As everything knows to observe is not an easy job, many aspects are involved in this process and to be able to manage these aspects we must learn from the experiences. I have observed a class and I realized about many things that I will do in a near future. I always thought that teaching was easy. Throughout my life teachers have been teaching me many things but I have never wondered how they do that job. I have observed 5 aspects in a classroom, namely; activities, use of target language and mother tongue, materials, behavior and topic.
I will start with activities. When I arrived to the school (Harmond hall) I was waiting for the teacher. When she arrived we talk about some aspects of my visit. The class started 10 minutes late but it wasn’t a problem. I have to tell that there were many activities in the classroom. She probably used activities that she has learned as a student or as her teacher experience, she gave instructions very well and the students understood what they have to do with those activities.
Activities were very interesting and encouraged the students to have a good interaction. In the speaking activities the students didn’t participate, they were only listening to what the teacher was saying and they were a bit nervous about what to say. According to Ur (1999) the teacher must teach, firstly the vocabulary and pronunciation in order to rehearse and improve this kind of activity. Another good activity was when the teacher made teams of 4 members and they were talking about what they studied in the textbook.
There were talking but frequently they forgot the vocabulary of the unit. The teacher was helping them in repeating the vocabulary many times as possible, as Ur(1999) says. Another aspect I observed was the use of language (Target language and mother tongue). In Teaching Monolingual Classes (1993). Atkinson suggests ‘a careful, limited use of mother tongue’ to help students get the maximum benefit from activities which in other respects will be carried out in the target language.
The mother tongue may be useful in the procedural stages of a class, for example: setting up pair and group work, sorting out an activity which is clearly not working, checking comprehension. I observed that when they working on pairs there were speaking in mother tongue, they couldn’t express in target language as I think despite they have a good teacher with an excellent pronunciation but it is comprehensible because they are beginners. The students tried to speak in English and they did it well.
Atkinson (1993) also suggests using the mother tongue for translation as a teaching technique. Indeed the teacher was explaining and speaking in English (Target language) all the time but when she realized that the students didn’t understand she explained in Spanish (Mother tongue) but it wasn’t frequently. I think it is so important because to explain things just can’t be done any other way and it would be so difficult to teach the target language. About materials I can mention that the teacher uses a little wide of materials.
She used authentic materials. According to Purcell-Gates, Degener, Jacobson, and Soler, (2001) authentic materials are print, video, and audio materials students encounter in their daily lives, such as change of address forms, job applications, menus, voice mail messages, radio programs, and videos. Authentic materials are not created specifically to be used in the classroom, but they make excellent learning tools for students precisely because they are authentic and there are two main categories of authentic materials—print and auditory.
In this case teacher used a print materials, she used a magazines and greeting cards. She showed a magazine with an extensive vocabulary about what they had seen, with many pictures and aids but the teachers told the students to make an scanning read in order to understand about what the topic is. Authentic materials help students bridge the gap between the classroom and the outside world. Many students enroll in school to learn or improve a language-related task, such as helping a child with homework or speaking English at work.
These kinds of materials caught the attention of the students and encouraged them to participate actively in the class. Also the teacher used flashcards asking them what the pictures mean. It motivated the students to speak in English because the pictures weren’t hard to explain. Changing the subject, I would like to talk about the behaviour of the students. When I was in the class some students weren’t paying attention for a while to the explanation that the teacher was giving, they were talking or listening music. “There are many reasons for problem behaviour.
It can stem from a student’s reactions to their teacher’s behaviour, from other factor inside the classroom, or from outside factors” (Harmer, 2001). According to what he says family problems can have a profound influence on their attitudes to learning and to authority. In this case the teacher didn’t paid attention to their behaviour and continued explaining the class. And according to Harmer (2001) she must act immediately because if she doesn’t do that the problem will be more difficult to deal. But a noteworthy point was that the teacher kept the calm and didn’t lost the control.
But I must to clarify that the behaviour of the students weren’t all the time, every 20 minutes or so. To finish this report I will give my opinion about the topic, it was very interesting. The students were involved actively in the topic and they liked it. The teacher was identified with the topic and was very active. The students were responding her questions very well. A relaxing atmosphere was felt. To sum up, I learnt much about this observation there are many things that I can do when I will give my class. I am conscious that I am building my future but for reach that objective I must observe everything around me.