General advice on teaching strategies and teaching procedures in english

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Teaching English to large classes

       (a) The problem of teaching English to large classes-Of late, the number of students in classes in every school has gone up. As a result, a teacher comes across a class of more than fifty students and sometimes even more. In such an over-crowded class, the teacher is to face two problems.

(i) How to pay individual attention to the students and correct the note book.

(ii) How to use modem methods of teaching and inculcate desirable language abilities among the students.

       In such a sorry state of affairs only one fifth of the class participates in the work. The rest of the class is inactive.

      (b) Procedure adopted for a class of 50-60 students-Two techniques are prevalent for teaching a class of 50-60 students 

(1) Choral Work

(2) Group Work

        (1) Choral work –It is a device for engaging the whole class in speaking, reading or writing. This method is followed usually in columbia.

         Prof. Robert. L.Saitz is right when he says that if we give the pupils exercises in writing and dictation the students only learn vocabulary; the least significant aspect for a language teacher to insist upon.

       Prof. Jean Forecaster is not in favor of using this method because when the whole class is reading or speaking at the same time,

(i) The noise created disturbs the adjoining classes.

(ii) The teacher cannot pin-point individual mistakes.

        (2) Group work-Group work is a much better device than choral work. For doing group work, the large class is broken up into sections, blocks or groups. The teacher appoints a group leader in rotation. They help the teacher in conducting different oral drills as well as written exercises. The teacher imparts training to the group leaders before assigning them their roles or tasks. Different groups may have different assignments or even the same assignment.

       It should however, be remembered that group work is no substitute for teaching. Group work should be followed by oral drill, written assignment etc.              –

Use of activities

       As teachers of English, we can encourage the use of English among the students in our school through activities such as debates, essay-competitions declamation contests etc.

The success of these activities depends upon the following

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  1. Interest evinced by the teacher-The teacher should exploit the spirit of competition inherent in the activities.

      2. Ability of the teacher to arrange the activities properly– The teacher should encourage all the students to participate actively in these activities.

  1. Selection of suitable topics-The topics chosen for essay competitions, debates or declamation contests should be related to daily life, preferable with the experience of the participants, so that they have first-hand knowledge about  these.
  2. Use of library-Library is a store house of information. The students should be guided by suggesting books related to the topic. They should develop the habit of extensive reading. It will broaden their mental horizon and widen their outlook. Gathering ideas of master minds is itself a thrilling experience.
  3. Bringing out a magazine-The original contribution of the students, their prize winning essays and papers along with their names and photos too, if possible, should find a place in the school magazine. In case, the resources of the schools do not permit bringing out a printed magazine, wall magazine  can serve the purpose. In this way, the writers will be motivated to excel their own performance and it will be an incentive for others to follow suit.
  4. Organization of clubs-The teachers may organize young writers club or young speakers club. No doubt, all the students of the school cannot be good speakers or good writers even then these clubs will provide opportunity to most of the students to emulate the example of orators and writes.

      In the end, it may be said without any fear of exaggeration that if the sh1dents are, thus, given plenty of opportunities for practicing the correct use of the language in speaking, reading and writing, they will make real progress in learning English.

Technique of questioning

      (a) A telling teacher is not a telling teacher-If a teacher enters the classroom and goes on telling and telling without giving any opportunity to the students to speak anything, he is having only one way traffic with the students. He is active but the students are passive listeners. Such a teacher is not an efficient or effective teacher. He is, in other words, not a telling teacher. He does not ask questions and elicit answers. So, he is not sure to what extent the students are learning. He is not able to create a permanent impression on the minds of the students. However learned he may be, teaching is not mere instructing or imparting information. The teacher is not a mere information monger. He can become a telling i.e. impressive teacher only if he reduces the amount of telling i.e. imparting information by talking.

(B) Important instructions for putting questions to the class

       (1) The teacher must know the specific purpose of the question. He should not only know whom he is asking questions but should also be familiar with what he wants to elicit from the students.

      (2) The teacher may prepare the questions in advance.

       (3) Suggestive questions i.e. those questions that suggest the answer should not be asked:

       (4) There should be no ambiguity or complexity with regard to the language of questions asked. It should be clear, simple and easy to comprehend.

       (5) Questions should be graded, in keeping with the level of the class, ability to answer questions gives confidence to the children. ·

       (6) The teacher’s voice should be audible to the back-benchers .

       (7) While asking questions, the teacher instead of putting up stern looks, should exhibit pleasant manners and friendly approach .

       (8) The teacher should put the question first and then name the student from ‘whom he expects the answer.

       (9) In order to secure the general attention of the class and give all the students an opportunity to frame an answer, questions should be addressed to the entire class before calling upon a particular student to answer it.

       (10) Keeping in view the nature of the question, the teacher should decide and allow the time for answering a particular question.

       (11) The teacher should make the inattentive students attend to the lesson by ask them to answer questions.

       (12) The teacher should ask questions, with ease and infuse confidence in the pupils and the impression that they are in a position to answer them.

       (13) Repeating the question is not a good habit when the students know that the teacher will repeat the question they may not listen to it attentively.

       (14) It is a controversial issue whether rephrasing of the questions be done or not. Rephrasing should not be done at the same moment. It may be done in case of those questions which have been asked already and answered to or not.

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