Friday, 29 May 2009

Lesson Observation Nº1: We All Teach What We Are!

After observing a lesson at a Secondary School (Buenos Aires City, Argentina) I tried to take a deep look into the organism that is given birth through the interaction of a teacher with her students.
Since the classroom is like an organism, there are many different factors that play an essential role in its functioning.
But, what are those factors and what is their contribution to the lesson?
The following document is the report I wrote after observing the lesson in which I analysed some of them.
Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed being in that classroom!

1st Report / Alejandra de Antoni / Classroom Observation Methods2 2009 1st Report / Alejandra de Antoni / Classroom Observation Methods2 2009 alez_avrill This is a report of a 40-minute lesson I observed at a secondary school in Argentina. It was a class of 12 and 13 year-olds. They are learning English as a Foreign Language and their level is somewhere between elementary and pre-intermediate.
The analysis carried out in this lesson is global since it's not focused on particular details but on the lesson as a whole (there is, for instance, an overall analysis of behaviour, attittude and talking time both from the students' and the teacher's point of view)


  1. So.... what factors did you identify as affecting interaction during this lesson, Alez? I was also intrigued by one of the questions in your observation report, the one about lesson aims (# 2): you say in your view "revision/production of past continuous" was not achieved... What WAS achieved during this lesson then? Or, from your point of view, nothing was learned by any learner during this period?

    Happy observing!

  2. Hi Gla!
    Well, I never said that nothing was achieved!
    What I said was that it was too short a lesson for the students to have actually practised past continuous.
    Anyway, that doesn't mean they didn't learn anything! Even though they didn't make use of the past continuous they were exposed to it al throughout the lesson thanks to the teacher's rephrasing students' answers and sentences to help them express their ideas better.
    I think that, what they did practise, was pairwork and organisation of information, which are, of course, very useful tools for learning! (:
    As regards interaction, there is a key issue that always brings about difficulties when we want our students work in pairs: it is sometimes really difficult to make them interact in English while carrying out the activity. Anyway, I know that the objectives of the activity will always vary depending on the group of students and that it is very difficult to monitor all of them to make sure that they are doing the activity properly. It is also true that sometimes, as in this case, students' level of English hinders their interaction because they are extremely worried about making mistakes or because it will require a lot of effort from their part.
    All in all, I do think that, somehow, students did communicate in English when they tried really hard to share their ideas in English when correcting the activity (:

    Hope this clarifies a bit your doubts (:

  3. Was just wondering what lesson aims you would have identified as achieved in this lesson, Alez! Now you've clearly stated some organisational aims, and also a few as regards strategy training, so that answers my question. As regards learners' use of L1 during the lesson, you may be interested in having a look at this discussion in our class wiki.

    That's all for now!