Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer, manager and consultant

I have just submitted my Reflection and Action (RA) Stage 4 for my Delta, and it feels like a weight off my shoulders! The four stages are, briefly:

  1. Teach an experimental practice lesson, where you try something you have never done before.
  2. State your teaching beliefs, highlight your main weaknesses, create an action plan to deal with them and describe how you will collect data connected to your plan.
  3. Show how you have progressed with your action plan and what data collection methods have helped you. Create another action plan, highlighting different weaknesses if necessary.
  4. Describe your teaching beliefs now, and whether they have changed. Show what was most useful from the RA process and create a plan for the future (watch this space to find out how my blog will be incorporated into this).

I’ve already shared a video from a class I taught in January, and I learnt so much from it, I decided to do it again. The quality is a bit better this time, helped in large part to being in a bigger classroom! I have put up two excerpts here, which I would be interested to hear what you think of.

The group were B1 intermediate, mostly from Brazil, with one German and one Saudi. We were working on the money vocabulary from unit 2a of New English File Intermediate (pages 20 and 147), including listening to the song Ka-Ching. The lesson was 1h45.

The first video shows all of the times I gave instructions during the lesson, including a couple of remedial instructions when students didn’t understand. One student got very stressed because they really didn’t understand the first two exercises – I haven’t included this in the video, obviously, but I think it’s important to know that before you watch. Instructions are one of the areas I highlighted in my Stage 3 action plan, and I still need a lot of work on this. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I’ve tried writing instructions down, and have also audio recorded myself, but neither of these seem to have helped particularly. The only thing that seems to have changed is that I now use a few more instruction-checking questions, but clearly not enough! The same video also shows examples of me feeding back from exercises and drilling pronunciation.

The second video shows a focus on ‘borrow’ and ‘lend’, which were causing students some problems. There is a black-screen transition in the first video to show you the point at which this was covered in the lesson. (I divided them so you don’t have to watch 25 minutes if you don’t want to!)

Apart from looking for instructions suggestions, I’m not going to ask specific questions as I don’t want you to miss the gorilla 😉

Thanks in advance!

Photo by me, shared on eltpics

Comments on: "Watching myself teach – the encore" (17)

  1. that activity used to be one of my favourites 🙂

    i remember that the gap fill was tricky even with relatively strong students. as i recall i moved away from the written gap fill and focused more on listening i.e. asked sts to listen out for the missing words.

    i think part of the issue with ths is particular ex as presented by NE File is that the demand of both reading and listening is somewhat high. so taking away the reading and just focusing on listening seemed to reduce that load. thgh my memories are somewhat vague now.

    thx for sharing the video, very useful and very brave of you!



    • Thanks for your advice Mura. That makes sense. I’ve taught the unit once before, a long time ago, and I should have remembered that there’s a lot of input and not much practice too – the students ended up quite overloaded.


  2. swisssirja said:

    Dear Sandy, how very brave of you to share your recorded lesson with us!
    I enjoyed watching it a lot, especially as I have worked with the same song a couple of times, too. So in a way I was watching your lesson like a hawk, comparing, contrasting, fishing for tips, considering changes. In general, I found your lesson very reassuring. Yep, that’s the word. Noone seemed to be left behind. You were THERE for everyone, waiting for their answers, taking time, making sure everyone understood. I liked the way you worked with preps, writing possible answers on the board and then letting them decide which sounded right. However, it seemed your students are quite at the same level and such an approach is justified. It is quite time consuming and wouldn’t work in my groups – I have incredibly mixed level classes, so many students would know immediately the right answer, so no place for hesitation…
    As you pointed out yourself, the technique of verifying if instructions were understood, worked well. I immediately noticed it (even before reading your post) and it made me smile big time 🙂 it was nice you pronounced the new words with them prior to the song, too. I guess, depending on the level, it’s maybe too quick for them to write the words during the first listening. Maybe just listen first …
    As for the instructions, maybe, if it’s difficult, you explain once and then cut them into steps and write the steps on the board, letting them finish them, e.g step 1. Listen step 2 take the words … ( exercise 1) step 3 write them …. (In the song) etc…
    Best of luck with your DELTA!


    • Thanks a lot Sirja. Writing the steps on the board sounds like a good idea. Maybe I could prepare that for some students, although it would depend on their reading level…hmm, will think about it!


  3. Hey Sandy — looks like a lot of fun, and you’re so mild-mannered! Your students must feel really safe around you. I hope I can get more like that… I can be pretty intense in class, which isn’t good for everybody (or maybe anybody).

    Coming at it from the student’s side, I share the concern about the first task blending reading and writing with the listening. I wonder if starting with a task like sequencing the target vocab while they listen (just those items on a handout), then maybe checking by seeing if they fit in the blanks, or need reordering, then maybe reading/listening to check one last time?

    With regard to your giving instructions question, have you considered asking them to predict what they’re going to do, instead of telling them? If they are veteran ELLS, they probably know the drill and might benefit from explaining it in their own words? I noticed you were gesturing on the handout from the words to the blanks, which is undoubtedly helpful — if it needs to be more explicit, could you model it on the whiteboard somehow?

    Just my thoughts – really enjoyed your share here. Will do the same eventually (sometime this term). Wanna do some playing around with youtube and subtitling first.


    • Hi Tom,
      Thanks for your comment and your compliment 🙂 Now I think about it, breaking up the sheet more might help too – song on one side, matching to definitions on the other. I don’t cut things up as much as I did when I started teaching, and sometimes I forget that it can help!
      Looking forward to seeing your video,


  4. Thanks for sharing your post with us, Sandy! I know the lesson, and I love the video you’ve selected (Shania Twain) … much more up-to-date than the one in the book. 🙂

    Your reflection helps me to become aware of what I will be up against, as I’ll soon be starting my M2, with lots of RA’s in store. Great lesson, and info.



    • Are you doing your M2 distance again Lucia? Let me know if I can help in any way, although I’ve failed two of my lessons…at least I can tell you what NOT to do!


  5. Rageshree Mukherjee said:

    Hi Sandy,

    It’s always a pleasure reading your posts. I almost gave up on the thought of doing DELTA. Your positive comments have really brought my courage back!

    Just wanted to ask, I can’t see these two videos here. Tried from other machines too!

    Can I the videos anywhere else?

    Many thanks,

    Rageshree (We’re FB friends! :))


    • The videos are on vimeo: and Hope it works. Good luck with the Delta!


      • Rageshree Mukherjee said:

        Thanks very much Sandy.

        But the videos aren’t visible on Vimeo either! 😦



        • Sorry about that 😦 Not really sure why they’re not working for you. Do other vimeo videos work? I know people have been able to watch them before, and I haven’t changed the settings at all.
          Hope something works for you!


          • Rageshree Mukherjee said:

            Ah! Finally I could see both the videos. Thanks a lot for sharing it here.
            I loved the way you started simplifying the words “borrow” and “lend”.(Give and take)
            Wonderful board work. (Something I am never satisfied with and always want to improve mine! 🙂 )

            For giving instructions , I usually prefer to start after they have the worksheet or coursebook with them so that they listen and watch together and can refer to it more easily.
            I’ve also tried showing Powerpoint slides while giving instructions for complex activities. Each slide for one part of the instruction. This worked very well.As I think, dividing instructions into parts is always a good idea.




          • Thanks for persevering. Really like those tips too.


  6. Hi,

    Did anything come before what we see in the videos. In the Ka-ching lesson, would it not have been better to have the sts listen to the song first without the written text?



    • Hi Sam,
      The videos are excerpts – it’s a long time since I taught the lesson, but I’m pretty sure this is from New English File Intermediate, in which case the idea here is to do some prediction based on rhyme, rhythm and new vocabulary, then listen and check whether you’re correct.
      It depends on the aim of your lesson as to whether you decide to get them to listen without the text first or not.


  7. […] also realised there’s actually another post about an intermediate class, this time with two videos. Here’s what I thought on watching […]


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