is when they want students to be quiet or stop doing something see the next section. However, for teachers who almost never raise their voices, the occasional shouted interjection may have an extremely dramatic effect, and this can sometimes be beneficial. Conservation lust like opera singers, teachers have to take great care of their voices.
Breathing properly means being relaxed in the shoulders, for example, and not slumped backwards or forwards , and using the lower abdomen to help expand the rib cage, thus filling the lungs with air. It is im portant too that teachers vary their voices throughout the day, avoiding shouting wherever possible, so that they can conserve their vocal energy.
It does, however, require teachers to empathise with the people they are talking to by establishing a good rapport with them. One group of people who seem to find it fairly natural to adapt their language to their audience are parents when they talk to their young children. Studies show that they use more exaggerated tones of voice and speak with less complex grammatical structures than they would if they were talking to adults.
Their vocabulary is generally more restricted, they make more frequent attempts to establish eye contact and they use other forms of physical contact. They generally do these things unconsciously. Though the teacher-student relationship is not the same as that between a parent and child, this subconscious ability to rough-tune the language is a skill that teachers and parents have in common.
Rough-tuning is the simplification of language which both parents and teachers make in order to increase the chances of their being understood. Neither group sets out to get the level of language exactly correct for their audience. They rely, instead, on a general perception of what is being understood and what is not. Because they are constantly aware of the effect that their words are having, they are able to adjust their language use - in terms of grammatical complexity, vocabulary use and voice tone - when their listener shows signs of incomprehension.
In order to rough-tune their language, teachers need to be aware of three things. Firstly, they should consider the kind of language that students are likely to understand. Secondly, they need to think about what they wish to say to the students and how best to do it. And thirdly, they need to consider the m anner in which they will speak in terms of intonation, tone of voice, etc.
But these considerations need not be detailed. To be successful at rough- tuning, all we have to do is speak at a level which is more or less appropriate. Experienced teachers rough-tune the way they speak to students as a m atter of course. Many teachers also use gestures to demonstrate things like the past tense pointing back over their shoulders.
They use facial expressions to show emotions such as happiness and sadness, and mime to demonstrate actions such as opening a book or filling a glass and drinking. Gesture, expression and mime should become a natural adjunct to the language we use, especially with students at lower levels.
Giving instructions This issue of how to talk to students becomes crucial when we give them instructions. There are two general rules for giving instructions: Before giving instructions, therefore, teachers must ask themselves the following questions: W hat is the im portant information I am trying to convey? W hat must the students know if they are to complete this activity successfully? Which should come next? When teachers give instructions, it is im portant for them to check that the students have understood what they are being asked to do.
This can be achieved either by asking a student to explain the activity after the teacher has given the instruction or by getting someone to show the other people in the class how the exercise works.
Where students all share the same m other tongue which the teacher also understands , a member of the class can be asked to translate the instructions into their m other tongue as a check that they have understood them. Student talk and teacher talk There is a continuing debate about the am ount of time teachers should spend talking in class. Overuse of TTT is inappropriate because the more a teacher talks, the less chance there is for the students to practise their own speaking - and it is the students who need the practice, not the teacher.
If a teacher talks and talks, the students will have less time for other things, too, such as reading and writing. Good TTT may have beneficial qualities, however. Such comprehensible input - where students receive rough-tuned input in a relaxed and unthreatening way - is an im portant feature in language acquisition.
In other words, teachers who just go on and on, using language which is not especially useful or appropriate, are not offering students the right kind of talking, whereas teachers who engage students with their stories and interaction, using appropriate comprehensible input will be helping them to understand and acquire the language. The best lessons, therefore, are ones where STT is maximised, but where at appropriate m oments during the lesson the teacher is not afraid to summarise what is happening, tell a story or enter into discussion, etc.
Good teachers use their comm on sense and experience to get the balance right. Using the Li All learners of English, whatever their situation, come to the classroom with at least one other language, their m other tongue often called their LI. We need to ask ourselves, therefore, whether it is appropriate for them to use the LI in class when their main object is, after all to learn an L2 in our case English.
The first thing to remember is that, especially at beginner levels, students are going to translate what is happening into their LI whether teachers want them to or not. It is a natural process of learning a foreign language. However, where teacher and students share the same LI it would be foolish to deny its existence and potential value.
Once we have given instructions for an activity, for example, we can ask students to repeat the instructions back to us in the LI - and this will tell us whether they have understood what they have to do. W hen we have complicated instructions to explain, we may want to do this in the LI, and where students need individual help or encouragement, the use of the LI may have very beneficial effects.
Since students translate in their heads anyway, it makes sense to use this translation process in an active way. For example, we can ask students to translate words, phrases or sentences into their LI, and then, perhaps, back into English without looking at the original. This helps them to think carefully about meaning and construction.
Teachers may translate particular words, especially those for concepts and abstractions, when other ways of explaining their meaning are ineffective.
At a more advanced level, we can have students read a text, say, in their LI, but get them to ask and answer questions about it, or summarise it, in English. When teaching pronunciation, it is often useful if students can find an equivalent sound in the LI for the English one they are trying to produce. We may want to explain to them how English has two different sounds where the LI does not make such a distinction e. Some teachers like to use films in the LI with English subtitles; judging whether the subtitles offer an adequate version of the original can offer considerable insight for higher- level students.
However, in many classrooms around the world there are students with a variety of different Lis and, as a result, the use of LI becomes more problematic. In such situations, it is still useful to get students to think of similarities and differences between their LI and the L2, but they will have to explain these differences in English.
Although we have seen that the LI can be used as an enabling tool, English should predominate in an English lesson, especially where the teacher is concerned since, as we have seen, he or she is the best provider of comprehensible input that the students have got. Not only that, but English is the language they are learning, not their LI.
However, despite our best efforts, some students find it difficult to use English in the classroom, and we will discuss that issue on pages Creating lesson stages Since, as we said in Chapter 2, teachers needs to provide variety, then clearly we have to include different stages in our lessons. Where possible and appropriate, we will tell the students what they will be doing or, in a different kind of lesson, discuss with them what they can achieve as a result of what they are going to do.
It helps students if they are made clearly aware of the end of something and the beginning of what is coming next. This can sometimes be difficult, especially when teachers try to draw a speaking activity to a conclusion, or when students are working in groups. Sometimes when teachers speak loudly, the students just speak louder in order not to be bothered by the interruption.
To counter this, some teachers speak quietly in order to force the students to listen to them. Another m ethod is for the teacher to raise his or her hand. When individual students see this, they raise their hands briefly in reply to indicate that they are now going to be quiet and wait for the next stage.
W hen we have brought an activity or a lesson to a finish, it helps if we provide some kind of closure: This is unfortunate because it leaves unfinished business behind and a sense of incompleteness. It is much better to round the lesson off successfully. Ideally, too, we will be able to give the students some idea of what they will be doing next, and create enthusiasm for it so that they come to their next lesson with a positive attitude.
The stages of a lesson will be a particular concern when planning lessons see Chapter Different seating arrangements In many classrooms around the world students sit in orderly rows. Sometimes, their chairs have little wooden palettes on one of the arms to provide a surface to write on.
Sometimes, the students will have desks in front of them.
At the front of such classrooms, often on a raised platform so that all the students can see them , stands the teacher. In contrast, there are other institutions where you can find students sitting in a large circle around the walls of the classroom.
Or you may see small groups of them working in different parts of the room. Sometimes, they are arranged in a horseshoe shape around the teacher. Sometimes, in a class of adults, it is not immediately obvious who the teacher is. Are schools which use a variety of seating plans progressive or merely modish, for example? Is there something intrinsically superior about rigid seating arrangements - or are such classrooms the product of a particular methodological orthodoxy?
Is one kind of seating arrangement better than another? W hat are the advantages of each? We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of various seating arrangements. Orderly rows Having the students sit in rows can appear somewhat restrictive, but there are advantages to this arrangement. The teacher has a clear view of all the students and the students can all see the teacher - in whose direction they are facing. It makes lecturing easier, enabling the teacher to maintain eye contact with the people he or she is talking to.
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