How much do you talk in class? Find out!! A great exercise for ALL teachers and CELTA trainees
There are lots of GOOD reasons for teachers to talk in class, but we're often prone to do a bit too much of it and this reduces the amount of time that the learners have to practice. In this video, I'll show you a great way to objectively (and easily) measure your TTT and gauge whether it's all necessary!
How much do you talk?
Reflective Practice sounds great as a way to develop your teaching, but how do you do it? Just think about your lessons? When you’re having your morning coffee, when you’re driving home from work. This is all well and good.. and useful. But none of us have very good memories. We remember things later through a misty, maybe rosy tinted, maybe grey cloud tinted haze and it’s just not accurate.
If you want a better way to reflect and an exercise to practise on – keep watching.
I’m Jo Gakonga from ELT training.com and I’m a great proponent of evidence-based reflection… and this means recording yourself. If you’re online, it’s super-easy of course. If you’re in a classroom, just audio recording on your phone will do the job. Obviously you have to ask your learners’ permission to do this, but if you explain to them that it’s just for you and it won’t go on YouTube, I think most people are unlikely to refuse.
OK. You’ve recorded a class. Now what? Here’s an exercise to do to investigate your teacher talk. 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 it’s objective, which makes it helpful, I’ve found… but it might be quite an eye opener.
You’re going 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 or 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-AYC3_DbpY 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 tasks in pairs or groups (in BORs if you’re online).
I hope that this little exercise is interesting and helpful – try doing it every week and see if you can see any changes – and good luck!