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LCB Teachers Training College Rodrigo Rouco

Taller Didáctico p. la Enseñanza del Inglés en el Nivel Medio

Class Observation # 1
Class: 1st year A – Level: Intermediate
Nº of learners: 29
Age of learners: 13 years old
Length of lesson: 40 min.
Level: Pre-Intermediate
Observer: Rodrigo Rouco
Teacher observed: G

1) Materials and equipment used:

- Textbook: ‘Energy 2’, Pearson Longman (selection) – pp. 52, 53 / Unit 5 –


Rules & advice.
- CD (from ‘Energy 2’)
- CD player
- Blackboard

2) Aim of the lesson:

I think the aim of the lesson was to introduce students to the grammatical and
functional points of the new unit: imperative sentences and giving commands (this
included exposure and the teaching point). It was also intended to give students
some recognition practice of affirmative and negative sentences.
However, half of these aims were achieved. The students carried out the exposure
part only: listening to a dialogue (from where the teacher would later elicit examples
of imperatives) and answering questions about it. I believe that the main reason why
not all the aims were achieved was that, being a large group, it took long to get most
to work at the same pace. In my opinion – and it has happened to me – the larger the
groups, the longer the activities will take. Although the teacher encouraged learners’
participation at all times, it was difficult to get everyone to follow at the same time:
at times, some students were not paying attention and talked among themselves. In
addition, in order to maximise the students’ opportunities for participation, the
teacher responded to every student’s contribution. For example, the clarification of
the term ‘bully’ involved the class in a lively discussion, and the teacher capitalised
on that. So, relatively short tasks (such as pre-listening, pre-teaching of vocabulary)
took longer than expected.

3) Teacher / Student talking time (roughly):

Teacher: 70 %
Students: 30 %

Most of the time, the teacher ‘held the floor’. This was expected, I believe, because
the lesson involved mostly exposure and the presentation of a new topic. However,

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the teacher managed to exploit every opportunity to allow students express
themselves. Throughout the listening activity and the reading of the dialogue, she
continuously elicited answers from students, who were eager to contribute. When
they answered in their mother tongue, the teacher either filled their gaps or
encouraged to use English.

4) English & Mother tongue talking time (roughly):

The teacher used English for most of the time – around over 90 %. The students
used English when the teacher elicited answers during the warm-up, the pre-
listening, and when answering the reading comprehension questions (80 % of their
talking time).

5) Learners’ participation:

Most of the learners participated actively during the lesson. In the warm-up
moment, when the teacher asked about their last weekend activities, several
answered spontaneously and others reacted to that – though the latter’s reactions
were in Spanish mostly. During the pre-listnening, the teacher drew on students’
prior knowledge to elicit and pre-teach some vocabulary. Most of the class
participated, answering in English mainly. While chwcking the comprehension
questions, when the teacher wanted to clarify some things (meaning of window-
dresser, on what side of the road people drive in Argentina and in Britain), students
attempted several answers, some of which were quite original!
The teacher called upon the students who answered her questions spontaneously:
she addressed them by their names, and also by pointing and approaching them.
During the checking of questions, sometimes she called on their names individually,
and sometimes to whoever was willing to answer.
All in all, well over half of the class was ready to volunteer answers. However,
several scattered students did not contribute much – either because they were the
most restless, or quite silent.

6) General behaviour and atmosphere:

By and large, learners’ general behaviour was positive and very good: the majority
of the class participated actively, and were ready to contribute to the work done.
Although chatty at times, this did not prevent them from following the tasks.
However, a few students were rather disruptive at times. The teacher would call
upon them and they would slowly resume their work.
In general, the class was lively and well-behaved. Though often rather chatty to do
some work which needed silence, they did perform the tasks willingly.

7) Teacher’s praise and errors:

Most of the lesson involved a listening and reading task, which is perhaps why
students did not make many mistakes regarding the language system. Basically, the
teacher had to help them in the comprehension of the text. During the pre-listening
task, the teacher acknowledged all contributions without explicitly correcting, but
guiding students to give some expected answers. Something I particularly liked was
the way the teacher was able to ask a lot of questions to guide students to get

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through the text and to make sense of it and the task. She elicited the vocabulary by
relating the words with the picture. When students weren’t sure, or their answers
were not the expected ones, she would give them some options for them to decide
(which got most learners eager to answer), and then she would clarify.

8) Sketch of the classroom:

The class was organised as follows:

- The teacher’s desk was at the front, in the left corner.


- The students’ desks were arranged in three rows of about seven desks each. In
general, there were two students per desk.
- The CD player was located at the front of the class, on a desk in the right corner,
near the door.
- On the walls, there were some posters. Some had been designed by the students.
Others had been taken from magazines.

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

S–S S–S S–S

9) Activities:

a) Listening to a dialogue from the book (Global Comprehension Task): Students


first read two global comprehension questions. Once they knew what they had to
listened for, the teacher played the CD. Finally, the class together answered the
two questions.
b) Reading the dialogue (Specific Comprehension Task): Teacher asked students to
read more specific questions. She asked them to read the dialogue while she
played the CD for the second time. When they heard the answer, students had to
shout ‘Stop!’. The teacher would stop the CD and the students would give the
answer.