Improving Teacher–Student Interaction in the English Classroom

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Improving teacher–student interaction in the English classroom Acknowledgement
I would like to acknowledge all the students and the teachers from Newman Catholic College who helped and guided me to formulate my research topic, as well as, the process of carrying out the action plan. Abstract

This paper offers an example of how to apply action research to improve and explore the patterns of teacher-student verbal communication that existed in my classroom. Pre and post survey and teacher observation were used to record changes in the classroom interaction during the one-month study period. The purpose of this research was to examine the existences of teacher-student verbal communication in my classroom and explore the reinforcing strategies that can stimulate students’ involvement in the classroom, as well as, create a more interactive teacher-students environment in one on my Secondary 4 class. In this study, I investigated the reason behind the “silent” during the teacher-student verbal interaction and how creating a safe language learning environment can fuel student’s motivation in raising their voice in the classroom. Introduction

Teaching English as a second language in Hong Kong is both challenging and exciting. Students are generally eager to learn. However, one of the frustrations that teachers often complain about is students' reluctance to adopt active speech roles in classrooms, where students are unresponsive and avoid any interactions with the teacher in the classroom. This is especially true when a teacher seeks interaction in the teacher-class dialog, such as asking questions to the class as a whole and expecting students to respond and give feedback. There will be times when no student can answer a teacher’s question, but often students do not answer even if they understand the question, know the answer and are able to produce the answer, furthermore, students are often reluctant to give feedback or ask a question in the class. School and Students' Background

This is a band 3 CMI (Chinese as the medium of instruction) government Secondary boy’s school in Yau Ma Tei where English is taught as a secondary language on the school curriculum but with a high proportion of students who regarded English as a foreign language. The class involved in this action research consisted of 38 mixed ability (English level) students where traditional “whole class teacher-fronted interactions” (Jarvis & Robinson 1997:212) was the dominant teaching method.

Due to the Confucian influence, students in Hong Kong are usually taught to listen and not to question a teacher in classroom. Students have little or no experience in in-class interaction with the teacher, such as questioning, commenting or giving feedback. They are taught to keep quiet and respectfully listen to the teacher. Moreover, most of them, being accustomed to memorizing new words and expressions, as well as, paying attention to grammar points and language structures, find it extremely hard to express themselves in oral English even in answering questions, which is out of their normal classroom practice. Thus, during the classroom observation period, the students appeared attentive and enjoying the class but they were unresponsive and tends to avoid any verbal interaction with the teacher. Problem Identification and Plan Intervention

As a teacher, I cannot assume that I am the giver of knowledge. I can only be confident in knowing that I am the facilitator of understanding, the presenter of an opportunity to explore, discover and compile knowledge. I believe that student’s willingness to learn and his or her enthusiasm of a language dictates the level of learning. During the first two weeks of this research, I reviewed the English textbook, my teaching methods and observed other teacher’s lesson where the students had to work both individually and in groups. To determine each student’s level of enthusiasm for learning English, I have conducted a...
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