Then, what did TONY GURR say about my second video observation when we had the feedback session??? In fact, it was ME who spoke because it is never Tony’s policy to speak his mind about anyone’s performance directly. Instead, he lets you keep on talking through the questions he asks, and he gets you to come to the point. I must say that is a great strategy. This way, he avoids being intimidating, so you become aware of your own shortcomings smoothly, and you even ask yourself “Why did I not think about it before?”.
As I conversed with Tony the very next day of my second observation, he drew my attention to the way I gave my students the instructions before the activities. When I thought about that, an important point came to my mind. It was that I had never checked in any of my lessons the students’ understanding of the instructions. That was why some students still asked about what they were to do, thus spending about two minutes of the 5-minute-time allocated for any given activity. Mr. Gurr also led me to realize that those minutes would accumulate to be at least 24 minutes of lost time a week as I taught my class 12 hours a week. What is more, that would cause 192 minutes of wasted time on a broader scale because every module is of 8 weeks. That means I always lost 4.2 lesson hours in any given module.
A very simple thing as asking students to repeat what has just been said by eliciting the instruction from different students for only 1 minute prior to the activity could solve the problem. Therefore, there would remain more time for students to practice the subject matter, and that would finally destroy all worries about keeping up with the syllabus. Now, I really feel upset as I think I stole my students’ time, but I am well aware that I won’t let it happen again.
Another point Tony had me reflect upon was about my emphasis on getting the students to make full sentences every time they answered a question. He helped me understand that I didn’t always let my class produce natural English. When I told him I had done it to ensure that my students could prove their knowledge about form as well, he said I could let the students know about what the focus through the activity would be so that they could grow to be fluent speakers when, at least, it was not the absolute concern to produce utterances not completely grammatical. As of this moment, I can see the point he expressed more clearly because I watched the video for the third time, and saw that I could have actually let the answers go more naturally because it could have added to their confidence to a great extent, too.
The final thing about the feedback session is that Tony said I had really created new habits with my class,and that it was clearly the result of introducing new strategies in classroom management. He pointed that I had pinpointed the problem areas in the previous session and helped my students become aware of them successfully. As I mentioned before, the students not only thought about the mistakes they made but also they criticized their friends about their mistakes. Moreover, they commented more, searched more, and certainly reflected more throughout the lesson. Hearing that Tony agreed with me on that crucial point made me extra happy because that proves to me that I can evaluate my students’ performance objectively.
In short, I can say that I am still on the right track for being a better teacher. I also believe that I should be more of a facilitator than a teacher for my students no matter what their level of English might be. If I am able to create a big change with A-Repeaters, I can create bigger changes with students of higher levels. The point to keep in mind at all times is “Where there is will, there is a way“.