Friday, December 28, 2007

Constructive teacher-talk

Verbal characteristics of good teacher-talk [by Robert O' Neill - Hove 1994]
Typical uses or Context of Teacher Talk -

Explaining lexis or structure
Elicit response
Modelling (giving verbal models for students to use in their own communication)
Explaining or clarifying tasks
Repairing break-downs in communication
Story-telling and oral presentation of written material
Verbal characteristics of Teacher Talk -

Fully grammatical
Preserves "natural" stress & intonation
Broken into sense groups
Simplified but not unnatural
At least 80 % comprehensible
Broken into short paragraph segments to encourage or invite students to interrupt, comment and ask questions.
When new vocabulary is taught, typical examples of use and usage are given whenever possible
Teacher gets regular feedback through Qs & other devices,
Teacher gives students chances to interact with each other as well as with teacher.
Teacher gives models for students to use with each other in pair or group work.
Variety of elicitation & explanation techniques
Covert/overt correction techniques
Non- or Para Verbal -

Teacher maintains eye-contact when talking with as many students as possible.
Uses eye contact & body movement to give emphasis/invite participation (prolonged gaze to invite comment & gestures to help explain language.
When a student speaks the teacher looks at the speaker but also around class to judge reactions and to see if other students are indicating that they want to speak.
Walking away from the student speaking to make the student speak more loudly & engage in eye-contact with the class.
Teacher uses facial expression to indicate interest, doubt, approval and occasionally disapproval.
TOPIC: YOU, YOUR VOICE and YOUR BODY: Projecting a more confident and capable self-image. Using breathing to improve our general energy levels. Breathing from the diaphragm. Voice: pitch, projection, and variety. Eye contact, Gesture and Facial Expression.

Erect or slouched posture?
Hunched shoulders when nervous?
Predictable/Unpredictable movement when teaching
Tics or physical habits?
Breathing from the diaphragm
What kind of voice - low/ high pitched, nasal
Avoiding monotonous tone
Adapting to different rooms
Facial expression: smile/grim/worried/
Facial or gesturial ties
Eliminating eye-dart, slow-blink, soul-gaze
Showing interest in what others are saying.

TOPIC: LILY WONG-FILLMORE "Input in Second Language Acquisition" Newbury House 1985 ISBN 0-88377-284-1: Characteristics of lessons that worked well -

Formal lessons with clear boundaries
Beginnings and ends marked by formulaic cues
Regularly scheduled events both by time & place
Clear lesson format, instructions and lesson phases
Clear and fair turn-allocation
Clear separation of languages L1 & L2
Use of demonstration, enactment to convey meaning
New information presented in context of known information
Heavy message redundancy
Simpler structures used
Repeated use of same sentence patterns or routines
Repetitiveness, use of paraphrase for variation
Emphasize comprehension
Focus on communication.

TOPIC: The 25 Most Common Tips Given To Student Teachers

Start by being firm with pupils
Get silence before you start speaking to the class
Control the students' entry to the classroom
Know & use the students' names
Prepare lessons thoroughly and structure them firmly
Arrive at the classroom before students
Prepare furniture & apparatus before students arrive
Know how to use apparatus
Be mobile: walk around the class
Start the lesson with a "bang" and sustain interest & curiosity
Give clear instructions
Learn voice control
Have additional material for bright and slow students.
Look at the class when speaking & learn how to scan
Make written work appropriate (e.g. to age, ability, cultural background of students)
Develop an effective question technique
Develop the art of timing your lesson to fit the available period
Vary your teaching techniques
Anticipate discipline problems and act quickly
Be firm and consistent in giving punishments
Avoid confrontations
Clarify and insist on YOUR standards
Show yourself as a helper or facilitator to the students
Don't patronise pupils, treat them as responsible beings.
Use humour constructively.
Encourage Students (i.e. good efforts).

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