6 week challenge: Week 2 Ending A Class


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.

Small changes

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?

Next week………………………………….silence.

(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.



5 thoughts on “6 week challenge: Week 2 Ending A Class

  1. mikecorea says:

    Hi Gemma,
    Was this already nearly a year ago?? Somehow.
    I am still thinking of your great presentation in Gwangju which was also nearly a year ago.
    You might be wondering why I am suddenly commenting on this post after so much time. This is because I am trying to catch up on comments I wish I made last year. No pressure to respond as I know you are busy and I know it’s been a long time since you first posted this.

    I wanted to start by sharing a memorable moment for me. It was a very long time ago when I was an undergrad and I was taking a course about TESOL (not my major) and we were exploring beliefs related to teaching and one thing was about finishing lessons. If my memory is correct the majority of the group was sure lessons needed to end with a clear wrap up and all the issues and questions settled. I remember the most experienced teacher (a local high school Spanish teacher) saying, “You know what sometimes, I like to leave a question and something lingering. It doesn’t work every time but I sometimes like to leave something unsettled. I find that students are more focused the next time.” This sort of blew my mind.

    This might not seem totally related to your post but for me it connected to the ritualized aspects we might fall into as teachers.

    Speaking of this, I thought your point about the “good job girls” and this potentially being ritualized is a good one and well-spotted. Speaking from experience I think this can easily turn into just something that we do as teachers without considering it.

    You had three questions in your post:

    “What are your predictable conventions or routines that accompany the exit stage of your lesson”?
    I think there is a frequently some talk about upcoming things in the class.
    There is a chance for Questions and answers.
    There is some thanking and possibly praise from the teacher.
    Often some checking of learning.
    Often collecting feedback.
    Lately I have been playing around with some more individual tasks at the end of class (including much of the above). This can free me up to talk to some students individually.

    I really dislike the feeling of racing through assignments and requirements for the next class so I try to mention this early and/give something in writing or online.

    (I might want to mention that the classes I am talking about are 3 hours long once a week–so there is time for a lot of things.

    “How much of this is conscious? How much is ‘ritualised’?”
    I think most of it is conscious. Also sometimes I make changes on the go and have to miss out on some sort of the closing I’d planned.

    “Are you doing these to serve a purpose or just because it’s something you’ve always done?”
    I hope I am doing them for a reason. I am looking forward to being a bit more conscious of this in my upcoming lessons.

    Thanks again for the great post and great series!

    • gemmalunn says:

      Thanks for taking time to comment Mike and it’s really nice that you remembered this post and have come back to it a year later.

      I like the Spanish teacher’s idea of leaving something lingering, I imagine that would keep everyone’s attention more than a ‘normal’ ending.

      When I did my teaching practice for the Dip last year every minute of the lesson was planned for and the endings had to include a decent summary of what was learnt. Making sure I allowed time for these was actually really useful and meant the end of class was never rushed and did have a feeling of completeness. Mind you they should have after 8+ hours of planning!

      Thanks again for the comment and compliments 🙂

  2. […] last year and I just chose the only post from that which didn’t have a comment on it yet. The post I commented on is about ending a class. All the posts (like everything on her blog) are great and well-worth reading. Those interested in […]

  3. dayisnight says:

    Great food for thought. I’m definitely guilty of ritualized praising and rushing to get my things ready for the next class. I’m wondering, in the year since you wrote this, do you find that you’ve implemented these changes? I’m gonna give this a try on Wednesday and see how it goes 🙂

    • gemmalunn says:

      Thanks for the comment. I haven’t been teaching for the past 6 months as I’ve been doing my MA but I definitely tried to implement the changes and be more aware of my actions at the end of a class after this reflection. Like everything I often slipped back into old habits but at least I was aware of it afterwards and could make more effort the next time.
      Hope it goes well tomorrow.


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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s

The Holistic Blueberry

Living life healthily and happily


Mike Caulfield's latest web incarnation. Networked Learning, Open Education, and Digital Polarization


For developing EFL/ESL teachers.

ELT Research Bites

More than just an abstract


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

a teacher/trainer/learner reflecting on shifts from confusion to clarity (and the other way 'round)

Jeremy D. Slagoski, PhD

Educator - Curriculum Designer - Researcher

The TEFL Show

Podcasts about teaching English and learning languages


My ramblings, rants and reflections on TEFL

Ready, Steady, Go!

Teaching EFL to YLs & VYLs

Maria Theologidou Blogging! | Teaching English

A passionate teacher and an enthusiastic blogger!

BYOT Network

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

Achilleas Kostoulas

Αχιλλέας Κωστούλας * Ιστοσελίδα και Ιστολόγιο


John Hughes, ELT author & teacher trainer

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: