Two Useful Practices to Decrease Teacher Talking Time
As a teacher, our role is to be the leader in the classroom. However, this does not mean that we should be speaking in front of the class the entire class time. As the native-speaking teacher, the students need to hear our voices and hear our accents but what is equally important is that the students are all engaged in the lesson and that they all are practicing themselves. If a teacher speaks 90% of the time and students sit back and listen, then they will lose focus, not practice themselves, and the teacher will tire out. That is why I will propose two ways we can decrease teacher speaking time.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Alexander C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
One simple thing that almost all teachers do in all classes is that they take attendance. Attendance presents an opportunity for teachers to create positive routines, hold the students accountable, and decrease teacher speaking and a time for them to sit back and let their class run itself.
Traditionally, as many of us have experienced, a teacher will call out the individual names of all the students to check for attendance for about two or three minutes. Here, it's 100% the teacher speaking with a one-word response from the students. One at a time, the students respond, and the others listen. However, suppose you group the students ahead of time and select a daily "Captain" of each group. In that case, you can check in with just three or four students for attendance, who will then state incomplete sentences, whether their group is present there is someone absent.
This initiative will require more work from the teacher as they must create the groups and they must also make an attendance list where they can rotate the daily captain; the teacher must also teach the vocabulary and the phrasing for the attendance routine, but once that is all done every class starts with the students running it themselves. They can speak in English and communicate with the teacher, so though not everyone in the course will say, a smaller number will talk about a lot more and the teacher a lot less. It also is just a great routine to start the class with every day.
Another way to decrease teacher speaking time is to have the students do information fillers. Instead of having just one sheet distributed to all the class and then going over it if the teacher hands out information filler sheets and goes over how to do them, he can then do a few examples on the board in front of the class so that they know how to do it. Then he can let them start and finish on their own. When the students stand up and walk around, they are engaged, and they are speaking, listening, reading, and writing all at the same time. Though it is with non-native speakers, it is okay because the teacher already gave an example to start. They will also go over the worksheet at the end to hear yet again how the questions and the responses will be phrased appropriately. This creates an opportunity for the students to speak a lot more and for the teacher to sit back and observe how the class is advancing.
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Teachers will have days that they do speak a lot. Some lessons do require a lot of teacher speaking time; however, the norm should be to avoid it as much as possible! Teachers should understand that the students want to speak and engage with others. By standing up front and lecturing students, we put them to sleep. In the study part of the lesson, that is necessary. Still, teachers should be ready to engage the students with engaging activities so that it is not the teacher's show but rather a lesson that revolves around their participation and speaking.
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