I observed a lesson in an English class of eleven to twelve-year-olds and it was very interesting to see the differences in teaching style than what I am accustomed to. The teacher began the lesson explaining what they were going to go over during the class. Then, the kids completed two grammar activities in their workbooks individually. Collaboration was not encouraged because the classroom is set up with desks in single file lines with space in between each of them and because she asked them to work individually. This method makes sure that all students are attempting the exercises and not just copying from other students, but it also prevents struggling students from receiving help from others.
Once the students had finished the exercises, the teacher called on students down the line to give their answers. After each response, the teacher either explained the reasoning behind the answer, asked a follow-up question about vocabulary related or discussed other grammatical aspects related to the question. This method of calling on students in a line is good to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, including the struggling students, so that the teacher can monitor understanding better. However, it can also put students on the spot and make them feel uncomfortable.
From what I saw, the teaching methods were much more teacher and book-oriented with little collaboration. The teacher taught directly out of the book and while she did elaborate a little it was still very book-centered. This combined with the lack of collaboration may contribute to one of the largest challenges I saw in the classroom: difficulty keeping the attention of the students. There were a few students who were often whispering amongst themselves or not doing the activities when they should have been.
While my CT’s teaching methods are somewhat different from what I have seen I have learned a lot and have had the opportunity to consider the benefits of teaching methods that I have never really considered before.