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WHATISCLASSROOMINTERACTION?
Interaction in the classroominvolves the process of communication. This can take place
between teacher and student (s), between individual or groups of students, or even
between student (s) and textbook or cassette. Classroom interaction may take several
forms, and it is not necessarily always teacher directed. Penny Ur (1996:228) gives a
useful summary of the most typical interactions which occur in a language classroom:
Group work
Students work in small groups on tasks that entail interaction: conveying
information, for example, or group decision-making. The teacher walks around
listening, intervenes little, if at all.
 Closed-ended teacher questioning
Only one ´right´ response gets approved. Sometimes cynically called the ´Guess
what the teacher wants you to say´ game.
 Individual work
The teacher gives a task or set of tasks, and students work on them independently;
the teacher walks around monitoring and assisting where necessary.
 Choral responses
The teacher gives a model which is repeated by all the class in the chorus; or gives
a cue which is responded to in chorus.
 Collaboration
Students do the samesort of tasks as in´Individual work´, but work together, usually
in pairs, to try to achieve the best results they can. The teacher may or may not
intervene.
 Student initiates, teacher answers
For example, in a guessing game: the students think of questions and the teacher
responds; but the teacher decides who asks.
 Full-class interaction
The students debate a topic or do a language task as a class; the teacher may
intervene occasionally, to stimulate participation or to monitor.
 Teacher talk
This may involve some kind of silent student response, such as writing from
dictation, but there is no initiative on the part of the student.
 Self-access
Students choose their own learning tasks, and work autonomously.
 Open-ended teacher questioning
Module N°2:Classroom Management
2:
There are anumber of possible´right´answers, sothat more students answer each
cue.
1. TEACHERTALK
1.1. WhyisTeacherTalkImportant?
Nunan (1995:189) identifies two main reasons for the importance of
focusing on teacher talk:
Teacher talk is of crucial importance, not only for the organization of the
classroom but also for the processes of acquisition. It is important for the
organization and management of the classroom because it is through
language that teachers either succeed or fail to implement their teaching
plans. In terms of acquisition, teacher talk is important because it is probably
the major source of comprehensible target language input the learner is
likely to receive.
The features of teacher talk which we will focus on are: the quantities of
teacher talk which learners are exposed to; the modifications which teachers
make to their speech in the classroom; and the types of questions which
teachers put to learners.
1.2. Quantity
L2 research has generally reflected these findings, putting the percentage of
teacher talkeven higher in most cases –around 70% to 80% (Legaretta 1977;
Enright 1984; Ramirez et al.1986).
Obviously when considering the quantity of teacher talk in a language class
it is important to keep in mind the condition that there will be considerable
variation depending on the type of class, the size of the class, the teacher,
and so on.
TASK
Done
• Look at Ur´s list of patterns of interaction above. Put them in order
from the most student-centred (the interaction in which the students
are most actively participating) to the most teacher-centred (the
interaction in which the teacher is most actively participating).
3:
If a teacher believes that learners have to use the target language best
through practice – then that teacher will probably try to keep his/her talk to
a minimum and try to include many activities in which learners practice in
pairs or groups. If, on the other hand, a teacher believes that his/her talk is
a valuable source of comprehensible input, then the dominance of teacher
talk in the classroomwill be perceived as a positive contribution to learners´
target language acquisition.
Whatkindofteachertalkis´good´ andwhatkindis´bad´?
There are a number of factors which we need to take into account when
deciding how appropriate (or not) teacher talk is.
Nunan (1995:190) identifies three factors:
1. The point in the lesson in which the talking occurs.
2. What prompts the teacher talk: whether it is planned or spontaneous,
and, if spontaneous, whether the resulting digression is helpful or not.
3. The value of the talk as potentially useful for acquisition.
1.3. TeacherToClassQuestions
Why do teachers use questions in the language classroom – why are they
such a fundamental part of pedagogy? Probably because, as Long (1981)
points out, they make interaction in the classroom easier by clearly
establishing the topic, by forcing students to speak (and therefore their L2
knowledge can be assessed by the teacher), and by clearly showing who is
expected to speak next.
Some main types of questions found in the L2 classroom and the effects
which seem to have on learners are:
IRF:According To Sinclair And Coulthard, It Is:
Initiation –Response–Feedback'
In ´IRF´ the teacher initiates an exchange, which is usually in the form of a
question (=Initiation). A learner then answers the question (=Response).
Then the teacher gives feedback, for example in the form of assessment,
correction or comment (=Feedback).
Example
4:
Teacher: “What did you do this weekend?” = Initiation
Student: “I went to the cinema” = Response
Teacher: “Good” = Feedback (comment)
Or
Teacher: “What did you do this weekend?” = Initiation
Student: “I goed cinema” = Response
Teacher: “Not ´goed´ - went” = Feedback (correction)
DisplayVersusReferentialQuestions
A display question occurs when a teacher asks a student a question for
which he/she (the teacher) already knows the answer. The question is thus
merely for the purpose of ´displaying´ language. A referential question, on
the other hand, is one to which the teacher does not know the answer. It
appears that display questions occur far more in language classrooms than
referential questions, because the language classroom is often more
concerned with linguistic content.
Example:
“What's the past tense of ´go´?” than with real communication.
The implication is that it is somehow ´better´ for teachers to use referential
questions rather than display questions in the language classroom. Why is
this so? Because the more English students are encouraged to produce, the
more English they will be likely to learn.
OpenVersusClosedQuestions
Some referential questions tend to be ´closed´ questions (i.e. questions
which require no more than one word or a yes/no answer) as opposed to
´open´ questions (i.e. questions which require learners to elaborate in a
response).
Examples:
 Hello, Eva, how are you?
 Last Sunday you went to the cinema, didn't you?
 Was it a good film?
5:
 Hans, did you go to the beach?
 Did you enjoy it?
More ComplexQuestionTypes
Here, we can find: Comprehension checks, confirmation checks and
clarification requests.
Comprehension checks involve the teacher checking that the student has
understood the message by eliciting a short response (e.g. “How many
sentences do you have to write?” etc.).
Confirmation checks directly ask the learner for confirmation that the
message has been understood (e.g. “Do you understand?” “Is that clear?”
and clarificationrequest aremuch more open-ended, and askthe learner to
elaborate or clarify an answer (“Why do you think we use the present
here?”).
1.4. WaitTime
Studies have shown that after asking a question, teachers tend to wait less
than a second before nominating a student to respond, and then only one
second more for the response before either giving the answer themselves,
or rephrasing the question, or calling on another student to answer the
question.
By comparing classes where wait times was increased from one second to
three to five seconds after asking a question, the following effects were
observed:
 An increase in the average length of student responses;
 Unsolicited (but appropriate) student responses increased;
 Failures to respond decreased;
When talking to his/her learners, an ´ideal´ L2 teacher would…
TASK
Done
• How would an ´ideal´ teacher, according to SLA researchers,
talk? Complete the following list as many points as you feel
appropriate:
6:
1.
2.
2. CORRECTIVEFEEDBACK
Feedback in the languageclassroomis information that is given to the learner about
his or her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving
this performance.
(Ur. 1996:242) feedback is primarily given by the teacher, and may be given in a
number of ways: the teacher may say “Yes, good!” to a learner who has answered
a question correctly; a grade or mark may be given to a piece of written work, or
an exam, or an oral activity; ateacher may write comments is the margin of learner's
essay.
2.1. Errors AndMistakes
A mistake is a kind of ´slip of the tongue´. A learner, or a native speaker,
makes amistake when he/she saysomething incorrect but which the learner
is capable of correcting. In other words, he/she ´knows´ the correct form,
but merely makes an absent-minded ´mistake´. An error, on the other hand,
cannot be self-corrected, simply because the learner does not ´know´ the
form.
Sometimes it is difficult for a teacher to know which the learner has made:
an error or mistake. A rule of thumb seems to be that the teacher gives the
learner a chance to self-correct, for example by pointing out the existence
of an error and waiting to see whether the students can self-correct or not.
If the learner can correct him/herself, then it is obviously a ´mistake´. If not,
then it may be an ´error´.
Errors are usually categorized under four broad areas:
 Grammar
 Pronunciation
 Meaning
 Appropriacy
a) How you come to school?.
TASK
Done
• Categorise each of the following sentences under one of
the heading above: error or mistake.
7:
b) I go always to France for my holidays.
c) I don't like traveling by sheep.
d) (Mike speaking to his boss) That's a load of rubbish, mate.
e) She suggested us to go home.
f) Oh, of course! - you're Peter, aren't you? (rising intonation on aren't
you)
g) (Student in pub) Give me a beer.
h) She went to the library to buy a book.
2.2. DifferentViewsOnError AndCorrection
a. In the cognitive code-learning view of languageacquisition,mistakes are
seen as an unfortunate but unavoidable part of the learning process.
Therefore mistakes should always be corrected, with a view to
preventing their recurrence.
b. According to interlanguage theory, mistakes are not at all regrettable,
but rather are an integral and important part of learning a language.
Giving learners feedback on mistakes (and correct language use) is seen
as directly contributing to their L2 development, enabling them to bring
their language closer to target language norms.
c. According to Krashen's his Monitor theory, corrective feedback from the
teacher does not help a learner ´acquire´ the language, it only
contributes to the learner's conscious ´monitoring´ of output. Hence the
main activity of the teacher, according to Krashen's model, should be
not to correct, but to provide the learner with plenty of comprehensible
input from which he/she can acquire the language.
d. In communicative language teaching, the main aim is to convey and
receive meaningful messages – i.e. to communicate. Perfect linguistic
competence. Is not strictly necessary in order to be able to
communicate successfully, thus not all mistakes which learners make
need to be corrected. Rather, correction should focus on those mistakes
which impede communication (use), not merely on mistakes of
´grammar´ (usage).
2.3. TheCorrectiveFeedbackProcess
We will take a look at some of the mechanics of corrective feedback – the
who, how and when of correcting students.
2.4. WhoCorrects?
8:
a) The teacher's job appears to be to encourage self-correction where
possible.We sawthat this would only be possibleif the student had made
a ´mistake´ rather than a ´error´.
b) Getting a student to correct him/herself gives the teacher information
about the student's state of interlanguage, and also can be argued to
encourage the student to monitor his/her output more closely for
accuracy.
c) Communicative interaction in group work may provide as much, and
possibly more, appropriate corrective feedback to learners as teacher-
fronted class tasks.
2.5. HowDoWeEncourage Self-Correction?
See information written by Chaudron (1988) of the various ways in which
teachers tend to give feedback to students on their oral performance.
2.6. When?
It all depends”. Basically it depends on the aim of the activity in which they
are engaged, and on the activity type. According to Chaudron, “when
instructional focus is on form, corrections occur more frequently”.
If the focus of the activity is on accuracy, there will be a tendency to correct
learners, while if the focus is on fluency, teachers are generally more likely
to interrupt communication, unless the error is a´global´one (an error which
impedes communication) rather than a ´local´ one (an error which does not
impede communication).
1. Students are writing a paragraph about a holiday in ones or twos.
2. Students are discussing the question of pollution in small groups.
TASK
Done
• Look at the following situations and decide if you would
correct or not. If so, say when you would do so.
9:
3. Students are debating on the right of women in an open class focus.
4. Students are discussing role-playing a public meeting after reading a
text, and are preparing their side of the argument.
5. Students are giving the answer to a listening comprehension exercise in
class feedback.
6. Students are checking a grammar exercise in open class.
7. Students are giving the teacher examples of the target structure ´used
to´ and the teacher is writing these examples on the board.
3. GROUPWORK
ADVANTAGES
There are some advantages to group and pair work.
 Students have more opportunity for using the target language than in open
class interactions, thus they get more practice.
 Group work fosters learner responsibility and independence.
 Group work provides a less threatening environment for the learner to use the
L2 in, so it can enhance motivation and contribute to a feeling of co-operation
and warmth in the classroom. Thus is plays an important role in the affective
realm of the classroom.
 Group work provides learners with the opportunity to use ´better´ language in
that by negotiating meaning in groups.
 Teachers are able to individualize their teaching more because they are free to
monitor and observe students using language in groups.
3.1. DisadvantagesToGroupWork
There are also potential disadvantages to group and pair work:
 Students many only use their mother tongue
 Discipline may be a problem, the noise level may be too high when using
group work, and students may do the task badly or not at all.
 Stronger students may dominate while weaker students sit back and do
nothing.
10:
3.2. Managing GroupWork InTheClassroom
Penny Ur (1996:234) provides what she considers to be some important
guidelines for setting up and managing smallgroup work inthe L2classroom:
4.2.1. Presentation
 The instructions that are given at the beginning are crucial
 Select tasks that are simple enough to describe easily
 It is advisable to give the instructions before giving out the
materials or dividing the class into groups
Before giving the signto start tell the class whatthe arrangements
are for stopping: if there is atime limit, or a set signalfor stopping,
say what it is; if the groups simply stop when they have finished,
then tell them what they will have to do next.
4.2.2. Process
 Go from groups, monitor, and either contribute or keep out of
way.
 If you do decide to intervene, your contribution may take the form
of:
- Providing general improvement and support;
- Helping students who are having difficulty;
- Keeping the students using the target language (be present in
each group)
- Tactfully regulate participation in a discussion where you find
some students are over-dominant and others silent.
4.2.3. Ending
 Try to finish the activity while the students are still enjoying it and
interested.
4.2.4. Feedback
 A feedback session usually takes place in the context of full-class
by giving the right solution, pooling ideas on the board; displaying
materials the groups have produced.
 Your main objective here is to express appreciation of the effort
that has been invested and its results.
4.3.Collaborative Learning
 Goal structures
11:
Goal structures are the ways in which learning is set up or organized
in the classroom.
There are main classroom goal structures:
a. Individual work
Learners work alone tasks at their own pace. It is important to
realize that individual goal structures can be in place even
when the teacher has set up group work, for example, sit in a
circle and work on a task alone.
b. Competitive goal structure
Here learners work against each other in order to succeed. The
best work produced by a student receives the highest mark,
and the weakest receives a fail.
c. Collaborative goal structure
In this case learners work together in small groups towards a
common goal. The participation of all the group members is
crucial to the successful outcome of the task: nobody can
succeed unless everybody succeeds.
4.4.MakingCollaborative LearningWork
Collaborative learning is a type of group work. For collaborative learning
to be successful, five important factors need to be taken into account:
a) Positive interdependence: students all have to succeed for a task
to succeed and students realize that they have this common goal.
b) Individual accountability: Each member of the group has to make
an active contribution.
c) Verbal interaction: Students need to interact verbally, and this
interaction needs to be meaningful.
d) Sufficient social skills: Students need the relevant social skill, such
as communication skillleadership skills,orconflict resolution skills
so that the groups can function.
e) Team reflection: Students need to be able to see whether the
team is functioning effectively.
4.4.1. Collaborative learninggroups
 Collaborative learning groups consider 2 to 4 students to be the
optimal number.
12:
 Collaborative groups should be heterogeneous. In other words,
they should be made up of a mixture of students.
 Collaborative groups can work within any time frame, from that
of a few minutes, to hours or a lesson, to longer periods of time
such as several weeks.
4.5.Individualization
Individualization in the language learning classroom is concerned with
giving learners a certain degree of freedom to choose how and what they
learn.
Good language learners tend to assume responsibility for their own
learning, and one of the aims of individualization is to promote learner’s
independence and responsibility. Another aim is to be able to cater to a
variety of learner styles.
According to Penny Ur, these are the factors to be considered:
 Speed: How fast or slowly does the individual work on a task?
 Level: What level of competence does the individual have in
relation to the rest of the class?
 Topic: Is the topic interesting/relevant to the individual?
 Language skill or teaching point: What linguistic knowledge is the
learner ready to acquire.
4. MIXEDABILITY
A more enabling metaphor for considering mixed ability is the following one
supplied by Jim Rose:
‘A metaphor of a mixed ability class which works for me is to think of the class as a
lift (elevator). Everyone needs to get into the lift to start with. Some students will
run into the lift, some will have to be dragged in. Some students will travel right to
the top of the building, some may stop at the third floor and some may only reach
the first floor, but everyone will have travelled somewhere successfully’. (1997:3).
The advantages of weaker and stronger students working together has already been
pointed to benefits for both weaker and stronger students during activities such as
oral pair work as: the more proficient learner gets practice in producing
13:
comprehensible output; the weaker partner gains experience in negotiating
meaning.
5.1.AdvantagesToTeachingMixedAbility Groups
Penny Ur (1996:305) details:
1. Such classes provide a much richer pool of human resources than do
similar or less mixed classes.
2. There is educational value in the actual contact between very
different kinds of people.
3. Peer teaching and collaboration are likely to be fairly common,
fostering an atmosphere of co-operation.
4. These classes can be seen as very much more challenging and
interesting to teach.
5.2.Classroom Implications
Some techniques which teachers can use in their classes:
 Group work (to encourage co-operation and peer teaching).
 Use the same material,but with a rangeoftasks for different levels
of proficiency.
 Use extension or optimal extra activities for learners who finish
tasks early.
 Remedial work.
 Self-access.
 Use open-ended activity types.
Teachers of particularly large mixed ability groups need to be aware of
factors such as grouping and focus (how are students seated? Who is able
to talk to whom?), personal body language (where and how do I stand, sit
etc.) and use of voice, among other things.
6. DISCIPLINE
TASK
Done
• What are your own views on this issue? Do you think that
mixed ability groups always result in more successful SLA for
learners? Or can the opposite seem to be true? Why?
14:
Ur offers the following definition of discipline:
Classroom discipline is a state in which both the teacher and learners accept and
consistently observe aset of rules about behaviour in the classroomwhose function
is to facilitate smooth and efficient teaching and learning in a lesson.
She states that “the relationship between discipline and learning in a lesson is a
crucial one”. Beginning teachers soon learn that if their capacity to maintain
´classroom control´ is in doubt they may be fired (Lortie).
Beginning teachers, when encountering difficulties in the classroom, tend to
respond to them with strategies they are familiar with from university or college.
Such strategies are in essence cognitive one, e.g. more and better preparation. In
following these strategies they pay too much attention to the ´task side´ of their job
and therefore fail to address what might have caused their difficulties in the first
place: the emotional relations in the classroom. Their increased effort may well
yield no better result because it has the wrong target. (Ibid: 14).
6.1 Classroom AndControl
Control, therefore, is not only part of ´teachers´ values and wishes, it is a
prominent feature of observed classroom interaction. (1995:18).
There is the risk that students will not feel involved in these kinds of
interactions, seeing them as irrelevant to their needs and interests, and, as
a result, learning may suffer.
Teacher control may also be exerted through the language itself, not only
through an insistence on correctness of form and vocabulary, but also
through the teaching of the structure of the language itself.
Excessive teacher control, can alienate learners from what is happening in
the classroom, and seriously inhibit learning.
6.2 CopingWithDiscipline InTheClassroom
External reinforces such as praise, rewards or merit marks are often
considered to be good ways of motivating underachieving or reluctant
learners. Conversely, negative reinforces such as punishments (e.g. extra
homework, detention, even physical punishment) have traditionally been
assumed to encourage ´good´ behaviour among students, or atthe very least
to discourage ´bad´ behavior.
15:
7 TEACHERTHINKING
Teacher thinking is concerned with the ´private´ domain, with the internal thought
and decision making processes which a teacher uses while doing his/her work, it is
concerned with the extent to which a teacher's previous learning experiences,
his/her knowledge of the subject matter and his/her beliefs about teaching and
learning affect classroom practice.
Thus teaching is no longer what the teacher does in the classroom, but why he/she
does what she does.
8.1 DecisionMakingInTeacherThinking
Decision-making processes have been divided into three phases:
a) Preactive decisions are those made before the teaching event, and
include processes such as lesson planning, choice of materials and so on.
b) Interactive decisions are those made on the spot, while the teacher is
actually working with the class, and could include the decision to drop an
activity, to react to an emerging discipline problem in a certain way, and
so on.
c) Post-active decisions are those that take place after the lesson.
What is it that makes us do certain things in the classroom in certain
ways? What exactly is it that informs our ´teacher thinking´?
Let's consider the following:
1. THEWYINWHICHWEWERE TAUGHT
The period of exposure to teachers as models has been called an
“apprenticeship of observation” (Gutierrez Almarza). Thus relatively
new teachers may often find that, despite their training, they may start
to behave in the classroom against their own training and principles,
particularly in times of stress.
2. TEACHER BELIEFS
Teachers' beliefs about how a second language is learned, and how
that language should be taught, are central to the way in which
teachers behave in the language classroom.
16:
If you as a teacher believe that languages are learned through
communication, then you will give your students plenty of
communication activities. If, on the other hand, you believe that a
language is best learned through translating sentences, then chances
are your students will spend a lot of time doing just that in your
classes.
3. BELIEFS ABOUT LEARNERS
Teachers view their students in at least seven different ways. Meighan
points to seven different metaphors through which teachers may
construe their learners:
 Resisters
 Receptacles
 Raw material
 Clients
 Partners
 Individual
explorers
 Democratic
explorers
4. THEAFFECTIVECLIMATE
The social or affective climate in the classroom is a top priority for
most teachers, and that many teaching decisions are made with this
element as a deciding factor.
Small group and pair work is often seen by teachers as particularly
beneficial for students in terms of meeting their affective needs, and
again, a teacher's decision to use such classroom groupings may stem
more from his/her beliefin the social benefits of group work than from
any strictly ´pedagogical´ view.
1. ´Teacher thinking´ refers not just to the way we think as teachers, but
also to what effect the way we think has on our teaching.
TASK
Done
• Are the following statements true or false? Justify each of
your answers.
17:
2. Our belief as teachers affects our classroom management more than
any other element in the classroom.
3. Examining our pro-, inter- and post-active decisions as teachers is the
best way to investigate our thinking as teachers.
4. As teachers we are doomed to repeat teaching behaviour that we
´learnt´ through our ´apprenticeship of observation´.
5. There is always a mismatch between a teachers ´espoused´ theories
and his/her real classroom behaviour.
6. Teacher's beliefs, which are formed early in life, are very difficult to
change.
7. A teacher will usually have a deeply-rooted (possibly unconscious)
view about who his/her learners are, and this view is related to how
the teacher believes languages are learned.
8. Talking into account the affective climate in a classroom is likely to
affect a teacher's classroom management decisions.

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Module 2 (2)

  • 1. 1: WHATISCLASSROOMINTERACTION? Interaction in the classroominvolves the process of communication. This can take place between teacher and student (s), between individual or groups of students, or even between student (s) and textbook or cassette. Classroom interaction may take several forms, and it is not necessarily always teacher directed. Penny Ur (1996:228) gives a useful summary of the most typical interactions which occur in a language classroom: Group work Students work in small groups on tasks that entail interaction: conveying information, for example, or group decision-making. The teacher walks around listening, intervenes little, if at all.  Closed-ended teacher questioning Only one ´right´ response gets approved. Sometimes cynically called the ´Guess what the teacher wants you to say´ game.  Individual work The teacher gives a task or set of tasks, and students work on them independently; the teacher walks around monitoring and assisting where necessary.  Choral responses The teacher gives a model which is repeated by all the class in the chorus; or gives a cue which is responded to in chorus.  Collaboration Students do the samesort of tasks as in´Individual work´, but work together, usually in pairs, to try to achieve the best results they can. The teacher may or may not intervene.  Student initiates, teacher answers For example, in a guessing game: the students think of questions and the teacher responds; but the teacher decides who asks.  Full-class interaction The students debate a topic or do a language task as a class; the teacher may intervene occasionally, to stimulate participation or to monitor.  Teacher talk This may involve some kind of silent student response, such as writing from dictation, but there is no initiative on the part of the student.  Self-access Students choose their own learning tasks, and work autonomously.  Open-ended teacher questioning Module N°2:Classroom Management
  • 2. 2: There are anumber of possible´right´answers, sothat more students answer each cue. 1. TEACHERTALK 1.1. WhyisTeacherTalkImportant? Nunan (1995:189) identifies two main reasons for the importance of focusing on teacher talk: Teacher talk is of crucial importance, not only for the organization of the classroom but also for the processes of acquisition. It is important for the organization and management of the classroom because it is through language that teachers either succeed or fail to implement their teaching plans. In terms of acquisition, teacher talk is important because it is probably the major source of comprehensible target language input the learner is likely to receive. The features of teacher talk which we will focus on are: the quantities of teacher talk which learners are exposed to; the modifications which teachers make to their speech in the classroom; and the types of questions which teachers put to learners. 1.2. Quantity L2 research has generally reflected these findings, putting the percentage of teacher talkeven higher in most cases –around 70% to 80% (Legaretta 1977; Enright 1984; Ramirez et al.1986). Obviously when considering the quantity of teacher talk in a language class it is important to keep in mind the condition that there will be considerable variation depending on the type of class, the size of the class, the teacher, and so on. TASK Done • Look at Ur´s list of patterns of interaction above. Put them in order from the most student-centred (the interaction in which the students are most actively participating) to the most teacher-centred (the interaction in which the teacher is most actively participating).
  • 3. 3: If a teacher believes that learners have to use the target language best through practice – then that teacher will probably try to keep his/her talk to a minimum and try to include many activities in which learners practice in pairs or groups. If, on the other hand, a teacher believes that his/her talk is a valuable source of comprehensible input, then the dominance of teacher talk in the classroomwill be perceived as a positive contribution to learners´ target language acquisition. Whatkindofteachertalkis´good´ andwhatkindis´bad´? There are a number of factors which we need to take into account when deciding how appropriate (or not) teacher talk is. Nunan (1995:190) identifies three factors: 1. The point in the lesson in which the talking occurs. 2. What prompts the teacher talk: whether it is planned or spontaneous, and, if spontaneous, whether the resulting digression is helpful or not. 3. The value of the talk as potentially useful for acquisition. 1.3. TeacherToClassQuestions Why do teachers use questions in the language classroom – why are they such a fundamental part of pedagogy? Probably because, as Long (1981) points out, they make interaction in the classroom easier by clearly establishing the topic, by forcing students to speak (and therefore their L2 knowledge can be assessed by the teacher), and by clearly showing who is expected to speak next. Some main types of questions found in the L2 classroom and the effects which seem to have on learners are: IRF:According To Sinclair And Coulthard, It Is: Initiation –Response–Feedback' In ´IRF´ the teacher initiates an exchange, which is usually in the form of a question (=Initiation). A learner then answers the question (=Response). Then the teacher gives feedback, for example in the form of assessment, correction or comment (=Feedback). Example
  • 4. 4: Teacher: “What did you do this weekend?” = Initiation Student: “I went to the cinema” = Response Teacher: “Good” = Feedback (comment) Or Teacher: “What did you do this weekend?” = Initiation Student: “I goed cinema” = Response Teacher: “Not ´goed´ - went” = Feedback (correction) DisplayVersusReferentialQuestions A display question occurs when a teacher asks a student a question for which he/she (the teacher) already knows the answer. The question is thus merely for the purpose of ´displaying´ language. A referential question, on the other hand, is one to which the teacher does not know the answer. It appears that display questions occur far more in language classrooms than referential questions, because the language classroom is often more concerned with linguistic content. Example: “What's the past tense of ´go´?” than with real communication. The implication is that it is somehow ´better´ for teachers to use referential questions rather than display questions in the language classroom. Why is this so? Because the more English students are encouraged to produce, the more English they will be likely to learn. OpenVersusClosedQuestions Some referential questions tend to be ´closed´ questions (i.e. questions which require no more than one word or a yes/no answer) as opposed to ´open´ questions (i.e. questions which require learners to elaborate in a response). Examples:  Hello, Eva, how are you?  Last Sunday you went to the cinema, didn't you?  Was it a good film?
  • 5. 5:  Hans, did you go to the beach?  Did you enjoy it? More ComplexQuestionTypes Here, we can find: Comprehension checks, confirmation checks and clarification requests. Comprehension checks involve the teacher checking that the student has understood the message by eliciting a short response (e.g. “How many sentences do you have to write?” etc.). Confirmation checks directly ask the learner for confirmation that the message has been understood (e.g. “Do you understand?” “Is that clear?” and clarificationrequest aremuch more open-ended, and askthe learner to elaborate or clarify an answer (“Why do you think we use the present here?”). 1.4. WaitTime Studies have shown that after asking a question, teachers tend to wait less than a second before nominating a student to respond, and then only one second more for the response before either giving the answer themselves, or rephrasing the question, or calling on another student to answer the question. By comparing classes where wait times was increased from one second to three to five seconds after asking a question, the following effects were observed:  An increase in the average length of student responses;  Unsolicited (but appropriate) student responses increased;  Failures to respond decreased; When talking to his/her learners, an ´ideal´ L2 teacher would… TASK Done • How would an ´ideal´ teacher, according to SLA researchers, talk? Complete the following list as many points as you feel appropriate:
  • 6. 6: 1. 2. 2. CORRECTIVEFEEDBACK Feedback in the languageclassroomis information that is given to the learner about his or her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance. (Ur. 1996:242) feedback is primarily given by the teacher, and may be given in a number of ways: the teacher may say “Yes, good!” to a learner who has answered a question correctly; a grade or mark may be given to a piece of written work, or an exam, or an oral activity; ateacher may write comments is the margin of learner's essay. 2.1. Errors AndMistakes A mistake is a kind of ´slip of the tongue´. A learner, or a native speaker, makes amistake when he/she saysomething incorrect but which the learner is capable of correcting. In other words, he/she ´knows´ the correct form, but merely makes an absent-minded ´mistake´. An error, on the other hand, cannot be self-corrected, simply because the learner does not ´know´ the form. Sometimes it is difficult for a teacher to know which the learner has made: an error or mistake. A rule of thumb seems to be that the teacher gives the learner a chance to self-correct, for example by pointing out the existence of an error and waiting to see whether the students can self-correct or not. If the learner can correct him/herself, then it is obviously a ´mistake´. If not, then it may be an ´error´. Errors are usually categorized under four broad areas:  Grammar  Pronunciation  Meaning  Appropriacy a) How you come to school?. TASK Done • Categorise each of the following sentences under one of the heading above: error or mistake.
  • 7. 7: b) I go always to France for my holidays. c) I don't like traveling by sheep. d) (Mike speaking to his boss) That's a load of rubbish, mate. e) She suggested us to go home. f) Oh, of course! - you're Peter, aren't you? (rising intonation on aren't you) g) (Student in pub) Give me a beer. h) She went to the library to buy a book. 2.2. DifferentViewsOnError AndCorrection a. In the cognitive code-learning view of languageacquisition,mistakes are seen as an unfortunate but unavoidable part of the learning process. Therefore mistakes should always be corrected, with a view to preventing their recurrence. b. According to interlanguage theory, mistakes are not at all regrettable, but rather are an integral and important part of learning a language. Giving learners feedback on mistakes (and correct language use) is seen as directly contributing to their L2 development, enabling them to bring their language closer to target language norms. c. According to Krashen's his Monitor theory, corrective feedback from the teacher does not help a learner ´acquire´ the language, it only contributes to the learner's conscious ´monitoring´ of output. Hence the main activity of the teacher, according to Krashen's model, should be not to correct, but to provide the learner with plenty of comprehensible input from which he/she can acquire the language. d. In communicative language teaching, the main aim is to convey and receive meaningful messages – i.e. to communicate. Perfect linguistic competence. Is not strictly necessary in order to be able to communicate successfully, thus not all mistakes which learners make need to be corrected. Rather, correction should focus on those mistakes which impede communication (use), not merely on mistakes of ´grammar´ (usage). 2.3. TheCorrectiveFeedbackProcess We will take a look at some of the mechanics of corrective feedback – the who, how and when of correcting students. 2.4. WhoCorrects?
  • 8. 8: a) The teacher's job appears to be to encourage self-correction where possible.We sawthat this would only be possibleif the student had made a ´mistake´ rather than a ´error´. b) Getting a student to correct him/herself gives the teacher information about the student's state of interlanguage, and also can be argued to encourage the student to monitor his/her output more closely for accuracy. c) Communicative interaction in group work may provide as much, and possibly more, appropriate corrective feedback to learners as teacher- fronted class tasks. 2.5. HowDoWeEncourage Self-Correction? See information written by Chaudron (1988) of the various ways in which teachers tend to give feedback to students on their oral performance. 2.6. When? It all depends”. Basically it depends on the aim of the activity in which they are engaged, and on the activity type. According to Chaudron, “when instructional focus is on form, corrections occur more frequently”. If the focus of the activity is on accuracy, there will be a tendency to correct learners, while if the focus is on fluency, teachers are generally more likely to interrupt communication, unless the error is a´global´one (an error which impedes communication) rather than a ´local´ one (an error which does not impede communication). 1. Students are writing a paragraph about a holiday in ones or twos. 2. Students are discussing the question of pollution in small groups. TASK Done • Look at the following situations and decide if you would correct or not. If so, say when you would do so.
  • 9. 9: 3. Students are debating on the right of women in an open class focus. 4. Students are discussing role-playing a public meeting after reading a text, and are preparing their side of the argument. 5. Students are giving the answer to a listening comprehension exercise in class feedback. 6. Students are checking a grammar exercise in open class. 7. Students are giving the teacher examples of the target structure ´used to´ and the teacher is writing these examples on the board. 3. GROUPWORK ADVANTAGES There are some advantages to group and pair work.  Students have more opportunity for using the target language than in open class interactions, thus they get more practice.  Group work fosters learner responsibility and independence.  Group work provides a less threatening environment for the learner to use the L2 in, so it can enhance motivation and contribute to a feeling of co-operation and warmth in the classroom. Thus is plays an important role in the affective realm of the classroom.  Group work provides learners with the opportunity to use ´better´ language in that by negotiating meaning in groups.  Teachers are able to individualize their teaching more because they are free to monitor and observe students using language in groups. 3.1. DisadvantagesToGroupWork There are also potential disadvantages to group and pair work:  Students many only use their mother tongue  Discipline may be a problem, the noise level may be too high when using group work, and students may do the task badly or not at all.  Stronger students may dominate while weaker students sit back and do nothing.
  • 10. 10: 3.2. Managing GroupWork InTheClassroom Penny Ur (1996:234) provides what she considers to be some important guidelines for setting up and managing smallgroup work inthe L2classroom: 4.2.1. Presentation  The instructions that are given at the beginning are crucial  Select tasks that are simple enough to describe easily  It is advisable to give the instructions before giving out the materials or dividing the class into groups Before giving the signto start tell the class whatthe arrangements are for stopping: if there is atime limit, or a set signalfor stopping, say what it is; if the groups simply stop when they have finished, then tell them what they will have to do next. 4.2.2. Process  Go from groups, monitor, and either contribute or keep out of way.  If you do decide to intervene, your contribution may take the form of: - Providing general improvement and support; - Helping students who are having difficulty; - Keeping the students using the target language (be present in each group) - Tactfully regulate participation in a discussion where you find some students are over-dominant and others silent. 4.2.3. Ending  Try to finish the activity while the students are still enjoying it and interested. 4.2.4. Feedback  A feedback session usually takes place in the context of full-class by giving the right solution, pooling ideas on the board; displaying materials the groups have produced.  Your main objective here is to express appreciation of the effort that has been invested and its results. 4.3.Collaborative Learning  Goal structures
  • 11. 11: Goal structures are the ways in which learning is set up or organized in the classroom. There are main classroom goal structures: a. Individual work Learners work alone tasks at their own pace. It is important to realize that individual goal structures can be in place even when the teacher has set up group work, for example, sit in a circle and work on a task alone. b. Competitive goal structure Here learners work against each other in order to succeed. The best work produced by a student receives the highest mark, and the weakest receives a fail. c. Collaborative goal structure In this case learners work together in small groups towards a common goal. The participation of all the group members is crucial to the successful outcome of the task: nobody can succeed unless everybody succeeds. 4.4.MakingCollaborative LearningWork Collaborative learning is a type of group work. For collaborative learning to be successful, five important factors need to be taken into account: a) Positive interdependence: students all have to succeed for a task to succeed and students realize that they have this common goal. b) Individual accountability: Each member of the group has to make an active contribution. c) Verbal interaction: Students need to interact verbally, and this interaction needs to be meaningful. d) Sufficient social skills: Students need the relevant social skill, such as communication skillleadership skills,orconflict resolution skills so that the groups can function. e) Team reflection: Students need to be able to see whether the team is functioning effectively. 4.4.1. Collaborative learninggroups  Collaborative learning groups consider 2 to 4 students to be the optimal number.
  • 12. 12:  Collaborative groups should be heterogeneous. In other words, they should be made up of a mixture of students.  Collaborative groups can work within any time frame, from that of a few minutes, to hours or a lesson, to longer periods of time such as several weeks. 4.5.Individualization Individualization in the language learning classroom is concerned with giving learners a certain degree of freedom to choose how and what they learn. Good language learners tend to assume responsibility for their own learning, and one of the aims of individualization is to promote learner’s independence and responsibility. Another aim is to be able to cater to a variety of learner styles. According to Penny Ur, these are the factors to be considered:  Speed: How fast or slowly does the individual work on a task?  Level: What level of competence does the individual have in relation to the rest of the class?  Topic: Is the topic interesting/relevant to the individual?  Language skill or teaching point: What linguistic knowledge is the learner ready to acquire. 4. MIXEDABILITY A more enabling metaphor for considering mixed ability is the following one supplied by Jim Rose: ‘A metaphor of a mixed ability class which works for me is to think of the class as a lift (elevator). Everyone needs to get into the lift to start with. Some students will run into the lift, some will have to be dragged in. Some students will travel right to the top of the building, some may stop at the third floor and some may only reach the first floor, but everyone will have travelled somewhere successfully’. (1997:3). The advantages of weaker and stronger students working together has already been pointed to benefits for both weaker and stronger students during activities such as oral pair work as: the more proficient learner gets practice in producing
  • 13. 13: comprehensible output; the weaker partner gains experience in negotiating meaning. 5.1.AdvantagesToTeachingMixedAbility Groups Penny Ur (1996:305) details: 1. Such classes provide a much richer pool of human resources than do similar or less mixed classes. 2. There is educational value in the actual contact between very different kinds of people. 3. Peer teaching and collaboration are likely to be fairly common, fostering an atmosphere of co-operation. 4. These classes can be seen as very much more challenging and interesting to teach. 5.2.Classroom Implications Some techniques which teachers can use in their classes:  Group work (to encourage co-operation and peer teaching).  Use the same material,but with a rangeoftasks for different levels of proficiency.  Use extension or optimal extra activities for learners who finish tasks early.  Remedial work.  Self-access.  Use open-ended activity types. Teachers of particularly large mixed ability groups need to be aware of factors such as grouping and focus (how are students seated? Who is able to talk to whom?), personal body language (where and how do I stand, sit etc.) and use of voice, among other things. 6. DISCIPLINE TASK Done • What are your own views on this issue? Do you think that mixed ability groups always result in more successful SLA for learners? Or can the opposite seem to be true? Why?
  • 14. 14: Ur offers the following definition of discipline: Classroom discipline is a state in which both the teacher and learners accept and consistently observe aset of rules about behaviour in the classroomwhose function is to facilitate smooth and efficient teaching and learning in a lesson. She states that “the relationship between discipline and learning in a lesson is a crucial one”. Beginning teachers soon learn that if their capacity to maintain ´classroom control´ is in doubt they may be fired (Lortie). Beginning teachers, when encountering difficulties in the classroom, tend to respond to them with strategies they are familiar with from university or college. Such strategies are in essence cognitive one, e.g. more and better preparation. In following these strategies they pay too much attention to the ´task side´ of their job and therefore fail to address what might have caused their difficulties in the first place: the emotional relations in the classroom. Their increased effort may well yield no better result because it has the wrong target. (Ibid: 14). 6.1 Classroom AndControl Control, therefore, is not only part of ´teachers´ values and wishes, it is a prominent feature of observed classroom interaction. (1995:18). There is the risk that students will not feel involved in these kinds of interactions, seeing them as irrelevant to their needs and interests, and, as a result, learning may suffer. Teacher control may also be exerted through the language itself, not only through an insistence on correctness of form and vocabulary, but also through the teaching of the structure of the language itself. Excessive teacher control, can alienate learners from what is happening in the classroom, and seriously inhibit learning. 6.2 CopingWithDiscipline InTheClassroom External reinforces such as praise, rewards or merit marks are often considered to be good ways of motivating underachieving or reluctant learners. Conversely, negative reinforces such as punishments (e.g. extra homework, detention, even physical punishment) have traditionally been assumed to encourage ´good´ behaviour among students, or atthe very least to discourage ´bad´ behavior.
  • 15. 15: 7 TEACHERTHINKING Teacher thinking is concerned with the ´private´ domain, with the internal thought and decision making processes which a teacher uses while doing his/her work, it is concerned with the extent to which a teacher's previous learning experiences, his/her knowledge of the subject matter and his/her beliefs about teaching and learning affect classroom practice. Thus teaching is no longer what the teacher does in the classroom, but why he/she does what she does. 8.1 DecisionMakingInTeacherThinking Decision-making processes have been divided into three phases: a) Preactive decisions are those made before the teaching event, and include processes such as lesson planning, choice of materials and so on. b) Interactive decisions are those made on the spot, while the teacher is actually working with the class, and could include the decision to drop an activity, to react to an emerging discipline problem in a certain way, and so on. c) Post-active decisions are those that take place after the lesson. What is it that makes us do certain things in the classroom in certain ways? What exactly is it that informs our ´teacher thinking´? Let's consider the following: 1. THEWYINWHICHWEWERE TAUGHT The period of exposure to teachers as models has been called an “apprenticeship of observation” (Gutierrez Almarza). Thus relatively new teachers may often find that, despite their training, they may start to behave in the classroom against their own training and principles, particularly in times of stress. 2. TEACHER BELIEFS Teachers' beliefs about how a second language is learned, and how that language should be taught, are central to the way in which teachers behave in the language classroom.
  • 16. 16: If you as a teacher believe that languages are learned through communication, then you will give your students plenty of communication activities. If, on the other hand, you believe that a language is best learned through translating sentences, then chances are your students will spend a lot of time doing just that in your classes. 3. BELIEFS ABOUT LEARNERS Teachers view their students in at least seven different ways. Meighan points to seven different metaphors through which teachers may construe their learners:  Resisters  Receptacles  Raw material  Clients  Partners  Individual explorers  Democratic explorers 4. THEAFFECTIVECLIMATE The social or affective climate in the classroom is a top priority for most teachers, and that many teaching decisions are made with this element as a deciding factor. Small group and pair work is often seen by teachers as particularly beneficial for students in terms of meeting their affective needs, and again, a teacher's decision to use such classroom groupings may stem more from his/her beliefin the social benefits of group work than from any strictly ´pedagogical´ view. 1. ´Teacher thinking´ refers not just to the way we think as teachers, but also to what effect the way we think has on our teaching. TASK Done • Are the following statements true or false? Justify each of your answers.
  • 17. 17: 2. Our belief as teachers affects our classroom management more than any other element in the classroom. 3. Examining our pro-, inter- and post-active decisions as teachers is the best way to investigate our thinking as teachers. 4. As teachers we are doomed to repeat teaching behaviour that we ´learnt´ through our ´apprenticeship of observation´. 5. There is always a mismatch between a teachers ´espoused´ theories and his/her real classroom behaviour. 6. Teacher's beliefs, which are formed early in life, are very difficult to change. 7. A teacher will usually have a deeply-rooted (possibly unconscious) view about who his/her learners are, and this view is related to how the teacher believes languages are learned. 8. Talking into account the affective climate in a classroom is likely to affect a teacher's classroom management decisions.