Thursday, June 30, 2005

Should Teachers Call on Shy Students?

A theme of our class has been how/whether teachers should call on encourage shy students to participate actively in the class through calling on them, doing skits, or presentations. One student, Gami, noted in her blog that speaking/presentation activities such as "Reader's Theatre" can be difficult when there are shy students in the class. Thus, teachers should think carefully before trying such activities.

In her blog, she writes
"I think many of students like to do movement , but there are not only positive and cheerful students but also negative and quiet students in the classes . When I attended "Reader's theater" , one of real junior high school teacher told us that there are students who do not speak in the class . There are many kinds of students , and I think to use this way is very difficult for teachers . I want to try to use this way , but I want to pay attention to students' character at first . "

Another student, Tomi , takes a slightly different stance. He wrote the following in his blog

"I think it's better English teacher call on shy student. Probably, most of students have some occasions that they must present something in front of many peple in the future. Actually, I have many such occasions since I enterd the university, so if the teacher leave shy student alone in the class, though he/she might be good temporarily, he/she will have a problem in the future."

Lastly, an English teacher from Brazil, Bee wrote as a comment in my blog that, for the most part, her students really enjoy doing presentations and she also talked about her techniques for calling on volunteers.

I would like to ask this question to current teachers:

How do you handle students in your classroom who are reluctant to speak?

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.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Talk to Current English Teachers

Hi, I have made this blog so that the aspiring EFL teachers in my English Teaching Methodologies III class can talk to current English teachers. Every week, I will try to invite current English teachers to talk about their work.

This week's topic is:
★☆"What do you like the most and what do you like the least about teaching English?"  ★☆

Dear teachers,
To answer this question, please add a comment to this post.