February 21, 2013 by gemmalunn
When the new school year starts on the 4th of March I will only have 6 weeks left teaching at Dong Pyung Girls’ Middle school here in Busan. This idea just came to me this morning (whilst reading Ava Fruin’s recent post – thanks for the inspiration*!) so I’m posting it before I realize it’s a bit too ambitious and chicken out!
My idea is to choose 6 different areas of teaching, one for each week left, which I want to work on. I will focus on this area by recording the relevant part of the class, transcribing it and making small changes. I will also do relevant reading on the area to help explore ways in which I can improve. I teach 3 different lessons/grades a week and repeat each lesson 6 times so plenty of opportunity for tweaking and experimenting!
I want to do this challenge for a couple of reasons:
1) I want to avoid the sense of apathy that comes when you are in the last few weeks of a job.
2) I don’t know when I will next teach in this type of environment – large classes & teens. Therefore, I feel I should make the most of the last 6 weeks and use them to push myself and my students; hopefully we’ll both learn something new.
Below are my initial ideas of areas I want to work on. So far I’ve got 4 weeks, I have a few other ideas for the last 2 weeks but I’d also love your input; so please leave a comment with any ideas you have.
My 6 week challenge
1. Starting a class – I generally start each class in the same way, we say ‘good morning/afternoon’ then I ask a general question like ‘did you have a nice weekend?’ or ‘how are you today?’ to which the same few students always answer, then we start the lesson. I want to try and get the students more energized from the start of the class by trying out some different approaches.
2. Ending a class – Each class is 45 minutes long and I usually end up running out of time and we finish in a rushed way. Sometimes I finish with time to spare and use the time for review. During this week I want to focus more on timings and leave enough time for a valuable closing activity.
3. Silence – Inspired by Ava Fruin’s post = -TTT+STT = 🙂 I want to explore the use of silence. I’m not sure how well this will work with classes of 30 teenagers; will they fill my silence with valuable English or will they fill it with chatter and start to become disruptive? I shall see. I don’t just want to reduce my TTT for the sake of it but also, as Ava mentioned, focus on the quality of what I’m saying and extend the time I give students to respond and speak.
4. Giving Instructions – I want to look at different ways of giving instructions. I tend to put the instructions on a PPT then explain them and use as many actions as I can, my co-teacher will then check that students understand.
- 5. ______________________?
- 6. ______________________?
*This post was also inspired by John Fanselow’s Breaking Rules course where he highlighted the benefits of making small changes to your teaching.