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!