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Classroom Observation: Report 1

Teacher Observed: G
Observer: Alejandra de Antoni
Date: May 19th 2009

Observation Table taken from “Tasks for Teacher Education”


(Pearson Education Limited)

Class: 1st Year Intermediate (C School, Buenos Aires City, Argentina)


Number of Learners: about 25
Age: 12/13 years old
Length of Lesson: 40 minutes
Level: Elementary+ / Pre-intermediate
Observer: Alejandra de Antoni
Teacher Observed: G

After observing a 40-minute lesson, I will answer the questions in Class Observation
Table A (see Appendix) in order to analyse the collected data.

1. Materials used:

o Blackboard
o Coursebook (Energy 2, Pearson Longman)

There were also visual aids on the walls. Some were created by the students
(posters) and some others were provided by the teacher. However, they were not
used since they were not relevant for the current lesson.

2. Aim of the lesson (what the observer believes was the aim of the lesson):

o To carry out a speaking activity (Who’ve done it?) in pairs to practise/revise


the past continuous. If the aim was to practise or revise this tense, it was not
achieved because the students didn’t use the tense themselves but they only
listened to it (they understood the teacher perfectly when she paraphrased
what they said using past continuous) or read it (from the coursebook).
However, it is also true that, when helped and guided by the teacher, some of
them managed to rephrase their sentences using the past continuous.

3. Talking Time:

o Teacher: 60%
o Students: 40%

Students’ talking was not generally done in English unless the teacher pushed and
guided them to do so. (Some of the students, however, tried to use English most of
the time  even though it was a really tough job for them)

4. Use of English (vs. use of Mother Tongue)

o Teacher: 90% English – 10% Spanish 


o Students: 90% Spanish – 10% English

5. Learners’ Participation:

o Most of the students were not very active. They were not carrying out the
activity and were talking about something else. The rest of the class was
doing the activity but most of them were not using English. We know it’s very
difficult to make such a large course solve an activity without their using their
mother tongue. It’s very difficult to monitor all of them and to make sure that
they are using English. I think that this is generally the case with information
gap activities in which one of the students has the information and can hand it

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Classroom Observation: Report 1
Teacher Observed: G
Observer: Alejandra de Antoni
Date: May 19th 2009
over to his partner without using English (showing it, for instance). However,
there are activities, such as opinion gap or reason gap activities, in which
what they have to provide is not given by the activity and therefore they are
forced to interact to find a solution to the problem. In this way, we can be
certain that they will have to interact and, therefore, use the language in
some way because they know they have to give their answers in English.
However, these activities have a very important drawback: we cannot control
or restrict their answers and, therefore, cannot be sure that they will use the
language form we want them to practise. Consequently, we need to resort to
these three types of activities and to be ready to face the risks that using
each of them imply.
The learners were always called upon by their first names. It is compulsory for
us to talk to them as people with whom we can have a conversation about any
topic, if we want them to be in a communicative classroom. When we talk to
our friends, relatives and acquaintances we always use their names and,
therefore, we do the same with our students.
As regards volunteering, only a few of them would raise their hands asking for
answering questions or speaking. It’s not something surprising at all. It
generally happens that some students feel more at ease to speak in front of
the class and they are generally the “risk-takers” because they do not care
much about making a mistake in front of the rest.

6. General Behaviour and Attitude of the Learners:

o In general and especially at the beginning, they were very restless. They
showed, through their body language and face expressions, that they did not
want to carry out any activity. However, as the lesson went by, some students
really got involved in the search for the criminal and participated actively as a
whole class to try to get to a conclusion.

7. Asserts and Mistakes: how were they handled?

o Asserts: when students did something right, instead of praising them in the
“normal” way, what the teacher did was showing that she was perfectly
following what they were saying (just like we do in conversations). I think that
this is a great way of showing the students that they are using English not to
be tested but to engage in a natural conversation with the rest and with the
teacher about a certain topic (in this case, finding the criminal).
For example:
Teacher: Congratulations! Some of you can be very good detectives! (She
never talked about language or forms!)

o Mistakes: the teacher handled them using guiding correction. Instead of


saying “no” or “it’s wrong” the teacher would rephrase what the student said
using the proper form or she would ask them guiding questions for them to
get at the proper form on their own. For example:
Student: “some persons was…”
Teacher: “How many people?
Student: “four people was…”
Teacher: “four people…”
Student: “were!!!”

8. Sketch of the classroom:

There were three rows of students facing the blackboard. In each row, there were
about seven lines of two students.

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Classroom Observation: Report 1
Teacher Observed: G
Observer: Alejandra de Antoni
Date: May 19th 2009
On the walls, there were some posters made by the students. For example, one
called “Labour Day.” There were some others provided by the teacher, for example,
the Phonetics Symbols one.
Most of the time the teacher is walking from one place to another so as to be able to
talk to and monitor different students. She was not sitting at her desk! 

Teacher’
s Desk

S–S S–S S–S

S–S S–S S–S

S–S S–S S–S

S–S S–S S–S

S–S S–S S–S

S–S S–S S–S

9. Language activities carried out throughout the lesson:

o There was just one activity (a pair work): students were asked to carry out an
activity from the book in which they had to find out where were the different
characters at the time of the crime so as to see who the criminal was.

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Classroom Observation: Report 1
Teacher Observed: G
Observer: Alejandra de Antoni
Date: May 19th 2009

APPENDIX: Class Observation Table A (from Tasks for Teacher Education)