Last week I observed three English classes at San Rafael paying particular attention to the planning and delivering of instruction, classroom challenges that my cooperating teacher faces teaching, and different teaching styles I observed.
To begin, it was very interesting to compare and contrast my observations in Madrid to previous lessons I have observed in the United States, and how these similarities and differences affect the classroom environment and student learning. One of the main aspects that surprised me while observing my CT deliver instruction was that each lesson lacked clear learning objectives. My cooperating teacher began class by having the students open their workbooks to go over homework exercises, and then continued on with the lesson doing various grammar exercises, partner work, examples on the blackboard, etc. This is very different from the lessons I have observed in the US where my CTs would start with an opening activity to get the students engaged, and introduce the learning objectives for the lesson so the students clearly understand what needs to be accomplished during the class. Throughout the whole lesson, I felt as though my CT didn’t have a clear objective or goal in mind for what he wanted to accomplish, making transitions between workbook exercises/group work/etc difficult and unorganized. Additionally, when a new concept was presented, there were no activities to reinforce the material. The entire class consisted of doing various activities out of the workbook and on the blackboard. Thus, the way my CT plans and delivers instruction is very different from what I have observed previously in classrooms in the United States. I think part of the difference in the delivery of instruction is due to the challenge my CT has with managing the size of his class. All the classes I observed were at their full capacity, with about 35 students in each of all different language abilities. For this reason, my CT struggles to manage the students and create activities that will create a suitable learning environment for everyone.