Today I am channelling Worzel Gummidge. I am taking off my Grumpy Head and putting back on my Cheerful Head. Last night’s post started out beautifully then dissolved into misery! Gah!
I’m not going to write about how my daughter sobbed because her team lost at SkittleBall (no, I don’t know what it is either) or about the fact that I stayed in ALL DAY for a delivery from Viking that apparently tried to deliver to us and apparently found us ‘closed’. NO! I am going to write about a delicate balance – teacher talk vs student talk.
It is a constant worry to me that I do too much teacher talk in my lessons. I worry about my students copying me rather than learning from me. I worry about filling up too much time with telling them what to do vs listening to them experimenting. So here are my tips:
1. Practice CONCISE introductions. Always ask for a brief verbal progress report at the start of the lesson from the student in case you can incorporate any areas they are struggling with immediately. Then watch the clock as you introduce the topic for the lesson. No more than 5 minutes per hour for an intro, maximum. It will take practice but it is worth it! Sometimes I only speak for 2 minutes at the start of a lesson now!
2. Set a task immediately after the introduction that is teacher led but student demonstrated. For example, I ask for breathing and warm up exercises – I give the instruction but they do the work. This is between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the student’s needs.
3. Then do a task where you both demonstrate the skill and compliment your student when they get it right. Gently guide them where they need to develop the work and praise them when they get it right. In my lessons this is usually focussed vowel and consonant work. It sometimes takes up to 15 minutes for this section, even longer with some students.
4. Then move into an editing role. Give the task, listen to their version and edit. Show which bits need cropping / changing / lengthening and get them to try again. I usually spend about 10 minutes on this.
5. Then take a step back. Set a task and just listen. I use poetry and short passages (both fiction and non-fiction) and highlight as they read. Afterwards go through why you highlighted certain passages / words. 5 minutes-ish.
6. My penultimate task is to let the students speak freely on a given topic, for a fixed period of time. Afterwards I give feedback on pronunciation and intonation, as well as speed and volume. 5 minutes-ish.
7. Finally they read an extended piece, either from a novel or a newspaper. Again, I highlight while they are reading and go through the highlights afterwards. By this point they almost certainly recognise why I highlighted before I say the reason. About 5 minutes.
So, one way I avoid too much teacher talk is that PRECISE introduction. This inspires me for the rest of the lesson to try to avoid chatting / waffle if I can. I make the tasks achievable and enjoyable, I ditch resources that don’t work straightaway. Remember although we are there to impart knowledge, we won’t know what level their understanding is if we just blah blah blah at them. It’s a two way thing, tutoring. I learn from them what they need to know next, they learn those skills from me, hopefully!
So – a MUCH more positive blog! HURRAH! And it’s the weekend! Hubby will arrive home with chips soon and we will all be able to relax.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend too 🙂