My first observation (of 8) went very well. The lesson I had planned was, ‘students practise and express the present and past tenses in the context of daily routines and lifestyle, through speaking, listening and reading exercises.’
I have from experience realised that covering daily routines can be a tedious task for students and I wanted to make the lesson fun and engaging. I decided to use a video on the International Space Station (ISS), where students would watch the ISS orbiting the earth live. They would then watch a short video on an Astronaut’s daily routine and lifestyle on board the ISS. The videos and live ISS feed was very well received and students produced some excellent questions when asked to write one question they would ask an Astronaut about his lifestyle/routine. Questions such as ‘how do you find a new planet?’, ‘What do you eat?’ and ‘Is it dangerous? This was more of a warmer exercise, and after collating the questions I read them out then moved on, I could have extended this activity by getting students in groups to answer other students’ questions. Also at the start I also could have given students to write as many words to do with the ISS, thus setting the scene, and introducing students to new vocabulary, rather than just eliciting.
There was also listening incorporated within the lesson. First was listening to an Astronaut about his morning routine, and students did a gap fill, this was praised in my feedback as it was both authentic and formal as well as including the mundane ‘Cristina’s day’. As I gave it prominence (the listening) my observers were thrilled as this is usally negelected in ESOL. There was also some new lexis but not too much, however I could have drilled the pronunciation as well as using questions to check the meaning of the words, or get students to write sentences of how they may use the new words in context.
I used a wide range of acvitivies to keep students engages and focused, as I always believe students should always be active, and if left to just listen to the teacher they will drift. An aspect that was raised in my lesson was the pace. I was seeming to rush (maybe as I had so many new students and also was being observed) and I have to come realise that it is not quanity and how much you can get done, rather it’s about quality. I could develop activities more, such as the questions at the start, or the part where feeding back on Cristina’s routine, and the differences between her and the Astronaut’s life. Also I should take into consideration difficult aspects of language learning, such as formation of questions, I elicited sentences about her day, rather than questions which are more complex and need practice.
The final task that was given was students producing a planet of their own in groups. This was really exciting and I even participated being an avid artist! After producing a new planet students presented to the class and described who lived there, what life was like and what was special about it. The work produced was excellent and very enjoyable.
Another aspect which I need to focus on was differentiation. As with all classess there are variations in level and performance. I could use higher level students to work in small groups of lower level students so modelling different structures. I can prepare more challenging tasks for higher level learners. Also through questioning I could differentiate (use Bloom’s taxonomy) using more complex questions with higher level learners. I will definitely look further into this aspect and it would work well in my class as I have different levels and abilities. Also in my feedback I was told I can use and exploit higher learners with weaker ones e.g use them for modelling answers, role play and examples.
My planning was very detailed, however I need to loosen up. I seemed bent on getting through everything and this need’nt be the case. Although occasionally time may seen important and limited, the learning is what it vital, thus by being quicker would not yield effective results or learning.
Overall myself and my students as well as my two observers thoroughly enjoyed the lesson. It was a great success and once areas for devlopment are taken into consideration and applied I can feel more confident that learners have had maximum exposure to their and my potentital to learn and teach. Once I have applied the methods advised I will feed back.