Student Participation

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Student Participation

Post  Miss Kaylene on Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:21 pm

How Can I Make Sure All of My Students are Taking Part? (Miss Kaylene)

If we want all of our students (Ss) to improve their English--especially their spoken English--then we need to give them chances to USE that English, to practice and to try. While it would be nice if they practiced more and used English AFTER class, the truth is that if they are going to practice English at all, it will usually happen within the 40 or 50 minute period of our class each day or each week.

When a teacher has a very large class, it is easy to listen to the Ss who are eager to speak or call on the Ss with the highest English level or best behavior so that we can move through the material quickly with the claim that we have given the Ss a chance to practice. But what about all of the Ss who are not as fast to answer: the Ss who are a little slower in their learning, the Ss who do not like to study English, the Ss who are shy or afraid of getting the wrong answer? We may be afraid that calling on them will waste our precious class time or make those Ss feel embarrassed in front of their classmates.

Think back to what you learned during your time in oral classes and methodology sessions in STEP at Guangya School. How can we set Ss up for success in their learning and in answering our questions? Interactive learning is the key: basic pairwork, groupwork tasks, or the think-write-pair-share method Mr. Don often uses. By allowing Ss to write down an answer before they speak out or talk with one or two classmates, we encourage bored Ss to pay attention, shy Ss to be more confident, and slower learners not fall too far behind the other Ss. Also, by simply allowing Ss a little more time (perhaps 15 seconds to 1 minute depending on the difficulty of the question) to write down their thoughts or review an article or simply think before we allow any of them to answer, we may find that then nearly any student in the class is able to answer when we call on him or her.

Silence may seem dangerous in our classroom because if we are not talking...ah, we might lose control of our Ss, right? Actually, silence is quite a powerful tool. In a safe and trusting classroom atmosphere, extra seconds to think and absorb what the teacher is saying can help the Ss to not feel overwhelmed with too many new ideas or pieces of information. Slow down, my teacher friends. Pause sometimes. Wait. Give more then just the top two Ss a chance to answer your next question.

In my own classroom if I have one eager student who is always answering every question, after she has answered for the second or third time in that class period, I might say, "Ok, would someone besides __________ like to answer this question...?" when I see her hand go up again. If you've been in my STEP class, you also know I use Random Selection cards. These are cards on which I write the names of my Ss--one name on each card, and poker cards work well for this because they are thick; I can use them for a whole term or a whole year. When I want Ss to answer some questions or share with the class, I reach in a draw a card/name at random. I can put names I've already drawn in a different place so that I don't draw a name twice in one class. Or if I have a student with very bad behavior, I can put her name back in the stack and draw it several times in one period so that she does not get bored. Using the Random Selection cards is especially helpful when you have a group of new Ss. By using the cards regularly, you may be able to learn Ss names more quickly because you call their name and see their face immediately.

Once I learn Ss' names, I try to be intentional and call on different ones around the room. A friend of mine recently told me about how she equalizes Ss response time in her classes. She keeps a list of the names of all the Ss in a class on her podium or desk at the front of the room. Every time she calls on a specific student to answer a question or share his idea with the class, she puts a mark beside his name. That helps her to make sure she is giving everyone a chance to answer questions or practice in front of the class sometimes.

Lastly, I want to say that it is so important to encourage our Ss--especially when those who are reluctant to speak stand up to share their ideas or answers. Our positive responses and attitudes towards the shy and lower language level Ss when they speak--whether their answer is right or wrong--can have a big effect on whether or not they want to try again in the future. Who knows? Perhaps if you continue to encourage that struggling student every time he stands up in the class, in the future he might actually start to like studying English and be eager to study and try more!

加油,我的朋友们! And I hope you will continue to encourage more active participation by Ss in your classes. Smile

Miss Kaylene

Posts : 1
Join date : 2011-08-01
Age : 38
Location : Dujiangyan, Sichuan

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