on the classroom
What do your students know about you? What do you know about
them? And what do they know about each other?
A way of viewing & helping
us develop our self-awareness is through
Johari's Window - a model for feedback in counselling developed,
& named after, Joseph Luft & Harry Ingham.
There are four areas to this.
Imagine a window divided into four squares with each square
representing information about you. The Open Area (Arena)
contains things that both you & your students know about
you - it's out in the open, the Blind Spot has things that
the students know about you but you don't know, the Hidden
Area (Facade) has things that you know but they don't &
finally the Unknown Area contains things that neither you
nor your students are aware of.
things I know
things I don't know
things they know
Arena - the Open Area
the Blind Spot
things they don't know
the Hidden Area
the Unknown Area
Johari's Window (Luft 1984)
The Window model helps us
realise our degree of our self-awareness & gives us
direction to explore how we might increase this awareness.
For example, if you ask for feedback from your students,
the Blind Spot might decrease as the Open Area increases.
If you disclose about yourself, the hidden Area will decrease
& feed into the Open Area. The idea is that the Open
Area is the biggest one while the others decrease as you
go on, & as a result you will become aware of aspects
of the Unknown Area which you can then feed into the Open
We've mentioned quite a lot
the importance of personalisation & disclosure as an
essential ingredient in the development of a healthy learning
environment as well as being important in the learning process.
The same ideas on the Window above apply to your students.
The more they disclose, more comes out into the Open Arena
from the Blind Spot & the Hidden Area & as a result
Unknown Area becomes accessible.
Of course, there are things
that will always remain in the Hidden Area for both teacher
& students. All the same, it's an interesting way of
looking at self-awareness.
An excellent book , which
I've mentioned before, that promotes this is
'Group Dynamics' by Jill Hadfield (OUP).
to the contents
This Tip is an extension of the 'Friendly
Listening' one we had some time back.
A standard way of dealing
with the listening skill in class tends to follow this procedure;
Set an extensive task
Students compare answers
Set a more intensive task
Students compare answers
If the students have got the right answer, all are happy
& we carry on to the next stage. But is that really
enough? Isn't it a bit like jumping through hoops? The interesting
part comes when they have problems or even if they achieved
all of the tasks well, they then analyse the difficulties
they had while listening. There is a tendency not to spend
much time dealing with this as they have had listening practice
& there is more to do in the lesson - probably a more
important language focus, so we move on. I think we should
be helping the students analyse their performance more,
we could be helping them more with this than throwing language
at them. Here are a few ideas:
- talk about the problems
they encountered. Obvious really but the more you do it
the more they're going to get out of it - make it a regular
part of the listening stage.
- give out the scripts for
the students to listen & read at the same time so that
they can see where they had problems. They could then compare
ideas with a fellow student. Get around & help out.
- when going through the answers
play back the sections that were difficult for them, helping
them to understand why it was difficult. More often than
not they cannot work out the word boundaries & it all
sounds like one string of speech. They need to be made aware
in combination' problems. Spend time on prominence.
Spend time on prominence.
- look at a part of the tapescript
& ask the students to mark the tone units & the
main stresses. They then listen to the tape to see if they
- give the students the tape
recorder; they decide when to stop it & when to listen
to a part again.
- talk about strategies that
they can use when listening - awareness.
Listening is a very difficult skill, made more so with the
use of tape recorders. (There are alternatives to using
a tape recorder but for now we'll stick with it.) I personally
would want to look more carefully at what I'd listened to.
So add another stage to the procedure, that of listening
analysis & really help with building listening sub-skills.
to the contents
More than meets the eye
Do you ever do those 'Spot the difference'
activities that you find in the cartoon & quiz sections
of the newspaper? You've got two almost identical pictures
& you have to find the ten differences between the pictures.
You have probably used them
with your students as well. In pairs each student has a
picture & without looking at each others they have to
describe their picture, listen to their partner's description
& together they discover the differences. Excellent
communicative problem-solving oral practice. If the pictures
contain vocabulary recently covered then all the better.
If you can't find any of these games in newspapers they
are easy to make as all you need is a simple line drawing
& some tippex.
They are also great for practising
'prominence' - the stresses in utterances. One of the functions
of prominence is to help contrast or correct information.
This picture difference activity is ideal for this. Have
a look at this exchange:
Std A: I've got a man walking down a path.
Std B: No, in my picture it's a woman walking down the path.
Std A: OK, that's one difference. There's an airplane flying
Std B: Yes, from left to right.
Std A: No, from right to left.
Std B: OK, another difference.
Well, you hope they might come out with something like this.
The students are correcting
each other. It would be a good to point this function of
prominence out before they do the activity - awareness is
half the battle won, it is said. Fit the activity into the
theme or use it as a warmer or cooler.
For more on phonology,
visit the slowly expanding phonology pages.
the Past Teaching Tips