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Reflection on teaching TEFL 2 – 2018/2019

Classroom Control Name Milica Pampulovic Index 3580

After you have observed the mentor classes, you need to answer the questions and hand in, or
e-mail this before you start your own classes (end of March at the latest)

1. When the mentor wants the attention of the class, what verbal/ non-verbal signs does
she use?
She asks the students to be quiet, pay attention and stop talking amongst each other. She also stressed the
importance of some parts of the lesson. Sometimes, when the students are very unruly she raises her voice
to make the students listen to her. Also, she raises her index finger when speaking about certain things,
also to stress their importance.

2. How does the mentor use voice/ facial expressions/ body language? To what purposes?
The teacher raises her voice a little bit to stress the importance of certain parts of the lesson and to have
the students’ attention. Her voice is not monotonous, which is very important. She sounds friendly and
approachable. Her facial expressions indicate whether a student has made a mistake, to help them self-
correct at first. Her face also reveals happiness when the students have said something great. She uses her
arms a lot when explaining things, when dividing students into pairs/groups and when she points to
certain things.

3. What rights and responsibilities do students have in this classroom?


The students have the right to state their opinion about certain topics and not be judged, to learn, to
participate in conversations, to feel safe, to be treated with kindness and respect by their classmates and
teacher,also, to be treated fairly and equally.
Their responsibilities are to pay attention to what the teacher is saying, to follow the given instructions, to
complete given assignments, to have the materials (books, notebooks, pens), to be respectful of others in
the classroom, to listen to what others have to say, to respect their opinion even if they might not agree
with it, to be kind and polite to one another, to do their homework and not to distract others while
working.

4. How does the mentor deal with multi-level classes? (which techniques/procedures does
he/she apply?)
She pays special attention to the students who are not as gifted for English language as other students,
meaning she gives them more instructions/explanations if needed, approaches them to ask if they need any
help/if they understood what they are supposed to do. In 2 of her 3 classes the students are on the same
level so it is rather easy for the mentor to work in them as there are no big differences in their overall
knowledge, fluency and accuracy in English language.

5. How does the mentor establish rapport with the students?


It was easy to notice that the teacher has a close relationship with all of her classes (II2-her class, IV1 and
II1). I could see how much she cares about them, how much she cares about their fulfilling her aims, how
closely she listens to their ideas, how she encourages them to speak and take part in conversations. In her
classes, the students feel free to state their opinions, engage in conversations, and participate in
discussions. The atmosphere is always relaxed and pleasant to work in. Also, another thing worth
mentioning is that the mentor not only calls the students by their first or last names, but also uses words
such as “mili, sine, dragi, duso..” which most definitely make the students feel closer to her. She also
makes jokes to cheer up the students. This also strengthens their relationship.

6. What skills are dominant in the classroom? Is this different for different levels/age?
In the classes which we have observed, the dominant skills in the classroom were speaking skills and
sometimes reading skills. It is the same both with the 4th year students and with the 2nd year students. Most
of the exercises require them to talk about a certain topic, state their opinions, discuss why they
agree/disagree with something..The teacher also asks a lot of thought provoking questions and the ones to
which the answer cannot be just “yes” or “no”. As for the reading skills, the teacher makes sure that the
students understand the text they read on both general and more specific level.
7. How does the mentor introduce and/or practice grammar?
The mentor uses different ways of introducing different points in grammar. For example, when
introducing linkers she did it through the topic of cloning (used pictures, sentences regarding this topic),
other grammar classes were the revision of future forms and conditionals, which she did through using
pictures/stories to be translated,etc. As for the practice of grammar points, the mentor always prepares a
handout with a couple of exercises (fill-in-the-gap, matching..) or they do it through reading a text (with
gaps to be filled) from the book.

8. How are students’ mistakes dealt with? Is this different for different levels/age?
There are a couple different ways in which the students’ mistakes are corrected. For example, she asks the
rest of the class if they agree with what that student has said, or she asks questions so as to provoke the
correct answer, or she repeats what the student has said in a questionable tone. Pronunciation mistakes are
corrected immediately, so is the wrong word order, word choice, verb form etc. This is the same for all
ages/levels.

9. How does the mentor move the students from one activity to the next? Do they use any
transitions?
She usually has the activities connected; they are all about the same topic so it is easy for students to
transition to doing different activities. For example, if they talked about cloning (in particular- mentioning
cloning of the sheep) in practice, and used sentences related to that topic to connect with different linkers,
in the production activity they are supposed to state their opinion on whether animals should be used for
scientific research, connecting the sentences they came up with with the given linkers. She simply says
“Let’s now do …” when she wants to do the another exercise with the students.

10. Are there any specific ways that the mentor organises group work?
There were no specific ways in which group work was organized in the classes we had observed. She
divided students in the way they were sitting.

11. How do the lessons start and finish? Are these ‘critical points’ different for different
levels (classes), and how?
The mentor sometimes uses fun warm-up activities which are related to the topic of the lesson at the
beginning of the class. She used this for the 2nd year student, but not for the 4th year students, with whom
she just used the linguistic introduction to start the lesson with.
As for the closing of the lessons, there are not any particular ways in which she does it. After the students
have finished the production activity she simply reminds them to do their homework, says bye and leaves
the classroom.

12. What are the spoken and unspoken rules of the classroom?
The students are supposed to be quiet, attentive, not disturb others while working, respect each other,
listen to what others have to say, not interrupt each other, show respect towards the teacher and other
students (and also the university students), come prepared to the class (have books, notebooks, pens, have
studied the lesson from the previous class). These students are sometimes reminded of these rules by the
teacher.

13. Are there ‘personalities’ in a classroom, or any students who are more unruly? What
could be the source of their (mis)behaviour?
There were no personalities or unruly students in classes II1 and IV1. However, the class II2 had
a couple of unruly students. They would sometimes keep on talking, laughing, disturbing the
class and surfing on their phones..But after the teacher had asked them to be attentive and not do
anything else, they listened to her and showed some respect towards both her and the other
students. The source of their misbehavior could be the lack of attention/motivation since it was
their last class that day (Friday), the desire to make other students laugh, to be the center of
attention, or they may have been bored by the lesson and did what was more fun to them. Also,
our mentor is the headmistress of this class, so the reason for their misbehavior could be that they
relaxed a bit too much, thinking she would disregard their behavior since she was their
headmistress. Other reasons for their misbehavior could be their upbringing or some personal
problems which were bothering them at that time.
14. What does the mentor do if it looks like a student may misbehave?
She asks them to be quiet, listen to her, pay attention and not disturb the class.

15. What does the mentor do if misbehaviour does happen?


If her asking them not to disturb the class doesn’t work, she asks the unruly students to stay after class to
have a discussion with her about their behavior. She also threatens to tell their parents about their
misbehavior. On one occasion she even opened the register as if to give them a bad mark (we couldn’t see
if she actually did it, so maybe it was just to scare them, but it worked).

16. Are there any specific reasons for bad behaviour in a particular class?
There are no specific reasons for bad behavior in the class. The possible reasons are aforementioned. It
may simply the students’ upbringing.

17. What sorts of rewards or punishments are given out and for what? Are these explicit or
implicit? Stated or assumed?
The teacher gives out implicit rewards such as words of encouragement like “excellent, good job, great,
that’s right, very good…” for students’ correct answers, winning a competition or for nicely done
assignments.
The punishment she gave on one occasion was opening the register and possibly signing a bad grade or
writing the students’ name indicating that they misbehaved. Other forms of punishments are her raising
her voice, throwing the register on the desk which produces a very loud sound (so as to make the students
quiet upon her entering the classroom), words of criticism etc. The punishments were used when the
students misbehaved-talked loudly during the class, disturbed the teacher/other students, surfed on their
cell-phones, made jokes..

18. I think the greatest challenge for me in the classroom will be:
To have the students’ attention at all times and to always think of activities which would be so fun and
interesting that the students wouldn’t feel the need to amuse themselves in other ways (by chatting/using
their phones...) I feel like I will not be able to make all of the lesson topics interesting (such as particular
grammar points). I am afraid that there will be classes when the students will feel bored; nevertheless, I
will try my best to make those classes less monotonous.

19. Have you observed any interesting or useful or fun activity? Describe it.
The activity which I found very interesting and which I hadn’t seen/heard of before is the “Fly Swatter”
activity. The students are divided into 2 groups of 5-6 and stand in 2 lines in front of the board on which
there are taped posters or pictures from the presentation part of the class (with new vocabulary items
written below). The 2 students in front of the line are given fly swatters. The teacher starts reading
sentences; each of them contains one vocabulary item from the pictures on the board. She stops right
before that part of the sentence which includes a new vocabulary item from the pictures. The students are
supposed to hit the correct picture with the fly swatter. The person to do it first gets a point, gives the fly
swatter to the next person and goes to the back of the line. They continue until all of the students have
participated 2 times. The group to have the most points is the winner. The mentor advised us to do this
activity at the end of the class as it can create chaos with all of the students out of their places, talking,
having fun and competing. With a smaller group of students this could be also used as a warm-up activity,
then hitting the words they are already familiar with. This is a fun activity through which the teacher can
see whether they understand the meaning of the given words.