Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Student Teacher's Training Experience

This is from a graduate student at the univertsity. He did teacher training last year and taught at a Junior High School. This is his reflection on teaching Unit 4 in New Horizon English Course 3. He talks about some of the successes he had and some of the mistakes he made. Lastly, he talks about what the ultimate goals of his lessons were. I think that this essay will be very good for anybody about to start their teacher-training. Please read this and write a comment to the author, he would appreciate it!

To readers especially who are going to start teacher-training from this fall,

This is my analysis of Unit 4 in New Horizon English Course 3 (U4 in NH3, for short) and my opinion about teaching English at school. They are based on both my success and failure during my teacher-training last year, so I’m very happy if this helps you prepare teacher-training and if I receive any comment.

1 My Analysis of U4
(GOAL) According to pp.0-1 of NH3, the communicative goal of U4 is to learn how the students make themselves understood in English, using gestures, pictures, or easier words. Also, they will learn some useful expressions such as ‘Could you speak more slowly?’ ‘What does … mean?’ All these are very practical in communication, so learning them will contribute to building of the basis of the students’ practical communicative competence.
(GRAMMAR) New grammatical items in U4 are ‘how to’ and ‘it-for-to.’ Before teaching them, it may be good for the students to review functions of to-infinitives they have learned in the previous year. It will make them less confused about new grammars with those already learned, and help their understanding.
(TEXT) Text of U4 is set up from the viewpoint of culture. The students will not only deepen their understanding of Rakugo, but realize its value accepted even in foreign countries. Furthermore, they will understand differences in behavior at restaurants between Japan and America.

2 Mistakes in My Classroom
(1) At first, time control was the most difficult for me. I took too much time for pattern practice, so I had no time to have the students do the communicative activity. Using flash cards and doing pattern practice quickly are very difficult for beginners. Rapidity is important. I recommend you to see carefully how your instructor does pattern practice.
(2) In my open class, I said “Ato, ippun ne (One more minute),” “Hai, yame (OK, time’s up)” in Japanese while the students were speaking English in the communicative activity. At the meeting of the class some teachers advised me to use “classroom English.” Classroom English is very useful in teaching English, and I think it makes good atmosphere of English classroom and encourages the students to speak English.

3 Successes in My Classroom
(1) In my open class, the students learned speaking and writing with ‘it-for-to’ structure and listening to the text including the structure. For example, they learned speaking by having interview about what was difficult/easy/fun/important for them with their classmates, and then writing by writing sentences based on the information they got in their interview. After I had some of them present the sentences they wrote, they listened to the next in Dialog and tried True/False quizzes to check their comprehension. I think the class becomes interesting and useful for the students if it aims at various kinds of communicative skills.
(2) I challenged making some teaching materials. For example, I made original dialog for teaching ‘it-for-to’ structure and its meaning, because in the introduction of my open class, I want to use easier and more meaningful dialog than in the textbook. I also drew some pictures describing actions ‘get up at six’ ‘study math’ ‘play a video game’ and ‘sing together,’ which were used in the following interview, in order for the students to understand these actions easily. Using visuals are very helpful for them to understand English vocabularies, but please remember not to take much time to make them without thinking your teaching plan well.

4 Through Your Classes, What Do You Want to Tell Your Students?
This is a question which my instructor actually asked me during teacher-training. My answer was, “The most important thing in school days is to understand more about classmates. I really want the students to make friends with them. I don’t want them to get satisfied with unimportant, surface relationship among them.” So I always kept this in my mind when I planned communicative activities. What’s your wish for students you will face soon in your teacher-training? Please remember your school life and observe students, and then think about this question.


rice said...

There are many things which I want to refer in teacher training. Especially, time control and classroom English. Sometimes a teacher have to take his or her time when students don't understand clearly. So time is very difficult. I found classroom English is also important. I will be careful about them when I'll do teacher training.
In your essay, you said, "Through your classes, what do you want to tell your students?" When I read this, I didn't think of the answer of this question. So I want to think about this question while I'll do teacher training in September.
I also think some expression such as "Could you speak more slowly?" "What does ~ mean?" are very practical in communication. It is important for students to learn them. But I had never learned them when I was a junior high school student. Could the students learn to use them through the class?

guwashi said...

I am going to go teaching practice in this Summer, so, this essay helped me.
A peculiarly interesting part is ''4.Through Your Class, What Do You Want to Tell Your Students?''''The most important thing in school days is to understand more about classmates.'' I think an atmosphere of the class(relationship between students and the teacher, and between the students) influences the activities of the class. The atmosphere is very important. To make the atmosphere, the students need to understand each other and trust other students.

gami said...

We had chances to do lessons in front of my friends this semester. But we had never taken notice about time. I understood that time control is very difficult to read your blog. I want to try to see students carefully, and I want to control time well.
I also understood importance of using classroom English. To use English as many times as we can will make good atmosphere of English classroom. I try to use classroom English in my practice teaching.
☆What do you want to tell your students?☆
I had never thought about such a thing, but this is important things for us. I want to think by my practice teaching, and tell students my thought.

forestsheep said...

I am tensed up for thinking the teacher training and my heart beat. I have meny worries about it. For example, whether students can understand, whether students enjoy the class, and whether I can control time and so on.
To advance the class while confirming students' understanding is a natural thing. But this is very difficult. Also I want students to not only acquire knowledge but also have the pleasure and the interest. I treasure making the English environment. That is, I want to teach practical English. Now I feel that we study English only in the classroom. So English quite doesn't enter our life. Grammar is important and essential when we speak English. Clssroom English is practical and communicative.
If I fail in something, it will become a good experience for my future. So I want to do my best in teacher training. I want to find the answer for this question,"what do you want to tell your students?"

kai said...

I want students to find their own way of studying with their friends, and I don't want students to parrot teacher's saying. I think it is important to make best friends too. And I think it is important to cherish their family, seniors, and so on. I want students to have kindness to surrounding people. So, I want to tell kindness, finding their own way, through my class, such as group activities and games. In addition, I think the activity students teach other students is very useful. If I am a teacher, I want to teach this activity.

riverdance said...

I also think time control is very difficult. I've done two lessons(role-platings) in Mr. Unher's video class with my partner. We didn't have a time restriction but these were too long or too short for one lesson. We have to think about 50(or 45) minutes of one lesson. I can make sure it again.

And "What do you want to tell your students?" is difficult question to answer. I should teach some functions, of course. I will tell the students "Have your conviction!"

cube said...

It really benefited me, because you explained your teacher-training experience in plain English and wrote in detail. So, I could understand well your refrections and your thoughts.
In this semester, I had some opportunities to teach English as a group. The students were my college friens who take a course in English education and some foreigners who don't speak English well. At that time, I realized that teaching is difficult afresh. Preparing the class took much time and planning for the lesson needed some ideas how to teach English effectively (My group taught "Do you ~?"/"Yes, I do."/"No, I don't."). And what's more, the class didn't matter about time. So, I have to take care the time when I am a teacher. And I also think using classroom-English is important. As you said, the atmosphere in the class would be better and it could encourage students.
Question: "What do you want to tell your students?"
Answer: If I were a junior high school student (I was), I want to a teacher to teach a lot of things, for example, about foreign countries, politics, importance of friends and so on. So, I want to tell my students a lot of things. And, I have to get a lot of knowledge and information.
Thank you for your advices.

Eri said...

I think it is so important for teachers to make an atmosphere as students can enjoy learning English, so that you could make a good atmosphere was so great!!! I expect that it is difficult to control time as you said. I am anxious about it in my teachers training. And also I also want to find the answer of "What do you want to tell your students?"

apple said...

In this class,we could have a chance for teacher's training. It was very hard for me.For example,speaking faster is not better.In short-play,we spoke English faster unconsciously.It was difficult for beginners to understand.And I agree with his opnion. The time control is very difficult for me.I thought the warm-up was important in the lesson.So I wanted to spend time for warm-up.Because to relax is necessity by warm-up before the lesson.But actually,this is impossible.Another activity has a lot of time.So the time control is hard.
♪ What do you want to tell your student?
When I was junior high school student,I was poor at practicing pronunciation.So I hated pronunciation.Then I thought I wanted to learn it happily.I think there are many students like this.If I can become a English teacher, I will make devices for pronunciation.For example,inviting ALT,rhythm activity like "Chantu".

peanuts said...

When we had class teaching English to foreigner, we knew it was very difficult. First, we failed in the students's ability. There are some excellent students who can understand fast, and there are some students who can't understand fast. So, as we didn't know student's ability, we didn't know if we should teach from which points. We were comfused for it. And, when I was a junior high school student, I liked English. But, in my classmate, some students didn't like English. So, as lesson developing,they decreased thier enthusiasm. As we ought to start English same level, Why did have different level? I think before they couldn't understand, they hadn't be intrested in English. If they like soccer, they will work hard to do. So, a teacher should make students be interested in English. Everything is ok. For example, some difference between Japan and other countrise, life custom and young fashion etc.. So, it is important for studnts to be interested in English like the experiment in science.