I conducted my second teaching on last Thursday, November 5″. It was my second time to meet the students after the two weeks break, the topic I prepared for them is choose from the chapter three in Future 3, which is talk about the future plans. Because most of those students work so hard in here and they want their family to have a bright future, so it will be encouraging if I use a similar topic for them to learn and discuss. I taught almost one hour and a half on this topic and then Miss. Kim took over the rest. The teaching video only contains thirty minutes after I edited, and I sent this video to couple of my classmates and their feedback helped me a lot and gave me fresh perspectives on my teaching. I believe I learmed a lot from this practical teaching experience, which can help me do better in my performance in the future.
First of all, I personally think I became more engaged and confident in this teaching process. After I learned from my first video’s feedback I know instead of saying “okay, I see” “Uh-huh”, I should ask more contributive questions or so some recast to show I care and to get students more involved. I kept reminding myself in the whole teaching section and I think the interactions between my students and I is much better than the first time. They were willing to ask me a lot of questions in the middle of the language presentation and all those activities. In addition, from the feedback I collected from some of my peers and my host instructor, they like the way I introduced the grammar point. Instead of telling them these are future tense grammar rules that you should remember right now, I used a lively and funny story to practice their listening while raising their future tense grammar awareness.
From their performance, I think that activity went well, because they did a very good job and reached my expectation. They brought out the grammar point and lead the whole to the next section, which is language presentation. In my readings, Kumaravadivelu(2003)) mentions that learner involvement will help both the learners and the teachers in making informed choices: the learners will be able to find their own path to learning, and the teachers will be able to create the optional environment necessary for learning to take place. So when I prepared the activities, I tried to avoid the one-way delivering and think about the suitable way to organize the class based on their needs and wants. However, after I collected the feedback from some of my peers, I summarized several points that I need to pay attention to my teaching. I am thankful for them to have watched my video and given me the sincere feedback that will help me a lot in so many different ways.
First of all, sometimes I gave the students instructions for the activities but without asking them if they understood or they have questions. I think this step is very important in the class if the teacher wants to make the activity more effective. I think the reason I forgot that step was because I didn’t put my feet into their shoes at that moment, I thought my instructions were clear and they could understand easily. However, I can remember that it was real that few students asked me about what they need to do or double check about their roles in the middle of the activity. At that time, I didn’t realize it was because of the lack of this checking procedure, but after I read the feedback from my peers I finally realize the mistake I made. So in my future teaching, I need to keep reminding myself to check with my students if they understand my instructions or not. I came up with several ways that I can do in the future, such as have one student rephrase or recite what I said to make sure everyone understood or have a quick question by asking them what they need to do to double check.
In addition, one of my peers mentioned in the feedback that although my controlled activity went smoothly, I could have a better way to have them practice their speaking when they had to use the future tense point. I asked students questions one by one and expected students to answer using the word “will” or phrase “be going to”. At first when I designed this activity I only think about I can give them feedback one by one, and I gave all of the students equal opportunities to practice. However, my classimates offer me a better way, which is having students work in pairs. Instead of me asking them questions and let each of the students answer, they can work in pairs and ask each other questions and answer for each other. I think this way creates more opportunities for them to speak, and for me to listen to them and provide feedbacks. I also think this way gives students more power to communicate in the class, which can be a good contribution to a student- centered class. The students would not only practice in using future tense to answer the questions, but also get practiced in asking questions to their partners. Besides, after I explain the differences between “will” and “be going to” to them, I should ask students questions such as “can anyone tell me the differences between those two” to have the students repeat what they learned on that point. I think this suggestion is quite similar to the suggestion in my instruction feedback, I need to make sure that students are with me, so keep checking their situations is a necessary step to have me make the right decision in the class.
Besides that, one of my peers made some suggestion on the way I talk. She saidI use too many “like” in my teacher talking. I didn’t notice that while I was doing the teaching, but when I was watching my video, I realized it was really weird. I assume it is because I use “like” a lot in my daily conversations with my friends or my classmates that made me get used to that. However, it is not a good way to express myself in the teaching section. Because of the fact that all of my students are still in the intermediate level, sometimes they will learn everything from their teacher’s performance and I don’t think that is a good way to model during my instruction. I think I will pay more attention on the way I talk in the class, especially in the language presentation. In addition, she also gave me a suggestion on the way I questioned back, she said if someone asks me something and I don’t hear clearly, I shouldn’t say “what?” because it is viewed as rude. I should say, “I beg your pardon?” or “Excuse me?” I think this point is something new to me, because I never knew it is a rude way to question back.
Anyway, I think I need to observe more about what other teachers do in their teacher talk and learn some experience on that because I am pretty sure I need to improve a lot on this point. After this second videotaping and getting feedback from my peers, I feel more and more that it is a long process for me to gain experience and improve myself. Sometimes I still forget a few steps (e.g. double check their understanding on my instruction) I need to do in the class even though I knew and I planned before the class. I think that’s my biggest challenges right now to apply my plans into reality smoothly and completely. I really appreciate those of my classmates who gave me the detailed feedback to help me do better in the future. I think I learned a lot in those feedback and recognized some of my new weakness that I need to pay attention to next time.
To sum up, both of these two teaching experiences gave me a lot. I think I gained more confidence through this kind of experience and I know more about what kind of class is engaging and how I am going to do to reach my goals. Before that, I only had those theories in the book and it looked not that hard. However, the reality gave me a lesson that everything is not that easy as I think and I really need to put my heart into it, learn from failed experience, think about better solutions and detail everything you need to do before you actually do it etc. Having analyzed these two lessons with my professor and my classmates gave me a lot of suggestions that I didn’t even think of before. I think this kind of experience will help me to improve my performance in my future teaching, especially in the “how to become an effective instructor in a student-centered classroom” teaching area.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching. Hartford, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN: 0300095732