Low and high intermediate elementary 5th grade
Teacher: (the person you are observing) Date: (the date of your observation)
Instructions: Download this form and enter your answers in each box. Upload the completed form to your instructor. Approximate length: 2 pages plus references page. Each weekly observation is worth 5 points; there are 7 weekly observations.
1. What is the objective of the lesson you are observing?
Insert your comments here:
1. Students will be able to talk about things that they are interested in.
2. Students will be able to greet new students using key expressions from Unit 4: “What are you interested in?” “I’m interested in ____”; “Say ‘hello’ to _____.”
3. Students will be able to practice using key expressions through speaking activity.
2. List the sequence of activities that you observed and the amount of time spent on each activity.
Insert your comments here:
1. Small talk (5min.)
2. Introduction PowerPoint slides (10min.) – 14 slides speaking repetition drills.
3. Textbook CD (10min.)
4. Speaking Activity – Find your partner (15min.) – Each student is given with one character card i.e. Mario. On their character card, it has the name of the character, the name of the partner’s character and the things that they both are interested in. Each student needs to find his/her partner by moving around the classroom and finding out their partners. Each student will initiate a conversation like this, “Hello, my name is Mario. I’m interested in listening to music. What are you interested in?” and the other person would say, “Hello Mario, I’m Luiji. I’m interested in dancing:. They are given two character cards, therefore they must find a good reason.
5. Introduction PowerPoint slides 2 (5min.) – about saying ‘Hello’
3. How did students respond to the lesson? What evidence of learning did you see?
The students joined in the small talk and demonstrated command of relevant conversational conventions and degree of politeness required from the conversational partners with unequal status, i.e. teacher and students. Students were able to identify the key phrases from Unit 4 when presented with textbook CD recording. They were able to reproduce the content of repetition drill in their conversations with classmates. By the end of the role play all students found their conversational partners using conversational patterns to elicit information about things other students are interested in.
4. How do the activities you observed relate to the reading?
The lesson is aimed at developing speaking skills that focus on the exchange of information. In language education this function of human interaction is referred to as “talk as transaction” (Richards, 2008, p.21).
The activities suggested in the lesson shift the focus from the social function of conversation, e.g. small talk or presenting oneself, to what is said and done, i.e. the content of interaction, e.g. things students are interested in.
5. Suggest an alternative the teacher could have used.
Suggests an alternative method from the reading that could be used by the teacher and that fits the lesson content and objective. Insert your comments here:
Following suggestions outlined by J.C. Richards in Teaching Listening and Speaking, the teacher can help students to understand the theme and objectives of the task by brainstorming ideas with the class, using pictures that illustrate key vocabulary of Unit 4 to introduce the topic. At the stage of brainstorming students can predict the content of the textbook CD recording or share ideas on the types of interests people may have. To keep track of student ideas teacher writes the words on the board. After students listen to the recording they discuss its content (in pairs or groups). Students may use the worksheet with the phrases from Unit 4 or textbook and words on the board as prompts in order to take turns asking each other the question heard on the recording. Then teacher asks some pairs to report what they found out about their conversational partners’ interest to the whole class so everyone can compare findings.
6. What other comments do you have about the lesson? Reference readings.
Insert your comments here (personal teaching or learning experience, theories of learning and outside reading:
The stages of the lesson follow the traditional structure of role-play activities: 1) at preparation stage, students review relevant vocabulary with the help of PowerPoint visual aid and repetition drills; 2) at modelling stage, students are presented with a textbook CD recording of similar task (talking about things people are interested in) being done; 3) at practicing stage, students use their role cards with prompts to move around classroom and find their partner.
Researchers stress, that as a rule such exercises need only accidental support from the teacher (Richards, 2008, p. 31). However, in this particular class the students do not have the same level of language fluency: they are low and high intermediate. As a consequence, students are not equally confident of their speaking and the ones with the lower level do not always choose to initiate the conversation and often end up responding to other students’ verbal stimuli. In this view, teacher’s role is to clarify the instructions so that every student has a chance to both initiate a conversation and give a response. What is more, in teaching this particular type of the talk as transaction, attention is paid to successfully communicating and understanding information, while accuracy is not a priority (Richards, 2008, p.26). However, with the structure “be interested in…” giving students opportunity to use language creatively (i.e. choose reason from the prompts) and neglecting grammar can leave the students with the wrong assumption that the structure they practice can be followed by any part of speech: noun (dance), gerund (dancing), infinitive (to dance). Furthermore, in the suggested role play no prompts or key expression that students can use if the person they are talking to is not their partner, are provided. As a result the conversations end abruptly and leave make the impression of artificially designed classroom activity and not conversation that can take place in real life.
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