In this post I want to discuss the importance of stepping back and giving the students time to learn, practice, and enjoy.
All too often teachers get overly enthusiastic about explaining things, giving examples, and telling anecdotes, instead of just letting the students learn through practice and engagement.
You see, as teachers we often want to cram as much information as possible into the limited amount of class time that we have. Unfortunately, this mindset, although well-intentioned, can lead to overteaching - a situation which results in the teacher taking up most of the available class time with “teaching” and leaving precious little time for learning and practicing.
I personally believe that our classrooms should include time for explicit teaching, implicit learning, and practice. But, as many of you already know, fitting all of these elements into our classes is not such an easy task.
Therefore, in order to make this task a little easier I have decided to provide you with a few simple tips. I hope you like them.
Josh’s Five Tips on Stepping Back and Letting Your Students Learn!
1. Think about your delivery method (i.e., stop talking so much): Please check out these posts for more information - Teacher Talk - Preferences and Practices and Teacher Talk Time - Making Cutbacks, and Teacher Talk - What Can We Do To Make It More Effective?
2: Give students time to think: Don’t jump straight in to answer you own question. Don’t jump straight in to offer a prompt. Instead, allow a little more time. And then a little more. Finally, encourage your students to lend a hand (if needed)
3: Well-planned and engaging activities are crucial: The activities you set should be engaging and require the students to use the language. They should not require you to spend half of the class explaining the activity and then the other half clarifying what should be done. Activities should be easy to understand and easy to implement.
4: Have time set aside specifically for learning: Yes, it sounds simple, but set time aside to let students use the language they have just been presented. This allows the teacher to monitor progress and ensure review sessions and future teaching can be targeted in the areas that it is needed most.
5: Don’t judge: Yes, it is our job to make corrections and give feedback, but it is also our job to ensure our students remain (or become) motivated to learn (for more information please see Josh and Theo's lecture on motivation in EFL classes). Maintaining motivation can be hard when you are constantly being corrected. My tip is simple – have certain times where you don’t provide explicit feedback or corrections (unless they are really needed) to an individual student. Instead, give a ‘wrap up session’ at the end of the activity to the entire class. Praise and encourage what was done well and then provide a few points for everyone to remember.
What about this guy? Is he overteaching?
Keeping English Real!
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