Aug 09 2012
How Often Should Teachers Use “THE CHAIR”? A Comment
I just read the latest blog post, entitled : Increasing Student Talking Time , which is part of the fascinating series “The Celta Trainer’s Diary ” by Chia Suan Chong.
Taking into account that I hadn’t had a clue to what a Celta or a Delta was until I entered blogoshpere, a year and a half ago, I find such posts (by Chia and others) fascinating, as large portions are certainly relevant and true of teaching in any EFL classroom.
I may sound awfully nitpicky, but tonight the part about how a teacher should sit down a great deal reminded me that nonetheless, these posts are about a very specific course in a different place.
Its all about the number of students in the class.
In my class of 37 adult students I actually could be phsysically seen by all students as the room we are in now has a stage. I do not feel very comfortable as yet on the stage as I’m not an actress and this isn’t a performance. The stage is certainly a barrier of the sort Chia mentions. In the previous classroom the students in the back would not have seen me if I had sat down. The rooms are very large.
Standing up allows me to easily move to the part of the classroom where one student may be talking. In this manner I show attentiveness and draw the other students’ attention to the speaker.
In such a large class, group work is the way to let students talk more. I simply must be on my feet so that I can move from group to group.
Pacing can also be very beneficial at times. While I’m aware that Chia’s post was focusing on getting students to TALK more and I’m digressing, pacing a bit actually helps students pay attention. They know I can see that they are texting or trying to do next week’s assignment in class right now and they give up trying and focus.
Finally, I feel that keeping such a large class together, learning and progressing, requires a lot of energy on my part. That energy translates into a lot of standing.
I only sit on the chair when I’m using the projector and can point to things shown on the screen using the mouse attached to the computer on my desk.
It must be stated that the course I’m teaching focuses on reading comprehension and not speaking and as such isn’t related to the post I’m commenting on. But that IS the beauty of having one own’s blog – I can write about the links formed in my own head!