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UNIVERSIDAD DE PLAYA ANCHA

FACULTAD DE HUMANIDADES
EARLY ENGLISH TEACHING PRACTICE
2009

OBSERVATION STAGE

Name of student teacher: Tomás Eduardo Frez Bernal

Name of School: Colegio Saint Dominic

Number of students: 980 (12 in class)

Date: May 11th 2009 Class: 4th C

Task Nº1: The school

The school is located in Viña’s downtown, in the crossing of seis norte and dos
oriente, it’s located in a medium sized building with 4 main floors and an
underground parking lot, it has a sports court and various handicapped
accesses both inside and outside.

In terms of organization there are three main powers: the Centre for Parents
and Tutors, the Centre of Students and the Board of Directors; each in charge of
different aspects of school life and with their own internal organizations.

There are around 980 students in total in the school, each class has few
students, ranging from 12 or 15 to 20 or 25. Despite having many places to be
sometimes hallways seem crowded with people; this seems dangerous as you
can always see little kids running around carelessly.

All in all the school is quite strict in terms of manner and responsibility. A
student is expected to represent his school at all times so they are urged to
behave properly when wearing the uniform. Girls are instructed to wear
accessories that always match with the school’s colors; they can choose one of
three: red, blue or grey.

Punctuality is also very important. Students must be inside the building at 8


o’clock sharp or they will be considered to have arrived late.

Task Nº2: The classroom

The classroom is quite sober in its design, but the teacher is always trying to
make it more fun and bright. She has put up posters about the English
language and some work done by students so that they always have something
to learn from. Students are very quiet during classes but the teacher always
finds a way to shake things up, whether it is with some game or just by being
vivid and funny. Students really like this as they sure seem more eager to
participate when classes are led that way.

In terms of levels of engagement it is very likely that we are looking at


something ranging from strategic compliance to full engagement. Most of the
time students participate and are willing to make mistakes and learn from
them, this knowledge is also used on a regular basis in different contexts, yet
sometimes they just don’t seem to care that much about why they are learning
and do not seem capable of retaining all of the knowledge given in one class.

Boys and girls seat separately, by choice, and rather close to the teacher, as
they are all located within the first three rows. As it is common in schools
friends sit together. There are a total of 24 seats for 12 students.

The classroom is big and has good lightning. It is decorated with didactical
material so that the students are always surrounded by the language. There is
plenty of room for the teacher to move and for the development of activities.

There is one whiteboard located in front of the students and a pin board at the
back to put notices and the academic calendar. There is a computer for the
class and a data show to work with; various other class materials such as books
and puppets are kept in big locker for the teacher. Students are assigned to the
smaller lockers (30 in total) which they use constantly.

Task Nº3: The teacher

As the teacher enters the room she salutes the students and awaits for a
response, she then proceeds to fully set up her desk. This takes up to ten
minutes. She asks some students to hand out activity books and class begins,
the date is only used or mentioned when using the copybook, in other cases
it’s not taken into account.

Since it is the first class of the morning the teacher likes to kid around with the
fact that students look sleepy, she encourages to show her that they are not.

In terms of learning the teacher always makes sure that students are writing on
their copybooks when asked or working as instructed in their activity books.
Most of the classes involve the use of books and a bit of the whiteboard as a
way to make examples, most of the work happens in the students’ minds.

As I mentioned before the material more commonly used are the activity
books. These books have a clear program of learning stages that the teacher
uses during the year and cover from basic knowledge about sentence
formation to cultural and valorical issues. The other resource used commonly is
the computer, it’s used mostly as a complement to the book since the web
pages used come from the book’s index and are filled with activities mentioned
in the book itself.

The class basically has three stages, the introduction in which last class’ topics
are briefly reviewed, the stating of new knowledge in which the teacher
introduces what they are going to be working on and the activity stage, in
which students get a chance to put into practice what they have learned that
class.

Task Nº4: The learners

Learners are quite motivated, some of them have relatives that speak the
language and in most case take a honest interest in what is being explained.

They work in their homes and talk about the reactions they get when using
proper English, they generate questions while doing so and ask them in class,
providing knowledge that tends to stay in them.

Sometimes they don’t understand instructions and are unable to do what they
are instructed, upon further explanations though they seem quite independent,
being even able to solve their own problems.

Surprisingly work group works really well, they all work as a unit and are able
to respect other’s opinions, consensus within a group on a specific subject is a
common thing

Judging from what I’ve seen students like activities that go beyond just using
the copybook and/or activity book. This, I think, has to do more with the
novelty of something new than actual interest as I’ve seen them get really
interested in something for about ten minutes until something better pops up.
The thing they like the least is talking in public when giving an answer, they are
very shy learners individually but as a collective unit they are an excellent
group.