Before the class observation:
I met the instructor before class to discuss overall goals as well as goals for that day’s lesson. The overall goal of the course is to improve reading comprehension skills, increase vocabulary and reading speed, and develop discussion skills. The goal of that day’s lesson was to work on reading strategies: scanning, identifying main ideas, and understanding details. The instructor mentioned that there are only 10 people in the class and almost all of them are between the ages of 18-20 (with the exception of one man who is about 25 and one woman who is in her 30’s). They are all at pretty much the same level, although there is some slight variation.
During the observation:
The instructor starts the class by picking up one assignment that was due and they check three other assignments together. All of the students call out the answers in unison. (The chapter in the textbook that they check was about bullies.)
Then she hands out strips of paper with five discussion questions that pertain to the topic of bullies, for example “Why do you think children become bullies?” and “What would you do if someone bullies your child?” Students get into groups of two to discuss their opinions on these questions. The instructor walks around from group to group and listens. She elicits more responses from the students and scaffolds them as needed. It seems as though she employs an integrated focus on form approach to error correction because “the learner’s attention is drawn to language form during communicative or content-based instruction” (Lightbrown and Spada, 2008 p. 186), where the primary focus is on meaning. She appears to be genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts and she laughs with them when they make funny remarks. Students appear to be comfortable and engaged. She seems to be creating a positive environment in which to learn. After the students discussed these questions in groups, they share their ideas with the ...
... middle of paper ...
...ents to come up with their responses.
I believe this instructor to be highly effective and someone to whom I can use as a model. She incorporated many things that I liked into only a two-hour lesson, including proper planning, providing authentic and interesting materials, promoting learner autonomy through strategies training, allowing group work, employing a communicative approach to learning, creating a learner-centered environment, and using integrated focus on form.
Dörnyei, Z. & Csizér, K. (1998). Ten commandments for motivating language learners: Results of an empirical study. Language Teaching Research, 2, 203-229.
Felder, R. M. (1995). Learning and teaching styles in foreign and second language education. Foreign Language Annals, 28, 21-31.
Hadley, A. O. (2001). Teaching language in context (3rd ed.). Boston: Heinle and Heinle.
Rivera-Mills, S. V. & Plonsky, L. (2007). Empowering students with language learning strategies: A critical review of current issues. Foreign Language Annals, 40, 535- 548.
Spada, N. & Lightbown, P. M. (2008). Form-focused instruction: Isolated or integrated? TESOL Quarterly, 42, 181-207.
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