(This posting includes an attachment teacher’s script which you are welcome to use.)
As mentioned in the previous two previous posting about the first two techniques, whole-class discussions can be an alien concept to some students. When trying to conduct a discussion with the whole class, it’s not unusual for the teacher to call on a student to answer but the student for some reason is unable to answer in a timely manner. It could be because he doesn’t know what to say, or how to formulate the answer in English, or isn’t confident in his oral skills. This can result in some awkward moments as the student is clearly experiencing stress and/or embarrassment, and the teacher doesn’t know whether to give him more time to answer, to ask some leading questions or to just move on to a different student. Meanwhile, the rest of the class might begin to become restless.
This technique is a kind of “escape” for students in that kind of situation. If, for some reason, they can’t answer within a reasonable amount of time, they can use one of these expressions:
- That’s a good question. I’d like to think about it first. Perhaps (a classmate’s name) could answer it.
- I’m not sure, but (classmate’s name), what do you think?
- I have no idea. How about you, (classmate’s name)?
When students use this technique, it can actually turn into a humorous situation. Almost any time a student has used one of these expression, it has elicited a lot of friendly laughter by the classmates and teacher. The classroom tension is immediately released.
To help your students become comfortable with this technique, you can use the handout and attached script, which I’ll explain about below.
Here is what seems to be some well-kept secrets about reading classes. The teacher doesn’t have to be the center of attention. The teacher doesn’t have to “act” like a teacher, standing up front talking.
And most of all, students will not be bored or waste time if they are reading individually during class.
What students need from the reading teacher is someone who can help each individual student develop their reading comprehension skills. A student doesn’t need to listen to a teacher explain to the class parts of a passage he/she already understands but that a classmate doesn’t.
Students can get the maximum benefits from a reading class and from a reading teacher through a reading workshop. This workshop approach has proven effective at all levels and with students from over 40 countries.
One of the greatest advantages is that each student’s individual needs are addressed by the teacher during the class. Another advantage is that students are working on reading by actually reading. Also, they don’t have to wait for classmates to finish reading a passage or feel pressure to read faster to keep up with them.
Here is how a Reading Workshop can be effectively organized.
(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.) Essay Evaluation Form
Imagine that you read Mari’s essay in which she developed her ideas exactly the way that you had hoped she would. But her grammar was very weak and even caused some confusion. You are torn about what grade to give her. You know that her grammar skills are not strong enough to succeed at the next level, so you don’t want to mislead her. But you also don’t want to discourage her since her content was so good.
What grade should you give Mari?