Nov 20

Reflection Challenge- Week 2

Week 2

Let's look at teacher talk

Reflective Practice is a great way to develop your teaching. This is the second in a series of five videos, helping you to reflect on your practice in an objective and specific way. This week, a task to help you investigate your teacher talk....

Last week, I asked you to record one of your online classes so that you can reflect on your practice.

I’m Jo Gakonga from ELT and in this video, I’m going to give you an exercise to do to investigate your teacher talk . Yup, this is a big one. I hold my hand up, I am prone to talk more than I need to in class, and teacher talk can be useful and necessary for many different things, but if you want your learners to learn to swim, they’ve got to be in the pool and if you want them to learn to speak, they’ve got to be the ones talking. So let’s look at this.

This exercise is quite simple and nice and objective but it might be quite an eye opener. I want you to listen back to your lesson. Not all of it. Just 20 minutes. If that’s too much, try 15 or even 10 but do it. It probably won’t be comfortable- if you’ve ever done this before you’ll know that we never like what we see of ourselves on video but try to get over that.

I want you to do something very simple. Every minute, on the minute, mark on a grid who is talking. Is it you, is it one of the learners (and which one?) are they working individually and silently, or are they working in pairs in breakout rooms? You could use a chart like this ... every minute on the minute. If you like, you can use a timer like this one on YouTube- it beeps every minute. Now, don’t cheat- don’t think ‘well, I’m speaking now but I’d nearly finished etc. Every minute, on the minute mark who is speaking.

When you’ve done this, think about whether all of your talk was necessary or useful and if it wasn’t, what could you do to reduce it. Also think about what you could do to increase speaking practice for them. This will probably involve increasing open tasks in BORs. Remember that if it’s one learner speaking to the teacher, all of the others aren’t speaking. So use those BORS!

You could try doing this on a regular basis and see how your scores change for different lessons or with different classes or over time if you make an effort to change. I think that just an increased awareness of your talk is really useful. If you know what you’re doing, you can start to have some conscious control over it. Good luck with this and feel very free to email me and tell me how you get on. I’ll be back next week with another observation and reflection challenge for you.
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