Five Things You Must Do Well If You Want to Be Effective Teacher of English

There are some important characteristics and skills which are a must for any teacher of English to do his job effectively. Without these things, it’s preferable for the person to try another job or for the teacher of English to teach any subject other than English language. These things are as follows:

1.Talk well:

As a teacher of a language, you will not be able to teach it if you prefer to be silent most of the time especially during the class. You should be a model for your students in talking well using the language. Talk and encourage your students to talk to learn the language.

2. React well:

Good reactions are the main element in the learning process. You should have the ability to react to your students’ talk, questions and responses. Your reactions should not only be in a verbal way. Non-verbal reactions are often more effective. In your reactions you should use all means you have to give the suitable and effective feedback.

3. Explain well:

The core of teaching is explanation. You need to learn how to clarify language items to your students. Explanation includes many skills; e.g. giving examples, presentation, clarification, wrapping up, … etc. it’s a joke if you are a teacher and not having the skills of explanation. But it is not too late. You still have the opportunity to learn to teach, I mean to explain.

4. Enjoy:

Learning a new language is and must be usually an enjoyable experience. Suppose that you don’t feel excited when you learn or teach the language, how come to make your students enjoy learning this language. Enjoyment and excitement make learning permanent and guarantee achieving all learning objectives.

5. Create:

Teaching a language does not only mean presenting some certain individual words or teaching grammatical rules directly using very controlled activities but it should include creating real-life situations to use the new language. If the teacher of a language is not creative, students will not have the opportunity to live with the language. Language will be something stable for them. Teacher of English should go beyond controlled and guided tasks to free production stage. This kind of transfer will not be possible unless the teacher has the sense of creativity and encourages the students to be creative, too in their use of the language.

Six General Tips to Manage a Class

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What does “Classroom Management” actually mean?

Classroom management is the most important factor affecting student learning.

It is the effective discipline in the classroom that provides a safe, comfortable learning environment, motivates your students, build their self-esteem and encourage them to be imaginative and creative in daily lessons.

It is having control of the class by organizing students and resources so that teaching and learning can occur effectively.

Reasons for disruptive behavior in the classroom:

Students misbehave for several reasons:

  • They are bored.
  • They don’t know the purpose of your presentation.
  • They are not aware of the importance of the information that you are delivering.
  • Activities are not interesting.
  • The pace of the teaching is too fast, or too slow.

Principles of classroom management:

  1. Dealing with disruptive behaviors.
  2. Minimizing off-task behaviors.
  3. Engaging as many students as possible in learning activities.

Six General Tips to Manage a Class:

1. Over plan your lessons:

If you don’t plan, the student will plan for you.

The more you plan, the more effective the lesson and delivery will be and the less problems with discipline will occur.

  • Ensure that you fill each minute of the period with learning activities.
  • Be prepared and organized well.
  • Minimize transition time among tasks.

2. Arrange the seating:

  • Rearrange the desks — both for your language lessons and sometimes even for a particular activity so that it is both easier and more natural for students to see and talk to each other.

3. Look at the students:

  • If you are standing, and your eyes are constantly moving over the class, everyone feels involved.
  • Your eyes help your students’ concentration.
  • The easiest way to check whether your students understand what you have said or what they have read or heard, is for your eyes to look at theirs.
  • Any incomprehension or confusion will show in their eyes long before they tell you that there is a problem.

4. Use your hands to encourage and direct students:

  • A simple gesture can indicate who is going to answer a question or which pair of students should now read a dialogue.
  • Simple gestures can also indicate that something is wrong.
  • Use a collection of gestures to avoid unnecessary language which can distract students.
  • Gestures can indicate what is required from individual students, or even from the whole class, with a minimum of fuss.

5. Vary your voice:

  • Pauses, stress and changes of voice when you change from comment to instruction and from statement to question will mean that it is much easier for students to follow and pay attention to what you say.

6. Gain attention:

  • Gain student’s full attention before giving instructions.
  • Provide instruction with simple and clear language.
  • Provide one instruction at a time – do not provide too many different instructions.
  • Make your lessons relevant and interesting to your students.
  • Use examples that interest students.

16 Types of School Tests

1- Objective Test vs. Subjective Test:

Objective test is independent of the person marking that test. There is usually a key of answers that leaves no room for subjectivity in grading (e.g. M.C tests or false-true tests) but in Subjective test, the score depends on the marker. It usually happens that different markers give different scores. The gap between the markers may be sometimes very wide (e.g. in free writing).

2- Speed Test vs. Achievement Test:

The speed test aims at measuring the speed of performance. It is made a little longer than the time given. (e.g. Two hundred items on grammar to be answered in an hour) but achievement test aims at measuring students achievement. The given time is made to be adequate; emphasis here is on measuring achievement not speed.

3- Public Test vs. Local Test:

The public test is given on a country-wide scale and prepared by a central authority. It is usually announced and relatively long. It is normally given at the end of a school cycle but the local test is locally prepared and given at the same school level by the class teacher.

4- Standard Test vs. Normal Test:

The standard test is carefully designed and undergoes long experimentation and research. Each score has a special interpretation that indicates where a certain scorer stands among a statistical population of similar individuals but the normal test is not standardized. The majority of tests, of course, belong to this normal category.

5- Written Test vs. Oral Test:

The answers for written test are to be given in a written form but the answers for oral test are to be given orally.

6- Announced Test vs. Drop Test:

The teacher assigns the test material and fixes a certain date in advance for the announced test but the drop test is given without previous announcement. It is usually a short one and it aims at keeping students on the alert.

7- Classroom Test vs. Home Test:

The test questions of the classroom test are given and answered in class but the home test is given in class but answered at home .

8- Closed-Book Test vs. Open-Book Test:

Textbook are closed while students are taking the closed-book test but students are allowed to use their books while answering the questions of the open-book test.

Eight Tips to Manage the Classroom and Keep your Students’ Attention

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Classroom management is mainly based on attracting and keeping your students’ attention. If you succeed to do that, you will be able to achieve your learning objectives easily. Here are some tips to attract your students’ attention

  1. Use a signal for zero noise (e.g. if I raise my hand, you all should keep silent.)
  2. Come close to two students chatting and surprise them.
  3. Give clear instructions for each activity telling students what to do exactly.
  4. When making transition from one activity to another, ask for your students’ attention.
  5. Eye contact with as many students as students to monitor the entire room.
  6. Differentiate and vary your activities during each lesson to break monotony.
  7. Ask questions to check students’ comprehension.
  8. Keep silent for some moments while looking at students until they pay full attention.

Quick Guidelines for Writing Effective Test Questions

It is a challenging task for teachers to write test questions, especially when a test is being used to measure certain learning outcomes. Take into account the following guidelines before you begin writing test questions.                                                     

True/False questions

True/False questions include high probability of guessing the correct response so it is better to avoid them and find a more substantial way to ask the questions. If you think of using this kind of questions, you must not include them any of the qualifying words such as “sometimes” or “always” because these words provide a clue to the correct answer. True/False questions are best used for pre-tests to help identify what the learner doesn’t know.

MCQs

Multiple choice questions or MCQs are less subject to guessing. In addition, they can be used to assess higher-level thinking. The stems and solutions or alternatives must be constructed effectively by:

  1. Stating the stems clearly presenting a single, clear problem or question in each stem.
  2. Avoiding negative phrases or irrelevant material in the stems.
  3. Avoiding clues to the right answer and using “all of the above” or “none of the above” in the alternatives.
  4. ensuring that distractions or alternatives are reasonable and presented in logical order.

Essay Questions

Essay questions are and should be used mainly to measure higher-level thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing and making connections. In these questions, clear guidelines should be provided about the topic, grading or marking so that students can be well aware of how to write the essay. Students should be provided with a lot of practice on writing several short essays rather than on a long one to allow them to write on a variety of topics.

Seven Kinds of CLT Activities to Build up Students’ Communicative Competence

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is based on the main goal of involving students in meaningful communication using the target language. There are many activity types that can be used in the classroom to achieve that goal. The following are the main ones of them.

  1. Communicative activities:

In these activities students should use the language in real-life communicative situations where real information is exchanged and authentic language is used. In addition, the language used is not predictable.

E.g. when asking about directions and how to get to certain places; the nearest bus stop, café or train station.

  1. Information-gap activities:

These activities achieve the goal of people’s communication which is getting the information they don’t possess. Students are encouraged in the classroom to do this kind of activities to communicate meaningfully to obtain information.

E.g. divide students into pairs to practise role-playing. Each student has information that the other doesn’t know. One student asks for information on train departures, prices, the time, … etc.

  1. Task-completion activities (puzzles, games, map-reading, … etc.)

In these tasks the focus is on using the language resources to complete a task.

  1. Information-gathering activities (survey, interviews, searches, … etc.)

In these activities students are required to use the language resources to collect information.

  1. Opinion-sharing activities:

In these activities students share their values, opinions and beliefs such as listing the most important qualities of a good teacher or the best friend.

  1. Information-transfer activities:

In these activities students take information from one form and represent it in a different form. E.g. reading information about a subject and represent it in a graph or a map.

  1. Reasoning-gap activities:

In these activities students derive or infer information from given information.

E.g. deriving information from the classroom timetable.

 

Aims & Key Stones of any Teacher Mentoring Programme

Mentoring is a partnership created to help and assist mentees to reach the highest levels of professional and personal development.

Effective mentoring programme should aim at the following:

  1. Identifying and meeting mentees’ personal and professional needs.
  2. Facilitating the growth of mentees personally and professionally.
  3. Providing mentees with ongoing support, professional conversations and supervision.
  4. Reducing the problems that mentees may encounter during their teaching practices.
  5. Supporting development of mentees’ knowledge and skills.
  6. Providing mentees with the opportunity to analyze and reflect on their job and roles.
  7. Building a theoretical foundation with mentees for teaching and learning.
  8. Providing mentees with various resources to get information.
  9. Developing mentees’ understanding of teaching strategies, delivery skills and classroom management procedures.
  10. Familiarizing mentees with subject content concepts and activities that facilitate learning.
  11. Supporting mentees’ understanding and implementing of various means of students’ assessment in the classroom.

Key stones in any mentoring programme:

  1. Active listening.
  2. Classroom observation and teacher conferencing.
  3. Role modeling for teachers.
  4. Giving and receiving feedback.
  5. Leading reflective professional conversations.

A Lesson Plan to Teach the English Novel

Objectives:

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Read for fun skimming and guessing the meaning of difficult words.
  2. Read for scanning and answer some questions on details of the chapter.
  3. Answer the questions on the chapter on the textbook.
  4. Act the scenes included in the chapter.

Teaching aids:

Set-book, Class board, mind mapping, video film, …….. etc.

Learning strategies

Individual, pair and group work, Playing roles, Analysis, Summarizing, …

Warm up (Reviewing):

* Ask about the author and characters of the novel, and the location(s) where the events happened.

* Remind students with the main events of the previous chapter.

* Ask some questions on the main events of the previous chapter.

Presentation (Viewing):

* Target Vocabulary:

* Target Structure:

* Target Function:

Steps of Introducing the New chapter:

  1. 1. Before reading, ask students to guess (expect) what events are going to happen.
  2. Write one or two questions on the board on the main points of the chapter at hand and ask students to read silently and quickly the chapter to answer these questions and underline any difficult words.
  3. After answering the pre-questions on the board, give students a general idea of the chapter , presenting the new vocabulary through using synonyms, antonyms, mind mapping, full sentences, real situations and deal with target structures and functions if found.

Practice:

  1. Write more questions (different types) on the board on details or ask students to read the questions on the chapter on the textbook. Then ask students to read again the chapter but carefully this time to answer the questions they’ve read. Students can work in pairs to answer the questions.
  2. Elicit the answers from students.
  3. Show students the scenes of the chapter on a video film (if found).
  4. Divide students into groups and distribute the roles among them to present the scenes of the chapter.
  5. At the end, some students come to the front and present a summary for the whole chapter using, First, Secondly, Next, Then, Later, Finally, ……

Assessment:

* Ask: What have we learned today?

* Ask some questions to elicit the main events.

* Ask students to write a summary for the chapter as a homework assignment.

* Assign some more questions on the chapter for students to answer in writing at home.

* Ask some critical thinking questions on the chapter.

Previewing:

* Specify the next part (chapter) of the novel for students to read.

* Write one or two pre-questions (different types) on the next part or chapter and ask students to answer them after reading at home.

Self-Evaluation:

* Students enjoyed reading for fun, skimming and scanning. Or

* Techniques used were suitable and objectives were achieved. Or

* Students need revision and more practice on the chapter at hand.

A Lesson Plan to Teach Email Writing.

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Email-writing aims ultimately at:

  1. Improving social skills ( saying “thank you”, sending an invitation, offering help or support, ………etc. )
  2. Asking for information informally.
  3. Exchanging ideas and opinions.
  4. Writing about some personal experience.

Here is a model for an email writing lesson plan

Objectives:

At the end of this lesson Ss should be able to:

  1. Compose a written text (an email) based on a familiar subject.
  2. Recognize the differences between writing a letter and writing an email.

Warm up:

  1. Discuss email-writing focusing on personal experience, reasons, advantages, feelings, form, expressions, ………
  2. Show the class a real model of an email (on a wall sheet, overhead projector or data show) and encourage Ss to talk about what they see.

Presentation (Introduce the rules of email-writing using the previous model of the email)

  1. Show Ss the box where we should write the email address of the receiver and how to write it.
  2. Show Ss the box where we should write the subject of the email.
  3. Point to the word “Dear” referring to the name of the receiver after it.
  4. Tell Ss what to write at the beginning of the email ( informal greeting and then tell what you are writing about )
  5. Ask Ss to read the body of the email and check their understanding.
  6. Tell Ss what to write at the end of the email (“Best regards”, …. and under it; the name of the sender )

Practice (Ss practise email-writing in pairs)

  1. Select with Ss a familiar subject to write an email about to a friend.
  2. Specify the email address and the name of the receiver and write them on the board.
  3. Elicit some suggested sentences to be impeded in the body of the email.
  4. Ask Ss to work in pairs and write the email (in a separate paper) as the model they saw before, go round to check and give help.
  5. Take some emails and show them to the class. Read out them and provide feedback.
  6. Each pair take their email to make the correction needed and then come to the front showing the class the final version and read the email aloud.

Finish the lesson:

  1. By reminding Ss with the rules of writing an email.
  2. By asking Ss to write another email at home after specifying the information needed for doing that.
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