March 22, 2013 by gemmalunn
This is probably the stage of the lesson I plan least and pay least attention to which is a great reason to focus on it for a week and see exactly how I close a class.
“There are certain predictable conventions or routines that accompany the entrance and exit stages of the lesson” (1)
My “predictable conventions or routines” normally consist of quickly praising students, telling them to tidy their desks and then ‘see you next week’. The last 15 minutes of class is usually spent on a speaking activity or game and the class normally ends during this activity. I tend to review what we learnt in the class at the beginning of the next class.
As with the previous week I recorded the ending of my first class, transcribed it and worked through the ELC to see what small changes I could make.
Give myself more time – The first change didn’t come as a result of the transcription it was just something that’s been bugging me for a while – I made the clock in the classroom a few minutes fast rather than slow to try to stop me from running out of time. The bell always rang earlier than expected, catching me out so by making it fast I have given myself an extra few minutes!
Praising – From listening to the recording I realized I rush or mumble praising the class and generally say something like “ok, well done today girls” I say this so often I doubt whether students know I mean it and think this is more “ritualized” rather than “conscious”(1).In the classes that followed I made a special effort to make sure all Ss were sitting back down and listening and said:
“You did really well today, you made me really happy, thanks, give yourselves a clap”
They gave themselves a round of applause and instead of just rushing out students smiled and looked pretty pleased with themselves. Since then I’ve been trying to be more specific with the feedback and praise I give at the end of class and spend a bit of extra time giving it so students know I mean it. I want my students to leave feeling proud of themselves and a bit more confident and I think a bit of extra effort on my part can help achieve this.
Saying bye to students – Finally, not turning straight to the computer to get my next lesson ready as students are leaving gives them an opportunity to ask any questions they didn’t get to ask in class or just to say bye and also for me to make individual comments.
“The purpose of this task is to refine understanding of the conventional routines that characterise the end of a lesson, especially the purpose they serve” (1)
If I had longer classes I would spend the last 10 minutes or so reviewing the class but as lessons are so short I feel happy ending during a speaking activity as I’m keen to let students practice speaking for as long as possible. It’s important for me and the students not to rush off when the bell rings. Finally, i want to be conscious of the praise I’m giving and ensure students understand and believe this.
What are your –
“predictable conventions or routines that accompany the exit stage of your lesson”?
“how much of this is conscious? How much is ‘ritualised’?”
Are you doing these to serve a purpose or just because it’s something you’ve always done?
(1) Ruth Wajnryb Classroom Observation Tasks 1992 CUP – If you are interested in observing either yourself or others this book has observation tasks on a wide variety of areas and provides great ideas of points to look for and analyse.