1. “Do you understand?”
is an easy one to fall into. Explaining a new concept or activity and
then asking this feels natural. The problem with this is that you’re
never going to get the response you want. Some students will probably
understand and will confidently answer yes and may drown out students
who were going to say no. Some students may not understand but might not
have the confidence to admit so, especially when the stronger students
are so sure they know what’s going on. No one wants to feel stupid,
result of this is half the class get it and perform the activity well,
the other half don’t and need guidance on what do to. You, as the
teacher, may only realise this after a few minutes, which means so much
time has been wasted in the class!
ask: “what do you have to do now?” or a comprehension checking question
e.g. “do you have to write 3 sentences or 5?” These are getting
specifics from the students and crucially, the students are telling you
what they have to do.
2. “Why are you doing that?” when a student starts misbehaving
huge generalisation here, but a lot of the time when a student
misbehaves it’s down to something the teacher is doing- poor
communication, unclear instruction, not engaging enough or no clear
guidelines on behaviour. Whatever the reason, asking the above question
is unlikely to garner the response you want. Instead, ask yourself that
question. Why is this student misbehaving? What can I do to ensure it
doesn’t happen again?
If you must ask this question, ask them at the end of the class.
me to explain… as an English teacher (perhaps a native-speaking English
teacher) one of your roles in the classroom is to be a model for the
students. When working with kids, you will find that they mimic you a
lot. Therefore it’s really important they get a good model from you all
the time. So when entering a classroom, make sure that you give a loud,
warm and friendly “Hello!” (or your greeting of choice) not a
protracted, elongated “Helloooooooooooooo” which sounds very unnatural
and isn’t how we speak at all!
4. Student answers the question, Teacher repeats the answer aka echoing
bad teaching habit, kind of…. We all know that repetition is a very
important part of learning a language but mindless (and boring)
repetition of what a student has just said doesn’t offer a lot to the
class. More importantly, most teachers aren’t aware of just how much
they end up doing this. That means more teacher-talk-time which
something we want to reduce wherever possible.
try this: if you feel the student spoke quietly and not everyone heard
it, try “louder please”. This places a higher value on student
contributions to the class.
5. “This is easy!”
may be easy for you! But you have been speaking English for years and
years! Put yourself into the students shoes. They are learning something
new and are getting instructions in a new language. Take a look at
things from their perspective and remember how hard learning and
language can be!