An Observation Area to Be Improved

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Day 3: Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

As soon as I read the prompt for today I instantly knew what it meant for me: I need to improve my observing strategies in class so as to check understanding, and measure the actual impact of the actvities I had proposed.

For many foreign language learners, the only opportunity they have for engaging in conversation is in the classroom. So it is in the classroom where their speaking skills have to be developped through careful scaffolding and feedback.

My traditional way of managing the class involves all the students doing the same activity at the same time, except when I propose some jigsaw or group problem-solving task. The problem is that if they are all doing the same kind of communicative task -regardless of the roles they play, or the discussion- it is impossible for me to listen to each of them carefully enough so as to realise which areas need to be reinforced, for instance.

Even though students have a mid-term test which is included within their formative assessment, I need to find a formula to improve my observation skills. I think the change will be built around these two main features:

Flipping classroom. As I pointed in the New Year, New Tech post of Day 2, flipping the classroom will mean freeing a lot of classroom time, so I can divide the students into groups performing different activities or stages, which will enable me to pay more attention to the students who are involved in a more complex communicative activity. I’m always telling my students that I love giving them “as many speaking minutes as possible”, so it is also fair that I give them the attention they deserve when they are trying to use the language.

Rely more on peer assistance.  While I am working with a reduced group of learners, I will provide the other groups with enough means to correct, help and build their learning together. Again, students need to perceive their learning as something based on action, collaboration strategies and autonomy.

I am sure there is an edtech tool which would facilitate this, so I welcome any suggestion or tip!


2 thoughts on “An Observation Area to Be Improved

  1. When talking about peer assistance, are you thinking of students`collaboration to correct other students`mistakes? The main problem of this is that sometimes it is not well seen by other students, specially for those who are most often corrected. I love being corrected because I know it is the best way to improve my English and being interrupted is not a problem for me. On the contrary, I am more aware of my mistakes if the teacher tells me directly.


    • Hi Carmen! Yes, you are right, I know what you mean. In fact, what you mention is one of the reasons why I’m looking into changing student groupings and classroom management. By peer assistance, in this new plan, I’m thinking of giving tools for correcting and helping eachother, and mainly in activities that are very guided, like grammar or vocabluary games that are not so threatening. I’ve always insisted a lot in class on you helping and correcting each other, but I am aware I can’t rely on that only. It is fine now and then but I know it doesn’t really work.
      This way I can concentrate on smaller groups at a time, and longer, of course. My idea is that students move from one “section” to another during the class.
      Thanks for posting your comment, Carmen. Really useful


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