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

A few days ago my students agreed to let me record their lesson. Thanks very much to Mike for doing the honours! Unfortunately we didn’t get the whole lesson, because the camera ran out of space, but 50 minutes was plenty. I was working with a group of upper intermediate students from English File Upper Intermediate 3rd edition, and this was my tenth lesson with them.

Four images of Sandy in class - two giving instructions, one with a hand up for silence, and one writing on the board

The last time I watched myself was during the Delta, about four years ago. You can see the videos here. I enjoyed the experience much more this time round, partly because I have a great group of students, and partly because I can see just how much I’ve progressed.

My instructions are now almost always clear and concise, and I’m much better at waiting for students to listen to me. I indicate changes in pairs or groupings and wait for students to move before the rest of my instructions, show the materials as I speak, and check instructions so the whole set-up is much more efficient. Monitoring is more consistent, for understanding of the task, task completion and language. I’ve recently started using the board more consistently for emergent language, and am developing the information I include there. I was pleased that I gave students time to write down this language as I don’t always remember it.

There is still the occasional lack of wait time for students to answer my question, I should have introduced the phonemic chart before students looked at the sounds on the board, and I need to incorporate more of the language that I write in my notebook into future lessons, though at least I’m normally getting it into the lesson which I write it down in. In fact, it’s important to get a lot more recycling and revision into all of my lessons.

The part of the lesson which wasn’t recorded consisted of finishing the pronunciation practice, including differentiating between /u:/ and /ʊ/, which the group particularly struggled with, and then giving them some speaking practice about clothes and fashion. For the first time in a while they had a chunk of time to do this, which was long enough for me to conduct a speaking assessment, one of the regular assessments we do. It also gave them freer practice, something which I often struggle to get to, and am trying to work on at the moment.

All in all, I think this was probably my most successful lesson with this group, mostly because for the first time this year I didn’t try to cram too much in. The students were engaged throughout, and I believe we only focussed on the language that caused them problems after we’d completed the initial test.

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Comments on: "Watching myself teach (again)" (5)

  1. I do also suffer from the “wanna cram too much in” syndrome, especially in demo lessons. Come to think of it, there’s rarely true when it’s just my lesson with my own learners. Anyway, love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is where I find I’m a slave to coursebooks – really trying to move past that, but it’s hard to break old habits. I do worry that I’m passing that onto to the next generation as a trainer too. That’s what makes Anthony Gaughan’s approach to training so appealing, but I need to get my head around that style of teaching before I can train other people to do it!
      Thanks for the comment Matt 🙂

      Like

  2. Sounds very rewarding, good reflections! I haven’t filmed myself teaching since the dip… Maybe I should…

    Like

  3. […] Me 🙂 teaching upper intermediate students – working with gerunds and infinitives (8 minutes) – find out more […]

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