children learning english

The importance of observing

When we observe someone teaching a language to young learners we see action and consequence in process.  We notice so much – how many in the class, how they are grouped, how the teacher uses the target language, how the children respond, the visuals on display and how activities are used.

Of course we normally have a definitive purpose in this task – a student teacher learning about classroom processes, a colleague assisting the regular teacher, a trainer observing a trainee. There’s often a checklist to be gone through.  But whatever the reason for the observation it allows us to imagine how we ourselves would teach.

Last week as I observed some lessons I was reminded of how valuable it can be for all teachers to have opportunities to watch themselves. Recording our lessons from time to time – by placing a camera on a desk or asking a colleague to help – gives us great opportunities to reflect on our practices. We can see so much about children’s interest and desire to be involved with the lesson – and what kind of action really helps maintain and encourage this attention.

There’s a lot to be learnt from the back of the class!

4 Responses to “The importance of observing”

  1. Suong says:

    Mary,
    I enjoy both teaching and observing. When teaching, I’m acting; when observing,I’m learning how others are acting.Teachers are great actors and actresses!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for the comment Suong. Yes teaching and speaking a language other than your mother tongue is a bit like acting!! And observing is such a privilege – being able to watch someone else work and imagine what you would do in the same situation is a wonderful learning opportunity. I think actors and teachers are also similar in that they both have to think about their audience or class at all times! As well as knowing a class well the teacher has to think about how to engage and interest them so that they enjoy their learning and are motivated to learn more. And of course when teaching a language in school the teacher has to lead by showing the children how to use the language – best done by using it as much as possible.

  2. Wazih Uddin says:

    I am from Bangladesh. I have Learnt Your Name from a book named English For primary Teacher which was got from a Nuziland Madam( Carola Rayes). She came to Bangladesh in PTI Training center. Than I search your name (Maryslattery) in google to know more about you. Than I got a lot about u. Thank u.

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