TECHNICAL REPORT 2 6
Studentsare unaware of their teacher’s expectation of them unless theteacher explicitly describes the same through tasks. That is referredto as modeling for instructions. It takes place in different formsincluding visually, auditory and kinesthetically. The teacher canalso provide students with examples which prevent them from askingfrequent questions during classroom activities. Explicit teacher’smodeling may take place at any level of proficiency and is notlimited only to beginners. The current report focuses on two aspects.To start with, it was supposed that teachers should be aware of thelevel of proficiency among their students. It implies that the moreadvanced they are, the less modeling for instructions would beemployed. Secondly, it investigates the transition between classroomactivities whereby the teacher engages students with smooth,interactive and fast transitions that motivate them regarding theirsubsequent activity.
For the purpose of this report,two English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at INTO USF languagecenter were observed. The first one was a graduate pathway course foradvanced ESL students (EAP 1850) that had 15 students from China,Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Secondly was the “Academic Interactions 2’for beginner students that was comprised of Saudi Arabian students.The objective of observing both classes was to highlight on theteacher’s modeling of instructions, as well as the transitionbetween activities. The purpose of choosing two different levelclasses was to understand how the two aspects differ based on thestudent’s proficiency levels, and how the teachers explain theinstructions among different levels of students.
The EAP was a three-hour class.In this, the students were required to read an article and answerquestions based on the same in a shared Google Doc. The teacherexplained what a phenomenological study means by showing the studentsa YouTube video on phenomenology. She stopped the video after everyaspect, explained and then asked them to explain it according to thearticle. For instance, who and what are the number of participants.After explaining the aspect, she assigned one of the questions postedon the Google Doc to each student, whereby she showed it on thescreen. The teacher assigned the first question to herself andshowed the students how to obtain the answer from the abstract. Thequestion was “what was the aim of the study? She explained itthoroughly after which she gave them ten minutes their assignedquestions. The second aspect was bracketing. In order to explain itin phenomenological studies, the teacher showed a picture of DonaldTrump and stated that she is against his views regarding the world.However, if she had to conduct a phenomenological study about him,she should preserve her judgment and interview his followers amongother people to seek their opinions about him.
The class was involved in twoactivities and the transition between them was smooth and organized.Students initially worked individually on the first activity and wereafterwards assigned to a group activity based on their questions,thus they knew what they were going to discuss. Students wereadvanced enough to follow the instructions.
The academic instructions classhad more than four activities. For every activity, the teacher spokeslowly explaining every component involved. Considering that thestudents were beginners, they took time to respond compared toadvanced students. She demonstrated how they should perform theactivity. Mostly, she broke the instructions into small chunks as sheunderstood the student’s ability to comprehend the giveninstructions. The teacher also played a major role in doing the firstsection of each activity, giving them an example of how it should bedone. For one of the activities, students were given a sheet of paperand were asked to fold it, and write two questions inside and answerson the other side. She showed them on the digital screen a sample ofthe folded sheet obtained from another class that had similaractivity.
From this it is clear thatmodeling some tasks may take a few minutes while others, more complexones, may take extended teaching time. It is important for theteacher to know ahead of time the needs of every student and whatareas require more explanation. This means that when students are setout to work individually, they understand the expectations andrequirements. For instance, one of the activities they had was avocabulary bingo. Students were asked to find a bingo but they werenot able to get it since they lacked suitable background knowledgeabout the game. The teacher was however not able to explain the gamethoroughly since she had only ten minutes before the class was over.Therefore, the students did not perform well.
Although there were manyinteractive activities in the class, students remained focused andengaged. The teacher dealt with them as if she was part of theactivities. This is evidenced by how she conducted the teaching. Someof the things she said were “let us do this activity, let us playthis game, let us go around and see what is posted on the walls.”She was also modeling every activity. Their level of proficiency madeit hard for the teacher to move from one activity to the other makingsure that they understood.
As aforementioned, the purposeof choosing the two levels of classes in this report was to comparehow teachers handle modeling of instructions and the transitionbetween activities. It is clear that advanced students needs formodeling of instructions was different from that of the beginners.For the latter, language barriers and comprehension level hindertheir understanding of the activities and reduce the time taken totransit between them. Therefore, teachers should understand that lessadvanced students require more instructional explanations.
Leung, C., Davison, C. &Mohan, B. (2014). Englishas a Second Language in the mainstream: Teaching, learning andidentity. New York:Routledge.