Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Silent Teacher

...kind of, but not really. Of course I talk, I just don't talk a lot. After all, I'm pretty good at English and don't really need the practice I think. On the other hand, my students have a lot to improve on and so I try to give them the opportunity to do that.

I'm also silent in regard to how I teach my grammar/vocabulary concepts. I will rarely just put up information on the board for students to digest because I'm convinced that they usually have learned the answers at some point already in middle or high school. I put up a structure or frame and then give some hints until the students can fill in the blanks. For example, today we were talking about verbs forms. This is what my lesson looked like on the board:

we/you/they/I he/she/it


Obviously my students need to fill in the he/she/it column. If they say, "studies," I would spell it, "studys" and then just quickly move on from there and see if they notice. They usually do and so I make a joke about how I sometimes forget and thanks for helping me. It's usually really funny, which I like because I think any laughs you can get while teaching grammar is a good thing.

Another example from today. We were talking about introductions, as in asking someone their name, where they're from, their occupation and hobby, etc. On the board, I had this across the top, spread out evenly:

first/ last name age city/ country interests occupation email address

I got them to give a few examples of each thing and then asked them what is a question they could ask about each one. "What's your name" "How old are you?"

Without fail, all the classes knew the answers already so this just served as a quick review in a way that keeps the students engaged and interested because they have to provide the answers for me.

Try it and see how it works for you!

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