Master Teacher Observations

Observation 1


Class: I-2 Evening

Date/Time: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Textbook: On Target 1, Intermediate, Scott Foresman English (Purpura, & Pinkley, 1999)

Textbook Unit: Unit 10

Teacher: Ruhma

Student population: 10 students, Hispanic, Asian, and European




T used a PC and the screen to show students what to do.

Using media instead of a whiteboard placed at the back in the classroom seemed very good for Ss. By typing spontaneously, everything became clear and it could be saved as a file.

T started class with checking the reading homework.

Although a few Ss did not do their homework, T could start from exercises based on the reading. Making the reading a homework would save time in class and more time could be allocated to discussion.

T said “sh” to make Ss silent and make them listen to a S who was speaking to class.

T controlled the class successfully. She seemed to have a certain authority. This was good to make Ss to focus on what took place in class, and they did not get lost.

During discussion in pairs, T gave another task to a pair who finished early.

In order to make the class time most effective for all students, T should take care Ss who finish activities early and Ss who take more time to finish them individually. T handled this situation very well.

T gave them some examples to make Ss understand the grammar points.

This spontaneous explanation using some anecdotes and stories seemed to enhance Ss understanding.







Observation 2


Class: I-2 Evening

Date/Time: Wednesday, March 25, 2010

Textbook: On Target 1, Intermediate, Scott Foresman English (Purpura, & Pinkley, 1999)

Textbook Unit: Unit 10

Teacher: Ruhma

Student population: 10 students, Hispanic, Asian, and European




Showing some example sentences and having Ss discuss the grammar points.

Although it takes more time, compare to T just explaining the grammar rules, having a discussion on them with other students makes Ss think about the rules more deeply. This would enhance their understanding and Ss would make use of the knowledge they got by themselves in the future problem solving situations.

T had Ss write their answers on the whiteboard.

Because everybody was in charge of at least one question, all Ss seemed to actively be engaged in the activity. However, a few Ss seemed to be distracted after they finished their part. T might have assigned another activity for those Ss, such as to help Ss who did not finish yet or to think about the reason of their answers.

T said “Are you still busy writing? Then, I’ll call on somebody else,” to a S who could not go to the whiteboard soon.

T did not force a S to go to the whiteboard. This seemed to make the S feel less anxiety. Then, Ss’s affective filters seemed to be lowered and a positive atmosphere seemed to be sustained in class.

T used the grammar structure introduced in the class in her natural speech.

T’s spontaneous use of the grammar structure seemed to be a good input and it would become their intake because they needed to understand the structure immediately to complete their activity. Understanding in the meaningful context will enhance their learning.

T explained why she took a certain amount of time to do grammar activities.

Ss need a rational of lessons so that they feel secure about what they were learning. T should have this kind of meta-explanation sometimes.




Observation 3

Class: Advanced Study, Morning

Date/Time: Wednesday April 14, 2010

Teacher: Chris

Student population: 7 students (2 males and 5 females), Most of them are Asians.




Vocabulary in context activity. Ss read an article with blanks where the target words were omitted, and guessed the appropriate words from the vocabulary list.

Because the vocabulary they were learning was very advanced and academic; for example, “meticulous,” “debunk,” and “paucity” etc., this activity seemed challenging for them.

T asked Ss to explain the target word with an example.

Having Ss come up with an example to explain the meaning of the target word is a good way in order not only for T but also for Ss to clarify their understanding. Besides, the other Ss will remember the word well because of the peer explanation.

Each S took turn and read a paragraph aloud, and T corrected all pronunciation errors right after each S finished reading.

From the fact that T seldom corrected their pronunciation errors in spontaneous speech, this activity seemed to be the official spot to correct their pronunciation. Setting up a distinct error correction spot is a good idea to give Ss negative feedbacks without giving them negative feelings.

T explained the articulation of /r/ sound.

Explicit teaching how to articulate an individual sound seemed to be necessary even for advanced students. Otherwise, their pronunciation problems would become harder to redress.

Ss threw a stone like figure to take their turn speaking.

I assumed that T started this system because not all Ss might have participated in a class activity at first. But when I saw it, most Ss were willing to talk and the system seemed to be just like a ritual they had to do. I noticed that Ss in this class knew how to study and they kept their style well. So, once Ss got acquainted with the classmates and class settings, T could let them go with their own styles.

Observation 4



Class: I-3 Morning

Date/Time: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teacher: Adrienne

Student population: 5 female students, 4 Asians, and 1 European




Using an excerpt from a movie.

Authentic material seemed to make Ss interested in the topic. The movie was clearly related to the theme Ss were learning, which seemed to be “relationship” or “breakup.”

Reading an excerpt from a book, which the movie based on.

Reading a book and watching a movie based on the book seemed to be a good way to integrate multiple language skills. Ss smoothly got into the reading after watching the movie.

Each S picked a different excerpt from a book.

Reading a different part from classmates enhanced S’s motivation to read it. However, it would have been better if Ss would have had a partner reading the same part, so that they could talk about it.

T asked each student if they had a question.

Because the class size was small, T could ask an individual student a question and treat it, but even so, during T talking to one student, some other Ss seemed to have nothing to do and space out. If T had made this activity a pair work, Ss could have had a discussion by themselves.

I also saw that a student answered just “no” when T asking if she had a question. Again, if the S had a discussion with a partner, it might have made her think deeper and brought her meaningful questions.

Showing another part of the movie without sound.

Watching a movie scene without sound made Ss infer what the characters were talking. Also, this activity seemed to show a kind of communication skill by focusing on non-verbal expressions. Because T offered the focusing point before watching it, - which person had an initiative of the conversation, Ss did not seem to get lost what to look for. So, if T uses this activity, it would be necessary to make it clear that this activity is focusing on non-verbal features to communicate well. Otherwise, Ss would be confused why they watch the scene without sound in a language class. Also, I thought that if Ss make up a script in the scene based on their prediction, and they have a role play, it would be a great activity offering a lot of communicative opportunities.

Showing the scene again with sound.

Of course, showing the scene with sound that Ss had just watched without sound was necessary, but in this case, the speed of the utterance between characters in the movie seemed too fast for Ss in this level. I knew that how hard to find an appropriate authentic material getting along well with the theme and their language level, but the large disparity of language levels is crucial. If the language level of the material is far beyond the Ss proficiency level, the material will not be their input. Furthermore, Ss will lose their confidence and that will affect their motivation. In order to avoid such case, T might have shown subtitle or given them a script, or T should have been more careful of the language level to choose the material.