Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recording of a Teaching Session

These are snippets for a 2-period lesson (60 minutes) recorded on March 23, 2012 (Friday); 10.05 am to 11.05 am. I had to cut the long video to six shorter parts to make uploading to Youtube easier.
Many thanks to my colleague, Sheena, for helping me do the recording.

Obviously it wasn't my best lesson, I wasn't really prepared for it. I had the lesson plan and my teaching aids ready, but I hadn't given much thought to the activities. At the last minute I decided to just go for it and I'm glad I did. It was a genuine representation of how I normally perform in the classroom, and I could see a lot of weaknesses in my teaching that I otherwise would probably never be able to see if I had pre-planned everything beautifully in the first place.

Class: Year 6 Intelligent
Theme: World of Stories
Topic: 'The Caring Tree' (Children's Lit)
Focus: Listening and Speaking
Technique: Storytelling

Video 1: Set Induction

I was revising the vocabulary for parts of the tree in the Set Induction stage. It wasn't an interesting Set Induction. I don't think what I'd done here in this video was enough to attract the pupils attention and make them interested in the story. The pupils gave good responses, though, and I was very impressed with them.

Video 2: Presentation (Pre-Listening & Speaking)

Before I began the storytelling session, I showed them the book, told them the title and talk about the meaning of the word 'caring'.

Video 3: Presentation (While Listening & Speaking)

My attempt at storytelling. (Oh, God). I think it would be much more interesting if I didn't read from the book too much. I should have memorized the story so that I could make it more fun and engaging for the pupils. I also realized that I had this bad habit of repeatedly tapping the whiteboard with my marker pen. The noise was irritating. I should stop doing that. On the positive side, I think the pupils were really wonderful with their responses towards the story. I could see that most of them were able to understand the story although they may not understand the meaning of some of the more difficult words. I also think that the teaching aids (the figurines, the tree with detachable parts) was quite helpful in aiding the pupils' comprehension.

Video 4: Presentation (Post Listening & Speaking)

After the storytelling session, I tried to hold a discussion with the pupils. I tried to ask questions and elicit responses from the pupils. We talked about the characters, the storyline and the moral values. Actually my main objective was to encourage them to speak to me in English, and I was very impressed with their efforts. I could see that some of them gave really good and unexpected answers to some of my questions - and most impressive of all, they did that in full English. I was especially impressed with a girl's answer to my question: 'Why did the old man love the tree?' Her reply was: 'Because he didn't need much now.' I think that was quite a deep answer, and something that I didn't expect at all.

Video 5: Production

I really dislike this part. After almost half an hour of patiently tolerating my poor storytelling skill, the pupils had to sit at their own respective desks and complete a boring 'fill-in-the-blanks' exercise. I should have conducted something more interesting; something that would give the pupils the opportunity to work together in groups, something more communicative or something that would encourage the pupils to speak more in English.

Video 6: Closure

I tried to wrap up the day's lesson and gave the pupils a glimpse of what they could expect in our next lesson. I don't quite like it because it clearly was very teacher-centred. I was blabbering away while the pupils responded with only a 'Yes' or a 'No'. Actually, at first I intended to end the lesson with a song about the tree but due to some technical glitches, I wasn't able to do that in this lesson.


I like the pupils, and I like my teaching aids. While I was there in the classroom, I actually thought that the lesson had gone extremely well and I kind of believed that I was a good storyteller. Watching the videos had shredded all my beliefs into pieces. Hehehe. ;-)

I think recording myself conducting a teaching session in the classroom is a great way to improve my teaching skills and polish my techniques. I could see my weaknesses and my strengths, my bad habits and my potentials, and from there I could work on correcting my mistakes, improving myself and making my teaching better.

P/S: To my PPG Tesl group members: Theresita, Thareekul, Cornelia and Imelda - feel free to leave your comments, analysis and observations below. Thanks! ;-)

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