Small changes: My 6 week challenge

5

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.

Image

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.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Small changes: My 6 week challenge

  1. ltllblog says:

    I really like this idea – it’s realistic and hopefully will make more long-term difference (improvement?) than the typical “I’m going to change everything about my teaching style because I read something somewhere!” type plan you hear from some teachers.

    Good luck, it’ll be interesting to hear how it goes.

    PS I tried using silence with a large group of teens once, it really worked.

    PPS For number 5, I recommend trying to change something about how you plan your lessons. It worked for me when I was looking at making some changes to my students’ lessons.

    • gemmalunn says:

      Hi (sorry not sure who this is as your blog link doesn’t work?)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Glad to hear someone has had success with silence + teens, makes me more hopeful! That’s a great idea for number 5 as all the other points are classroom based so would be good to look at my planning as I always do this in a very routine way.

      Thanks again,

      Gemma.

      • ltllblog says:

        Ah, sorry – blog link should be ltllblog.wordpress.com (it’s only just started though, so only a couple of posts so far).

        Be prepared to justify your decision to go silent for a lesson – I found here in China that co-teachers tend to think your silence is an indicator of anger or frustration with the group.

        Cheers,

        Stephen

      • gemmalunn says:

        Hi, sorry for the late reply been on holiday! Thanks for the blog link will check it out and thanks for the tip, my co-teachers would probably think the same actually and maybe even fill the silence. I’ll have to let them know what I’m doing beforehand!

        Thanks,

        Gemma.

  2. […] When I decided to do this challenge my two main reasons were: […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Holistic Blueberry

Living life healthily and happily

Hapgood

Mike Caulfield's latest web incarnation. Networked Learning, Open Education, and the Wiki Way

theteachertrials

My classroom trials. Sometimes I get it right.

DYNAMITE ELT

For developing EFL/ESL teachers.

ELT Research Bites

More than just an abstract

#TBLTchat

A Twitter chat on Task-Based Language Teaching and Learning

Publishing and Pondering

From publishing to Berlin and back again

The Text Chat Teacher

Teaching English Through Text Chat

Muddles into Maxims

reflecting on training, teaching, and learning on and around a 4-week ELT cert course

Jeremy D. Slagoski

Curriculum Coordinator. English Language Teacher. Researcher.

The TEFL Show

Podcasts about teaching English and learning languages

teflreflections

My ramblings, rants and reflections on TEFL

Ready, Steady, Go!

Teaching EFL to YLs & VYLs

BYOT Network

Transforming schools and classrooms into learning communities with personalized technology tools and digital content

Achilleas Kostoulas

Αχιλλέας Κωστούλας Ιστοσελίδα και Ιστολόγιο

elteachertrainer

The blog of ELT trainer and author John Hughes with content related to his publications and now experimenting with video for the flipped elteachertrainer.

Freelance Teacher Self Development

For you, then your learners

ROSE BARD - Teaching Journal

“The more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled.― Paulo Freire

%d bloggers like this: