Teach English in BaiyinchagAn Zhen - Wulanchabu Shi — Ulanqab

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Teaching English as a Foreign Language or as a Second Language is fun but sometimes it takes experience and knowledge of the lesson to make the class lively. Reducing teacher speaking time is an issue that needs to be looked at. For clarity, I will limit my essay to teaching young learners of age 10 to 13 years with good foundation of the English language. I have personally taught quite a number of classes with such a characteristic. They are so good to the extent that, sometimes, our interaction flow like I am teaching adults, for this reason teachers are to be mindful of how they can avoid such situations where they will be so much involved in class conversations pushing up their speaking time. I have come up with five points that can help teachers to reduce their speaking time when faced with the scenario I have explained above, and they are as follows; a. Use thought provoking questions As a ESL teachers our focus is to train our students who are learning English as a second language to be able to understand and use English as much as possible. We need to understand that, the number of hours they come to spend with us is not enough. In China, mostly three hours per week, that is, one and a half hours each for two days. In which case they spend bulk of their time in their respective normal schools and at home. So when they have the privilege to come to our English class then we must do well to engage them to speak more English rather than listening to us speaking at all times. We can do this by asking them thought provoking questions which will arouse their interest. This means, as teachers, we must be quick to know what our students like. The moment we find out what they like then we employ the skill to ask. In doing so, we must not forget the cultural issues of such a country. b. Ask’ how’ and ‘why’ questions. In order to reduce teacher speaking time, teachers are to stick to how and why questions as follow up questions at most times if not all the time. This will allow our students to speak more. I sometimes pretend that I do not know what my students are talking about just to let them speak more. This is a sure way to reduce teacher speaking time in the class room. c. Less interference in student’s responses Sometimes, we just have to allow our students to express themselves freely whether we have interest in whatever they are saying or not. It is a sure way to encourage self-confidence in our students. Less interference will create the impression that they are on point and for that matter, they will not be nervous. Too many interference and helping students to complete their sentences is not the best way to decrease teachers speaking time. d. Encourage student-to- student interactions in English I have the strategy where at every fortnight, I create student- to- student interaction activity whereby they are only allowed to speak with their classmates completely in English and no other second language. I do this by once again finding relevant and interesting topics that they like. They love it to the extent that even when it is time for break, I will still see and hear them speaking to each other in English. I must caution that I observe and correct where necessary and still control the class. e. Use group interaction as well as pair works for communicative activities Using group interactions and pair work is somewhat similar to point d above but with this point, I try to encourage my students to stay in their assigned groups for a certain period of time and then I move them to new groups. This approach is also very useful to the students and the teacher, especially as the teacher will be more or less an observer but still controlling the activities in the classroom thereby helping to reduce teacher speaking time From the points explained above one, can understand that, reducing teachers speaking time is more or less by employing thought provoking topics, asking how and why questions, interfering less in student responses, encouraging student-to-student interactions and also through the use of group or pair works for communicative activities. However, there are more other ways teachers can employ to reduce teacher speaking time.