Some useful things to bear in mind when teaching English in a class.
– Gain attention: Intonation is effective to give importance to a word, to pronunciation or specific vocabulary and also to vary the way we talk to students ir order no to make them feel bored. The same speaking volume and pitch may make the class too monotonous, so you must be alert.
You could use your voice to get the students ready to work: “Let´s start!”, or to change activities… If you are talking at a specific volume, then you raise your voice to say, “Now go to exercise two.”
– Metalanguage: Words used to give instructions or explanations or even to ask questions, here you have some examples:
How do you say… in English?
May I go to the bathroom?
The idea is that students can use the language sooner, and that there´s more English spoken in the class.
That´s why translation should be used if it is the only way to explain something, or if it is less time wasting, There are many resources a teacher has to say the same thing without using the students mother tongue, such as gestures, intonation, drawings on the whiteboard, and so on.
– Instructions: The shorter and clearer the better. After given, show an example of the task and then check if it has been understood. The mistake most frequently made is to ask: Do you understand? Try a more subtle way.
Examples: “Sit down”; “Start”, “Open the book”; “Listen”.
After the instructions are given, and the students start working, check they are doing what they were supposed to do. Don´t wait too much for this, stop the class and explain again if necessary.
– Participation: Students are the ones that should participate more. The teacher must stimulate, but the activity is for the students. Also, you can involve them in the activity asking them to call the roll, hand out papers, read the task asked in the book, etc. Avoid echoing yourself and your students because that´s more time wasted in you, and not in the learner. Sometimes it is useful to echo your students if you are teaching pronunciation. And it can be fun also.
– Teacher posture: You should mantain eye contact with your students for many reasons. One is to encourage them to ask you or talk to you, if there´s no eye contact rapport is more difficult to be established. Also it shows security and confidence in what´s being taught. You may also notice their reactions and if they are understanding or not. Another important aspect of the posture is body language. If you teach simply through words, you are teaching less or slow, but if you add expressions and gestures the teaching becomes more effective. The learner capts both and relates them for ever. Also you can correct them through gestures instead of using words such as: That is incorrect, You should do it in this way… etc. Imagine you are teaching the body. If you only express vocabulary the student doesn´t learns too much because it is very difficult to remember a big amount of vocabulary. But if you add to this activity the drawing made by students of a human body they will remember much more.
– Class control: Don´t teach only to one student, the more talkative and extrovert. You must talk to all of them, make them participate in activities, and find the way to make them feel comfortable to talk. Remember every student is different and while one can be too sociable, the other could be extremely shy.
I would like now to hear your own tips on classroom management. What things you try to bear in mind when teaching? Write some tips and submit your comment.