EFL Class Visit
Made by: Gergely Zoltán Udvarhelyi – Karczag
As I mentioned before I wanted to get a comparison between the Hungarian primary schools and the secondary schools regarding how they teach the English language.
I chose an ordinary city school to visit in Vac. First of all, inasmuch as I am much more interested in teaching grammar school – aged students than children in their early years I was curious about how do the elder students get along with the language learning.
Secondly, in my future plans I put at a highlighted place the prospect of teaching in a grammar school therefore I wanted to know what I would face if I turn up as a grammar school teacher one day.
In contrast with Acsa the school in Vac offered more chances to get a good overview on the language teaching. Insomuch as much more children go to this school it was easier to find a class to visit. Finally, I decided to examine grade 9. At this level the students have 5 EFL lessons in a week – one on every single day- and they also have a foreign speaker as a teacher who helps them to master the everyday language and make them courage enough to speak and use their language knowledge. At this level students are split up into two groups. There is a beginner and an advanced learner one. I chose the beginner group to visit and I examined 7 lessons there. Unfortunately, when the final day came the teacher was on sick leave and I had to accept a substitute teacher. However, I considered it as a good opportunity to get know how the students react to the extraordinary circumstances and how they cope with the new teacher.
Class visit at I. Geza Kiraly Kozgazdasagi Szakkozepiskola
Name of the school: I. Geza Kiraly Kozgazdasagi Szakkozepiskola, Vac,
English teaching starts from the beginning. The school has two native speaker teachers who make a good service for the students to understand the British thinking and culture. The school is very well equipped. It has a separate English classroom where the students are asked to attend, just like in Acsa. But this classroom has much modern tools and devices such as projector, DVD player, HI-FI, and a modern whiteboard. There are 6 English teachers teaching in the school.
Grade 9 consists of 35 students who are split into two groups. The beginners- who I chose to visit- sum up 16 students. The level of their knowledge was decided by a level measurement at the start of the school year. It helps the children to get the knowledge at the level they are on so they will not face any hardship in mastering the basic curriculum.
English language is used widely during the lessons. Both the conversations and the classroom instructions are in English. The teacher switches to Hungarian only if there is a material that is hard to understand or when the students have to master some grammatical knowledge.
The course book:
New Headway 2, Oxford University Press
As the lesson happened minute by minute
Date of lesson: 16. October. 2012
Class: Grade 9
Subject: English as a foreign language
Topic: The time
Material: The clock, telling the time
|Teacher’s actions |Students' actions |Methods |Duration |Own thoughts | |He comes in |They stand up without noise |- |0.5 min |It can be seen clearly that the basic| | | | | |rules are laid how to respect the | | | | | |teacher. | |The teacher greets the |All the students answer well|Foreign language usage in|0.5 min |It can be seen that the classmates | |children in English |and say ‘Good Morning’ to |everyday occasions | |get on well with each other and act | | |the teacher | | |as a real community. There are no | | | | | |blacklegs. | |The teacher tells the students|Students seem to understand |Using the language for |2 mins |It was good to see that the students | |in English where their |that the teacher says. They |not teaching only. | |were able to understand what the | |ordinary teacher is |are not surprised or | | |teacher told them. However, there | | |astonished. | | |were no reactions; neither verbal nor| | | | | |non-verbal. | |Introduction: The teacher |All the children obey and |Warm –up. |7 mins |I considered this warm up very | |tells the students that they |they start telling words |Vocabulary. | |handful since it allowed the students| |will work on a new material |about the picture. | | |to get into the lesson. It also gave | |regarding the time and the | | | |them the basic motivation to use | |clock. The students are asked | | | |their voice and encouraged them not | |to open their books at Unit 5 | | | |just to sit straight and be silent. I| |where they have to start | | | |can see that the students’ vocabulary| |examining a picture. The | | | |is wide enough to make basic | |teacher asks the students to | | | |sentences however, some of them make | |collect their ideas about the | | | |grammatical mistakes. The teacher | |picture | | | |corrects it at once what is a good | | | | | |thing to see. | |The teacher prepares a Hi-Fi |All the students pay full |Listening activity. |5 mins |It was good to see that the students | |for a listening task. He asks |attention to the audio |Communication skill | |were brave and open enough to ask the| |the students to listen to the |material. Nobody breaks the |practice in English. | |teacher to play the audio recording | |audio material and follow it |silence. They ask the | | |more times as the teacher had | |with their eyes in their |teacher to play the | | |basically wanted. I have to admit | |course book. ’Around the Clock|listening task once more. | | |that the co-operation between student| |with Bob Ellis’ offers a good | | | |and teacher seems to be perfect. It | |chance to learn the basic | | | |also good to experience that the | |daily routine of a person. The| | | |students pay full attention to the | |teacher also emphasises the | | | |listening task and do not bother each| |importance of the Present | | | |other. | |Simple structure. | | | | | |After listening the audio |Students do their task. As I|Communication skills |10 mins |I have never seen such co-operation | |material 2 times the teacher |experience they have no |Listening | |between students that I saw this day.| |asks the students to collect |difficulties to understand |Vocabulary usage | |It somehow seemed they rather trust | |all their ideas on what they |the text and they give good | | |each other than trust the teacher. To| |heard. He tries to emphasise |ideas. They summarise the | | |be honest it was an easy lesson for | |the importance of telling the |text and they even correct | | |him since the students were talkative| |time expressions well. He |each other when somebody | | |and open. They made few mistakes only| |mentions the two ways they can|makes a grammatical or | | |and the better skilled ones corrected| |tell the time; the past/ to |structural mistake. | | |these mistakes. The teacher gifted | |form and the ‘number-number’ | | | |these students with an instant 5 | |form. | | | |after the task | |(quarter to six vs. five | | | | | |forty-five) | | | | | |The teacher draws a clock dial|The students copy the |Listening and instant |15 mins |- | |on the board and explains how |material from the board. |feedback for the | | | |the time expressions are used |Some of them ask questions |children. | | | |in the British language. |in Hungarian and when they | | | | | |get an English answer they | | | | | |seem to have no problem with| | | | | |understanding the answer. | | | | |Closing: The teacher gives |- |Writing and grammar |5 mins |The teacher helps them to solve the | |some homework. Students are | |skills development. | |first two tasks. It must turn out | |asked to write sentences about| | | |handful when the students start to do| |a man’s daily routine | | | |their homework at home on their own. | | | | | |It is good to give the students a | | | | | |task they can do easily and they will| | | | | |have a feeling they are successfully | | | | | |learned the material of the lesson. |
This lesson was far better than I visited in Acsa. The students had a better command of English and they were much more open and talkative. It can be explained with the fact that they are more mature but maturity is not everything. The class behaved well and all the students were calm and relaxed. No stress was found in their class work. They adapted surprisingly easily to the changed circumstances. Let us do not forget that I was in the class – who was totally unknown to them- and a new teacher was also introduced, who they also did not know and have never met. I cannot say that the class behaved well just because ‘unknown people’ were in the classroom. I considered it as a strange thing that the teacher did not ask the students to copy the material from the board. After the lesson I talked with some students about this. Most of them answered that if the teacher does not ask them to copy they usually do it on their own. One of them said that she writes down everything that is on the board. It means that these pupils are mature enough to work with the language and learn alone too.