relationship I was just building with the class. So depending on whatmy host teacher’s lesson was, I would be the facilitator of spelling, dictation or handwritten exercises. Though, students behavior was not better in the following classes; they would not pay attention to the instruction, hardly completed the task, a few of them interrupted the class with disruptive behavior, and most of them stayed off the task almost the entire class. As I already mentioned, “my interventions had escalated to a space were they would talk, do and write whatever but what was asked, and it was already time for me to perform my first assessed class.” It was after my head teacher had a conversation about discipline and misbehavior with the children, and I started using Dojo points that I saw a change, however I decided to go beyond for my whole-class lessons.
At the beginning of the first semester, when I was observing my host teacher’s lessons, I realized that classes were given in Spanglish and that students did not make any effort when it comes touse English in the class. The instructions were given in English, then, as students did not understand, my host teacher tried touse gestures. However, she ended up giving instructions in Spanish anyway. When I started teaching, I had problems with this due to when I started using English I lost half of the class. They got distracted because they did not understand whatI was saying. For this reason, I felt forced touse Spanish to get their attention, but at the same time, I felt uncomfortable. From that moment on, I tried touse English and a lot of gestures, but when I felt that they were not understanding, I used Spanglish. I noticed that when I was giving
When we think about language we shall think on communication as a human systemic method, either written or spoken. Moreover, according to the online Cambridge Dictionary, language is a system of communication consisting of sounds, words and grammar, that is to say, a system to express feelings, opinions , etc ,either verbally, written or any manner that you choose to do it. Hence, we need to understand the importance of language as a tool of communication, especially, when teaching and learning a second language, which in this case is English. As teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL), we need to ensure that all the abilities that concern language, that is to say the four skills: reading, speaking, listening and writing, are correctly achieved in order to have a prosperous communicative relationship in the classroom. Therefore, I have realized that speaking performance is one of the weakest of the four skills in the classI will analyse throughout this research, and it needs to be ensure carefully and dynamically taught in order to keep our students interested and challenged. We as EFL teachers know the burdens when getting our students to produce and achieve a suitable level of proficiency when they have to express themselves orally or answer inside the classroom in a language that is not familiar for them.
B) Fulfilment of final group project (Third and final part of the project): Students need to present their NGO project to the rest of the class in order to expose the final decision they made. Presentations must be short and concise as to not cause stress in students with high levels of English or preparation of the presentation. Each student will have a role in their NGO groups; hence they need to explain what they did during the process of conveying a final decision. Presentations must provide information such as: “Why did we choose this NGO project”, “Why do we think it is important to help our planet”, “How do we invite people to collaborate with our project”. Each question needs to be explained in no more than three sentences, and the last one must provide a poster or draw to invite people to join their NGO; this last strategy in the fulfilment of the task is planned as to guarantee participation from members who do not enjoy writing or deciding things, but rather prefer creating things and drawing; they will still use English and participate in their groups; they also need to explain why they decided touse that type of advertisement. Once all presentations are done, the entire grade will decide on a project that they want to do.
During the classes I taught to 6 th grade students at Colegio San Antonio, I noticed that I was not managing time during classes. That is to say, students spent more time than they are supposed to doing an activity. Moreover, during my classes, I observed that I had to give more minutes for developing different activities in classes because I found myself running out of activities. Consequently, I started to distrust lesson plans I prepared for different classes. In my lesson plans, it is stated the period of time that I was supposed to spend for every activity and parts of the class, including greetings, monitoring or delivering instructions. Nonetheless, that time was not accomplished since I did not plan the class in order to cover the whole period of time because of the few activities prepared for the lesson. Therefore, I am not giving my
Firstly, the teacher said the hello to the students. Students already had their textbook on their desks and they were in silence waiting for the classto start. When I said hello to them, they all answered. In this particular moment, I asked them who wanted to be the helper of the day. All the students raised their hands and J was randomly chosen. I explained them, that in every class we could choose a helper. They smiled. After that, I gave J a necklace in order to recognize her as the helper. After that, I looked for some flashcards on the Mystery Bag. J and I presented the flashcards and we asked their classmates the date, the weather and their feeling, while showing the flashcards. Once students answered the date, J stuck on it on the whiteboard. Subsequently, all the flashcards were stuck on the whiteboard (students chose the weather and their feelings). After that, we continued with the class. I showed them some clothes, and they had to answer what it was correctly. When I showed socks, every student answered, even those who did not useto participate. I was surprised that they were willing to answer.
schoolwork, the people at school and the teacher (Fredricks et al, 2004). Moreover, she states that these emotions might be positive or negative and they surround between being happy, interested, sad, bored, frustrated and angry. (Connell & Wellborn, 1991; Skinner & Belmont, 1993 on Fredricks et al, 2004). In regard to cognitive engagement, also conceptualized as a psychological investment in learning (Fredricks et al, 2004), this type of engagement is measured also through surveys, but the items asked in this questionnaire are more based on asking about “flexible problem solving, preference for hard work, independent work styles, and ways of coping with perceived failure”. (Fredricks et al, 2004 p.67). Moreover, according to Fredricks (2004), cognitive engagement can also be oriented to measuring through the goal theory, “although a variety of terms have been used, such as learning, mastery, and task- focus, the measurement of goals tends to be very consistent. The measurement scales include items such as being committed to understanding the work, in contrast to wanting to get a good grade or wanting to look smart” (Fredricks et al, 2004 p. 67). Thus, this leads to understand why students make use of different strategiesto learn contents. These strategiescan be exemplified as elaborating or organizing. (Fredricks et al, 2004).
Additionally, Epperson and Rossman (2011) state that clear instructions lead to successful activities. All in all, the best activity could fail if the instructions are not well formulated. Besides, another essential point that is repetitively covered by this set of strategies is the fact of using CCQs in every single class, in order to boost student´s participation and check if the instructions are clear or not (Epperson and Rossman, 2011).The Ministry of Education (2015), through the program English Opens Doors, supports the use of CCQs as a way to increase student´s involvement and comprehension about the topic. Furthermore, it categorizes three types of CCQs: Yes/No questions, discrimination questions and limited answer questions. In this way, at the end of an instruction – giving it is useful touse questions like these: Do we have to write? or do we have to circle or underline?. During my classes I asked my students what do you have to do? but now I see that maybe was not enough for our context.
the moment of taking decisions, for example: Whatto teach and how to do it. There are three main categories regarding to age, we have the children, the teenagers and the adults. As I have seen during myteaching experience, it seems that children are able to learn a language a little faster in comparison with teenager and adults, according to (Harmer 2007) this could be because of the plasticity of the brain. Based on whatI previously mentioned, I would say that children acquire the language without a lot of effort and we as teacher need to give them the appropriate input to make them work and develop all their abilities. Talking about teenagers, Harmer mentions that people tend to consider teenagers as unmotivated and a little boring learners, and as it has been seen it could be harder to teach them just because they seem to be interested in other things or subjects instead of English. On the contrary, (Penny Ur, 1996) proposes that this is the age in which students are easier to be taught. The main point is how teachers use their resources tomotivate teenagers. Most of the times, we do not look for the appropriate resources and activities in order to engage and encourage students to be active in class. We live in a society in which everything is catchy for teenagers, we have technology, information, devices and so on, that is why we need to look for the best ways to encourage them to participate in class. By doing this, students are able to manifest an interest to the language and the class, and feel that the knowledge they are learning is meaningful and contextualized for them. Finally we have the last category, the adults. When we talk about adults learners we tend to think that it is harder for them to acquire a language just because their brain does not have the same plasticity as little kids. Apart from that, it is seen that the majority of the adults have more responsibilities than kids or teenagers, for example: they have to work and most of them have to support their families, it means the time they have to study is more limited. Nonetheless, (Harmer 2007) affirms that as any other learner, adults have especial
Finally, a third factor that affected my investigation is related to external issues such as students’ previous knowledge and sitting arrangement. I realized that students lacked vocabulary which often prevented them from interacting orally in the activities carried out. The students’ lack of vocabulary made oral activities difficult to come to an end. However, this issue is the subject of other research that I was not intended to investigate. Furthermore, the way they were arranged in the classroom was detrimental to the flow of the class and significant accomplishment of the activities planned, due to students could be distracted easily and it was easier for them to disrupt the class. On one opportunity, students were placed in the traditional way in four rows with two students per table, and it was the only time in which they could perform all activities in a very comfortable way for them and for me as the teacher. I was neither allowed to change their places not taking them somewhere else. These factors can certainly be improved, and are important elements that have to be taken into consideration in my future practice; in order to keep my goals in relation to the students’ learning process.
During my period of observation I was able to detect the lack of vocabulary students had when it came to English classes at the moment of speaking, reading comprehension, listening. As I mentioned before, Colegio Los Ceibos has never had an English department. This problem affects directly to the students, since they do not plan the classes or set clear objectives to students. Every English class is made entirely in Spanish and students are not able to learn properly. The teacher does a lot of translation and there is no moment for them to interact. The main vocabulary of the unit from the book or the activity was not important. As a consequence, words, sentences and instructions became weightless to them as they do not have any connection to real life. According to Richards and Renandya (2002) “…Vocabulary is a core component of language proficiency and provides much of the basis for how well learners speak, listen, read and write. Without an extensive vocabulary and strategies for acquiring new vocabulary, learners often achieve less than their potential and maybe discouraged from making use of language opportunities around them…”(255) The lack of strategiesto infer words from the context does not help learners to retain the meaning of the words.
Regarding the last statement, there is no doubt that we all have wondered what could be the perfect way for teaching a foreign language when we are not immerse in a context in which English is commonly use; very differently as how we learned our mother tongue. In this sense, one of the most difficult things –for me- to deal with when teaching in the different experiences I have or I have seen is Speaking. Though many different strategies or methodologies may be possible ways for teaching this skill, they may vary according to every person’s perception or context. Therefore, being involved in a work of investigation as an Action Research is very useful because it can function as a tool to read and share to people who might be facing a similar issue or have some inquiries about how theories, beliefs and ideas work in the real context.
Several students from ninth grade D refuse to participate on the lesson plans prepared for each class, and decide to spend the entire module doing other activities of their choice, such as: listening to music, talking to their classmates, or completing homework from other subjects. Furthermore, as it was previously explained, there are some students who usually arrive late at the classroom, which means that they lose the pre-stage of the lesson in which topics and contents are usually introduced. As consequence, these learners frequently have difficulties to tackle and perform tasks, especially when language production is required. Instead, they start misbehaving by doing other activities that are not related to the class.
8 Ministry of Education: “What we eat”, which aims at identifying and understanding information related to food. These worksheets had activities focused on vocabulary such as completing food’s names, matching food images with their written form and painting images of food. There was only one day that the students had to watch a video of a song about food preferences that children expressed in a video. However, in this class, no activities were identified that aimed at developing listening skills such as practicing vocabulary, asking the students touse the new words by creating sentences, predicting the material they are going touse, answering questions, focusing on what they had to listen to in order to achieve the objectives for the unit they were studying. Additionally, it had been observed that in few opportunities the host teacher used the Ministry’s English textbook, nevertheless as aforementioned, these students usually had to complete worksheets as the main material of the class.
Students were not very enthusiast about the strategies, there was one student who said “ay Camila leer que lata” There were other two who said “para qué vamos a hacer esto”. Hence, I saw that they were not very eager to see what was coming next. I took advantage of negative comments, and my introduction to the topic was to ask them whether it is easy to read in English, most of the class said “Noooo”. I asked why one of them said “Porque los temas son muy fomes de repente” Another said “porque a veces no entiendo na” When the student said that I told them that today’s class was about “Reading strategies” and that this would help them no matter what their level was, but they needed to take notes so that they can have a reference when they need tousestrategies.
The second and third stages presented by Wiggins and McTighe (1998) refer to Assessment Evidence and Learning Plan, which contain performance tasks and learning activities, respectively. After determining the desired results, teachers must first establish what specifically they will consider acceptable evidence for such expectations (Assessment Evidence), Wiggins and McTighe argue that this approach encourages teachers and curriculum planners to “think like an assessor” (p.18) before designing a specific unit or lesson in class. Only in the third stage do Wiggins and McTighe encourage teachers to plan learning experiences and instruction. In the sense of thinking through the most appropriate instructional activities, there are several key questions which can be useful in the backward design: “what enabling knowledge (facts, concepts, principles) and skills (processes, procedures, strategies) will students need in order to perform effectively and achieve desired results? What will be need to taught, in light of performance goals? What materials and resources are best suited to accomplish these goals?” (p. 1819).
According to O´Malley and Chamot (1990) it is impossible to think of applying strategies without considering students´ age, their level of English and the context in which the acquisition occurs. They suggest that in case of children, simple strategies might result as the most effective. “Commonly used VLS seem to be simple memorization, repetition (…) These more mechanical strategies are often favoured over more complex ones (…) However, even rote repetition can be effective if students are accustomed to using it” (O´Malley and Chamot, 1990, p.38). Many authors agree with the assumptions stated above. According to (Cohen and Aphek, 1981) the activities of little depth may be more suitable for beginners, because they contain less material that “may only distract a novice, whereas intermediate or advanced learners can benefit from the context usually included in deeper activities (Cohen and Aphek, 1981, p. 76)
Encouragement and Motivation: In regards to the nature of our research question, it is important to clarify that the use of the word "encouragement" instead of "motivation" is on purpose. While Keller (1983) refers to motivation as the choices people make as towhat experiences and goals they will approach (389), we associate "encouragement" to stimulate students with guidance. For the objective of this Action Research, both concepts aforementioned differ from one another; however, independently of their motivations, we want to help learners take the first step. Stated differently, motivation is subjective as it merely depends on each person. Consequently, it is hard to know whether students will be motivated, as students' motivation cannot be guaranteed; however, it can be stimulated by either external or internal facts. Therefore, encouragement is considered a suitable word because there is an intention to promote it throughout the application of speaking strategies implemented by the teacher.
Classroom management is a topic which has been vastly discussed by several authors. According to Everston and Weinstein, classroom management can be defined as all the actions taken by the teacher to ensure the learning environment (2006). This definition puts the teacher in the centre of the classroom management. On the same line Marvin (2003) states that “Classroom management deals with how things are done…… has to do with procedures, routines, and structure.” Marvin also separates the concept of classroom management from the concept of discipline stating that “Classroom management is the teacher’s responsibility; discipline is the student’s responsibility”. (Marvin, 2003, paragraph. 7. in Walters and Frei, 2007). This last definition is one of the motivations for this action research. Scrivener (2005) puts the classroom management focus on what the teacher does inside the classroom not only in terms of teaching but also in terms of the psychological and emotional side of the teacher. For example his or her teaching beliefs can guide their classroom management style, the communication with the students, teacher – student relations, etc.
Following the previous ideas, Harmer points out “good teachers at this level need to provide a rich diet of learning experiences which encourage their students to get information from a variety of sources.” (p. 83). The author argues that teachers need to work with students individually and in groups; in that way good and affective relationships could be developed. Moreover, teachers need to plan different activities for a given time of period, and be flexible to move on to the next activity when they see their students are getting bored. Teachers of young learners need to spend time understanding how their students think and operate. Teachers “need to be able to pick up on their students’ current interests so that they canuse them tomotivate the children.” (p.83).