If you were me, would you have arranged this classroom in this way today?
a large class a small, business English class a grammar presentation pairwork groupwork a written exam
One of the most important things that teachers have to learn is how to adjust their language to make it appropriate for different groups of learners, particularly lower-level learners.
Five sentences offer good advice, two offer bad advice. Then compare your answers with a partner.
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Teacher – Student Interaction
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Do you agree or disagree?
1. Avoid using too many gestures - they are very distracting for
2. Don't point at learners - it can seem very aggressive.
3. Classrooms are places of study - so they should be largely quiet.
4. If learners want to make a contribution, they should put up their
hand and wait to be asked.
5. Demonstrating activities is sometimes better than explaining
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Which is best?
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Good advice or bad advice?
a Pronounce each word slowly and deliberately.
b Use gestures, pictures and other things that will support what you are
saying to make it easier to understand.
c Speak with natural rhythm and intonation.
d Miss out small words (articles, prepositions, auxiliary verbs and so on) so
that learners can focus on the 'content' words and understand the message.
e Speak at a natural speed, but pause slightly longer after each 'chunk', if
f Try to avoid 'difficult' vocabulary (for example, very idiomatic language).
g Try to avoid complex grammar patterns.
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Teacher Talk Time
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OK, so if you wouldn't mind, open your books and look at the pictures about
what the man does now and what he used to do – OK yeah, they're on page
87 - yeah you can find them in just a sec, doesn't really matter now - OK-
they're just some ideas for you to think about. OK, and then what I want you
to do is, you're going to write some sentences, about four, maybe a few more
- don't worry if you find it difficult, just have a go anyway. So, write some
sentences about things you used to do, but you don't do now. OK? And when
you've done that I want you to compare them with your partner - or you can
work in threes if you'd rather - I don't think it matters too much - OK, so do
you understand all that? - and then I want you to mingle around and then find
someone that you have something in common with. Have you got that? All
right, so let's start - I would like you to write some sentences.
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How about this…
So look at these pictures. [Teacher holds up the book and points to
the pictures.] You can use these for ideas, if you want. And then write
some sentences about things you used to do, but you don't do now.
Write four sentences, please.
[Learners write some sentences.]
OK, let me stop you there - don't worry if you've only written three.
Now compare your sentences with a partner. [Teacher indicates who
should work with who and then learners compare.] OK- good - now, I
want you to stand up - talk to as many people as you can and find
people that used to do the same things as you. OK? So, for this do
you speak or write? [Learner answers 'speak'] OK, and do you speak
to one person or lots of people? [Learner answers: ‘lots’] OK, so,
stand up, please. [Learners stand up and mingle.]
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Think about your next lesson.
What will be the best seating arrangements?
Will they be the same throughout the lesson?
Plan the instructions that you will need to give.
Will you use the board in the lesson? What will you need to write?
When would it be appropriate to erase what you write?
At what points in the lesson will you monitor the learners?
What will you be looking and listening for?
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• language grading
• giving instructions
• early finishers