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How to Minimize Teacher Talk Time

How to Minimize Teacher Talk Time | ITTT | TEFL Blog

When teaching a class of students, teachers may discover that when they are trying to explain or introduce a new concept or segment of work, they are talking for more time than their students are. This can consequently reduce the effectiveness of the lesson and in turn result in a poor experience for the learners, as well as not equipping them properly to communicate in English outside of the classroom.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Lindsay K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

The method I would use to minimize this problem would be a combination of drilling and simplification exercises. While teaching, I would employ the use of a prompt sound to force student participation and encourage more student talk time. This would usually take place directly after the teacher has said something and is used to prompt the students to repeat the last words said by the teacher.

An example of this would be teaching the students new vocabulary in a conversation.

After teaching the pronunciation through the use of syllable breakdown, the use of the phonetic alphabet, and collective/individual drilling, the students could implement the words into a model conversation. Next, the students would be asked to repeat the conversation in an A – B format, requiring the teacher to first say a model sentence, and then the class would repeat the sentence.

The teacher would then ask the students to point out any new or unknown words, followed by the teacher presenting a short, simple explanation to make sure that all the students understand the content.

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Once they have worked through the entire conversation the teacher would take the place of role A and the students would take the place of B. After they have finished, they would repeat this step with reversed roles. Next, the students would be divided into groups of two (A and B) and they would repeat the same format of practice from before.

This would then be followed by a presentation section where students will be required to change partners and have the same practiced conversation aloud in the same A – B format. Next would be the challenge section of the lesson. In this section, the teacher would introduce some substitution words and once again do a drill with each word, both individually and collectively. The teacher would then ask the students to present the conversation one more time, using the new vocabulary and exchanging partners one last time.

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This drill and simplification method of teaching can be adapted to listening, reading, and writing lessons.

The content for these lessons should be well planned before the start of the lesson as introducing too many new words or content that is too complex might drag the lesson out too long. Timing and adaptation should be the main concern.

This method will ensure that all students have an equal chance at producing English at a high level and it will reduce teacher talk time to teaching essential information, concept checking and task checking, ensuring that each lesson is both effective for the students and not tiring for the teacher, allowing the teacher to focus on the content that the students are producing to identify weaker students and assist where needed.

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Some many different methods and techniques can be used to ensure that teacher talk time is kept to a minimum to give students plenty of opportunities to practice their English, while also preventing the students from getting bored.

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