Classroom Observation Report of English Level 2
Suchada Po LAEN/B 6070512
Classroom observation is the main key to teaching. This classroom observation report was developed from “Practice Teaching: A Reflective Approach” (J. C., 2011, pp.90-105). The aim of this report is to illustrate various methods, instructional techniques, and strategies that the observed teacher employed in an English level 2 class at Mahidol University. The classroom was observed on February 17, 2021. This report divides into two sections which are the characteristics of the classroom and analysis and application of the instructional practices which I would apply to my future teaching classroom.
The characteristics of the classroom
The observed classroom includes freshmen from various faculties of Mahidol University. They are in level 2 of English. Students are able to commonly communicate with everyday situations. They use elementary vocabulary to convey the expressions. However, their proficiency level is diverse due to their background. This online classroom was run by one teacher. According to the diversity of faculties and Covid- 19 situation, students could only interact with an instructor online. Students and an instructor could not see each other in person. Their interaction was very limited but the teacher could bring fresh and relax vibes to the class. They replied through the chatbox consistently and willingly. The teacher did not force students to open their cameras and gave them alternative choices to answer questions. Most students replied answers in the chatbox. None of the students opened the camera to show their appearances. They only unmute their mics when their names got called by a teacher. Moreover, the teacher was flexible and cheerful which made students participate in her learning activities. The teacher used Thai to teach students, so students could understand the lesson very well. It was suitable for English level 2 students. The pacing of the classroom was slow so that everyone could keep up with the contents. It was effective for students due to their diverse language proficiency levels. The teacher knew how to use her tone during her teaching. When she explained a lesson, she delivered her words in a calm, soothing, voice. In contrast, when she talked about her experience or jokes, she shifted her voice into a cheerful tone. So, the characteristics of the class were flexible, relived, didactic.
Analysis and application of the instructional practices
At the beginning of the class, a teacher played a song while she’s waiting for students to join the class via Webex meeting. It was actually a fresh start of the class instead of waiting in silence. The class started at 13.35 a.m. which most students were ready to start the lesson. The teacher opened the class with a brief introduction about a lesson last week. It brought students to connect their memories what lessons did they learn last week ago. They learned about adjective clauses, so today’s lessons were to go through the adjective clauses exercises in the book. The teacher used the GoodNotes application to share slides and explain the lesson. This application was easy to use because the teacher could write what she wanted to convey to the class. It was an excellent choice to use the GoodNotes application. The teacher could apply several colors to distinguish the text. She could highlight the main idea of the text. It was more convenient than typing in the chatbox.
The teacher opened the topic about adjective exercises. The material that she used was the book named “Blossom English Structure”. The first exercise was to fill the corrected adjective clause in the blank. She asked the class if anyone knew the answer, there was one student who replied back on the chatbox. Then, she gave that person a ring sound to support that person. Students did not have to unmute their microphone to answer. They had alternative choices to reply via chatbox or speak on the mic. The teacher continued calling a student’s name randomly to answer the question. One student read the question well and answered it correctly. She pressed the bell again to cheer up the student. As you can see, she employed positive reinforcement (Ackerman, 2021) which is the behaviorist model to encourage students. It bought out a favorable outcome from students. They would gain up their confidence more. I would love to run this theory in my class. It is truly important for students at this age to obtain positive feedback. It would drive the class into a positive aspect. I hope that my teaching would gain students more self-esteem.
The teacher did not focus on the content only but also share her experience during class. She talked back about her experience when she was in 8 grade. She said that didn’t like English at that time but she started to like it in high school. She also added that practicing is crucial. Sharing the experience in class could bring students attention. It could bring students to their own experiences whether they liked English or not at that time. This is conversation-driven (Harmer, 2015), it encouraged students to feel connected and engaged with the teacher.
Furthermore, the teacher applied implicit learning (Frensch & Rünger, 2003) in the class. She did not just tell the answer right away, but she guided students to find out the answer. This method actually aroused students’ curiosity to find out the answer. She asked students to explain why they chose that answer in order to see whether they truly understand it or not. It was a method to check whether students truly understand it or no. I personally plan that I would employ implicit learning in my class. It would more suitable than explicit learning.
Even if it was an adjective clause lesson, the teacher taught other grammar in the sentence in order to provide extra- information to the class. For example, she asked students to clarify whether it was present simple tense or past simple tense. This was how the teacher scaffolded students. She asked about tenses in order to examine students’ previous knowledge and experience. Moreover, when it came to the question, students had to read the question as well. One student read the sentence but he didn’t pronounce the -s ending sound. Another student cannot read ‘France. The teacher didn’t blame them or discourage them. She pressed the bell sound to cheer them up. She read those two sentences correctly again with good pronunciation, so the students knew how to read them correctly. It was very important for students at this age. If the teacher pointed out that they did read incorrectly, they would lose their faces and their confidence. Her strategy helped them to boost up their self-confidence.
When students’ answers were mixed up, the teacher would restate bout the rules of the adjective clause again. She did not blame those who answered incorrectly, but she wanted to encourage students to answer more. She also reminded students about the upcoming quiz. She encourages them that they would get a full score next time. She said that mistakes could be fixed next time. It would widen students’ views about mistakes. They would think about mistakes in a new aspect. They would think that mistakes made them practice more, so they will do not repeat the same mistake again. Her words could encourage students to prepare and practice more.
To illustrates, there was one student who could not read ‘Mykonos’, so the teacher read it for her. The teacher did not point out that she could not read it. Moreover, the teacher also taught about the context clue in order to know the meaning of the word. In this sentence, “This summer our family plans a trip to Mykonos, … is an island in Greece.”, she said that what came after ‘-,’ was the explanation of Mykonos. As you can see, she always added more knowledge to the lesson which was useful for students. However, students were at A2 English level, they had to study step by step. The Students were in the language focus stage (Harmer, 2015), they did not only practice the adjective clauses but also analyze what type of clause. Even if it was extra information, the teacher explained it clearly and slowly which made students keep up the lesson. She also asked students to clarify the differences between restricted clauses and non-restricted classes, so students will not confuse about it.
The dynamic of the class had developed when the second exercise began. The teacher asked the students to write sentences in full forms. She encouraged them to write in full forms in order to practice and remember sentences. She again opened the second adjective exercises by asking the class if anyone knows the answer. There was one student who replied back on the chatbox. She always stated about previous topics again such as punctuation marks, restricted clauses, non-restricted clauses. It brought students to recollect what they had just learned. The atmosphere of the class was still relaxed and chill. The teacher always told students about her experiences sporadically. For example, she told about Tom Yam Kung Crisis to students. She said that it was been a long time since she graduated. It came back as a joke which released pressure in the class. The way she told the story could engage students in the lesson and the class.
The lesson passed 1.30 hours, the teacher let students break for about 10 minutes. After that, there was an external factor, there was a noise from mowing which the teacher handled the situation so well. She told the class what happened and went to shut the window. It was accurate that anything could happen during an online class. The most important things were concentration and problem-solving skills. When the time was running out, she speeds up the lesson and cut off a reading session. However, she still checked students’ understanding whether they remember the previous lesson or not. It was useful because it helped students go back to check their understanding.
The teacher closed the lesson structure with the last exercise. Students had to complete the sentence by using adjective clauses with the right relative pronoun/ relative adverbs. This exercise was harder than the previous exercise, students had to write their own sentences. At first, there were no students replied their answer on the chatbox. The teacher scaffolded the class that students did not dare to participate because they had to write their own sentences. The teacher started to voice over as a Korean drama actress to encourage students. When the atmosphere was relaxed, students began to reply answers on the chatbox. One student answered, “We met at the first time.” which was ungrammatical. The teacher pressed the bell to cheer up and read that sentence grammatically correct. She said, “ We met for the first time.” which is correct. Another student answered, “Why you don’t homework.” The teacher read “Why you don’t do homework.” In both cases, She did not tell the student directly that her answer was incorrect. She corrected their grammar by saying in the right sentences. Even students made an error, they would learn something from it. It made students not scare to make an error. It made students want to participate in the class more. What I could see from this exercise was that most students wrote simple sentences. They commonly used basic words. When it came to subjective exercise, most students did not dare to share their answers. The teacher’s techniques made students participate more.
As you can see from the teacher’s teaching throughout the class, she did not only employ the behaviorist model in the class but also the interaction ( socio-cultural) theory (Cherry, 2019), she always interacted with students which always brought out effective outcomes. She always scaffolded throughout the class to make students productive. I would scaffold my class in order to make students’ learning effective like her. Lastly, the teacher ended her class by singing a song at 3.11 p.m. and said “Let’s call it a day.”
In conclusion, the teacher followed the lesson in the book named “Blossom English Structure” steps by steps. She did not miss any exercises in the book. She taught her students more than the book provided. In this class, students could practice three skills which are reading, speaking, and writing. They did not only learn about the adjective clauses but they had a chance to analyze what tense was in the sentences. The students had a chance to participate in speaking. It helped them improve their speaking and pronunciation. Moreover, it would boost up their confidence in speaking. Lastly, they could practice their writing more which will widen their vocabulary in the future. In my future teaching, I would pay attention to both content and language skills to enhance students’ abilities. I would scaffold my students throughout the class to bring out their potentials. Moreover, I would love to apply the interaction (socio-cultural) theory and implicit learning to my class. I think it is crucial to interact with students and arouse their curiosity in learning. I also plan to apply positive reinforcement to my class in order to encourage students. Most importantly, teaching is an eclectic art, it is flexible due to uncontrollable circumstances. I would do my best for my lesson plan that would be beneficial for students and adapt what I learn from this class to my future teaching class.
Ackerman, C. (2021). Positive Reinforcement in Psychology (Definition + 5 Examples). PositivePsychology. https://positivepsychology.com/positive-reinforcement-psychology/
Cherry, K. (2019). Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development. Verywellmind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-sociocultural-theory-2795088
Frensch, P., & Rünger, D. (2003). Implicit Learning. Psychologicalscience. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/cd/12_1/Frensch.cfm
Harmer, J. (2015). The Practice of English Language Teaching (5th ed.). Pearson Education ESL.
Richards, J. C. (2011). Practice Teaching: A Reflective Approach (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.