Are you challenging your students enough to learn English? How do you know if tangible learning is taking place in your English language classroom? Jim Scrivener explores these questions in this stimulating talk and suggests a number of simple, practical extension activities to include in lessons that will demand more from students and stretch their learning to full potential.
Video 1 - Introduction / Do students know something that we've forgotten?
Video 2 - Is tangible learning really taking place? / A new proposal and a brief manifesto
Video 3 - It’s OK to teach
Video 4 - Techniques to encourage more interaction from the whole classroom
Video 5 - The subordination of teaching to learning / Conclusion
Downloadable resources and further reading
About this training session / session notes
Session summary and objectives
Who is this seminar for?
- All teachers, regardless of experience may be interested in knowing more about Demand High teaching
- Teacher trainers of INSETT (in-service training), certificate and diploma courses.
About the speaker
Before you watch
Do you think there is a difference between being an English teacher versus being a facilitator of learning? Consider the link between these two terms before finding out what Jim Scrivener has to say on the matter.
Real life practice
Task - Feedback in class
- Imagine the scene in class - the students are working on a language exercise. You have reached the stage of the lesson where you are focusing on accuracy. The students are completing a grammar exercise in the coursebook and there are ten questions to answer. Typically, when they have finished the exercise, you ask the whole class or selected individuals for the answers to the questions.
- Now, rather than simply getting the answers to the questions and then moving on to the next activity, the objective is to explore additional ways to extend and consolidate the learning from this activity. Refrain from saying ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ straightaway. Aim to get more students involved in this feedback stage:
- Please read the whole sentence.
- Look at me, and tell me the whole sentence again (from memory, without reading).
- Please repeat after me (example word or sentence).
- Say the whole sentence (individual drill).
- Say the whole sentence (choral drill).
- Listen to me saying it and then you try again.
- Try saying it faster.
- Why is the sentence wrong?
- Do you agree with the answer?
- Give incorrect example (is this correct?)
- Think about pronunciation – e.g. which words within the sentence have the most stress?
- Offer other examples of the target grammar, some with incorrect grammar, and ask students if each example is right or wrong.
- Ask students for a different way to say the same thing.
- Ask students in pairs to recall orally as many of the answers in the exercise as possible, without looking at the book (speaking activity).
- Ask students to write down as many of the sentences they can recall without checking in the book.
- Ask yourself – are your students capable of learning more than they are currently learning? Challenge each student to reach their highest potential.
- Maximise the learning that is possible from language exercises – expand the feedback stage with a variety of extension activities.
- Remember that even beginner level students can say something to a high level of production.
- Beware of teaching to the loudest or strongest four or five students in the class. Ensure that every student is engaged in oral feedback activities.
- Don’t be afraid to teach grammar. If you lack confidence in teaching grammar, make it a professional development objective to challenge yourself to be a better grammar expert.
- While it is important to stretch learners to achieve their highest potential, challenging them to go further in front of classmates might be potentially embarrassing. Be mindful of this, but don’t let it hold you back. Effective teaching and learning takes place when students are stretched and challenged in a fun way, in an anxiety-free environment.
Join the discussion
Join the discussion!
- Jim Scrivener suggests that teachers need to challenge students more in order for them to learn English more effectively. Do you agree with this assertion?
- What do you think the teacher’s role is in helping students to be fully challenged?
- How can you tell when this is happening?
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