I have learned from observing my peers and experienced teachers how important it is to use a variety of teaching methods and styles. Within the same lesson I have witnessed teachers organising their students so that they worked alone, in pairs, in pods, and in teams. The students were encouraged to move around the classroom, doing exercises pinned to the wall, and to write on the whiteboard. This kept the energy high and engaged students who like to learn by doing.
I have witnessed how important visual aids are in a classroom, in order to clarify language and how clear board work clarifies instructions, meaning, form and pronunciation. I have seen how starting the lesson by asking students to talk about a picture prepares them to understand the material better by activating their schema.
Watching a video of a teacher drilling a group of elementary students in functional language and watching an experienced teacher at GV, helped me realise the amount of repetitive aural clarification and practice that is needed at this stage. I also noted how important it is to use clear and simple models. It was interesting to see how the teacher on the video focussed first on aural and verbal skills without writing on the board so that the students did not become fixated on the form before the meaning and pronunciation.
Contrasting how experienced and inexperienced teachers correct is demonstrating to me how important it is to be clear and decisive in feedback. It can be a struggle to work against a natural inclination to be liked, not to appear bossy, to be reticent about directing adults, or to perhaps hurt someone’s feelings by telling them they are wrong. However I realise that this can be overcome by being task and student oriented.
I appreciated the advice from our...