This is a chance for you to talk
to individual students for five to ten minutes. You can
give feedback on their progress & they can give you feedback
on how they feel the course is going. It is also a time
to sort out any problems that have come up.
In the lesson before give out a pre-tutorial
task sheet & get the students to bring the completed task
sheet along to the tutorial. These enable the students to
think & prepare themselves for the tutorial, giving a focus
to the discussion. To see some examples
You will probably have to do the tutorials
during class time so you need to prepare a lesson that does
not need you to be present. So get together materials -
reading, listening, grammar..etc with the answers. It could
be the next couple of pages in the coursebook. Give clear
instructions at the beginning & let them get on with it
while you talk to each student in turn. If you have a self-access
centre then the lesson could take place there.
You will need a quiet place to talk - not
in the same room as the group! Talk about their ideas in
the task sheet & try to give clear ideas on where they need
to concentrate their efforts, not forgetting to give positive
feedback for progress they have made.
For a group attending three hours a week
I should carry out tutorials every term & at the end of
a course it's a very good idea to give pointers on how they
can carry on developing.
After the tutorials it draws everything
together nicely if you give general feedback to the group
on the feedback you got from the individual students. And
don't forget to use ideas from the tutorials in future lessons.
to the contents
With all the talk of 'authenticity'
& how we should be using authentic materials it is easy
to forget the usefulness of teacher-produced materials -
reading & listening texts produced by the teacher. Authentic
materials are more motivating but we might make our own
tape if we can't find one that contains examples of language
we are presenting. Or the text we have might be too difficult
so we grade it better for our particular group. There's
no point in spending hours looking for some authentic material
when we can make our own that will be just as effective
- time saved can be focussed on other aspects of the plan.
When we make a tape the usual procedure
is to write out a script & get a couple of colleagues to
record it. Instead of a script, just give them the ideas
& examples of the target language & let them invent the
dialogue - semi-scripted. This way you're bound to get a
more natural-sounding dialogue
After writing out a text to use as a reading,
get a colleague to look it over to see if it reads naturally.
And don't forget a professional presentation.
Type a reading text out if you can. If it is supposed to
be a newspaper article then make it look like one with a
title & columns. Make the tape without any breaks in the
dialogue. This is usually where homemade materials fall
down - they don't sound/look interesting & are not motivating
for the student.
There is a time & place for your own materials
so when you make them try to make them as natural as you
to the contents
Developing classroom language
Are you finding your students
are speaking too much of their native language in the class? This might be the case with the lower
Try not to blame the students. They could
be tired or confused about what they should do. More often
than not they probably haven't got the actual English to
express what they want to say. Listen to what they are saying,
even tape them, & work out if they could have said it in
English. This happens a lot when asked to do pairwork activities
that involve the language of negotiation - putting things
in order, comparing answers, partially dis/agreeing etc.
So, if they don't have that language then teach it to them.
Prompt the students to use this language & review it
briefly before the activity e.g. 'give me three ways of
agreeing & three ways of disagreeing'.
This can also apply to higher level students
as well. Think carefully, when planning, about what you
expect the students to actually say. Wouldn't it be better
if all of the lesson were in English - rather than just
the specific language practice activities? This language
is the language they need for their immediate needs!
I'm all in favour of leaving the coursebook
for a couple of months when beginning with an elementary
group & concentrating on this language that they will need
immediately in the classroom. A typical elementary coursebook
tends to deal with a lot of less useful language in the
first few units - where are you from?/that's an armchair/where
can I find a supermarket.
This obviously applies much more to the
general English student studying in their home country.
If in an English- speaking country then there will be an
immediate need for functional English.
the Past Teaching Tips