1 – Company Course

Date: 11/06/2013
Teacher: Mandy Welfare
Class: Company course, General English
School: ESL Prolog, Berlin, Germany
Level: A2
Number of Students: 5

This was a relaxed yet productive lesson which achieved the lesson aims and gave students plenty of time for freer practice.  Although one of the language practice activities proved itself to be less effective than the teacher might have wanted, she adapted quickly and imaginatively, providing students with a different and more effective practice task.

Mandy has a lovely, warm and friendly manner that immediately puts her students at ease and it’s nice to see her cheerful personality coming through in her teaching.  This was a really useful lesson for me to observe as I picked up on a number of points that I would like to feed back into my own teaching.

The observation was also useful for Mandy as I was able to give her some tips about the use of whiteboard, in particular timelines, and during our feedback discussion we scheduled a further sharing-session on the use of phonemes.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • Pre-lesson chat: asking open questions to find out what students got up to at the weekend.  It’s such a simple thing, but asking more open questions, as opposed to closed yes/no questions, elicits more lengthy answers from students so they have to speak more.
  • Instruction checking questions – to maximise student talking time and check students’ understanding of instructions, after giving an instruction Mandy nominates one student to re-explain it to the rest of the class, or to late-comers.
  • The use of different coloured whiteboard pens to differentiate between tenses or aspects, followed by questions such as “which colour is happening now?” or “which colour is present continuous?”
  • When introducing new vocabulary, providing students with a group of words or phrases (rather than one at a time) to increase the likelihood that some of the language may be familiar and therefore give students confidence and reduce the chances that they’ll feel defeated at not knowing the first word.
  • Use of students examples (rather than pre-prepared examples) for grammar analysis.  Not always easy but with the right preparation it’s possible to elicit a sentence that’s not only a good model of what you’re teaching but also relevant to your students’ lives.

Mandy’s own (brilliant) blog deals with questions, queries, inquiries, challenges or doubts with the English language.

Check it out here:  http://englishwithmilkandsugar.wordpress.com/

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