My Classroom Observation
During the course of the semester, I had the opportunity to observe a seasoned instructor at ESL services here at UT. The course that I observed was an Intermediate Reading and Discussion class. I felt very fortunate to have been able to observe this class.
The instructor created an environment that was conducive to learning in which all the students appeared to feel at ease due to her warm, friendly personality and also because she was approachable and appeared to possess a genuine interest in hearing her students' opinions. One thing that I learned from this instructor related to planning and adapting those plans to fit the students' needs. The teacher was very organized and planned all of her activities ahead of time. Another thing that she did well related to task-based learning through group work. She broke the class up into groups on two separate occasions. In this way she provides communicative activities, which allow the students to practice their language skills. It also allows for a more learner-centered classroom.
The instructor made good use of authentic materials. The idea of using Craig's List as an authentic source of reading material had never occurred to me. In fact I may have to copy her and use Craig's List later in my own teaching! Another thing that I really liked about her class was the fact that she incorporates a little bit of strategies training into every lesson in order to promote learner autonomy. The thing that I learned most from this classroom observation experience was to watch how she elicits information from the students. She appeared to be extremely patient and waited for the students to come up with their responses.
I believe this instructor to be highly effective and someone to whom I can use as a model. She incorporated many things that I liked into only a two-hour lesson, including proper planning, providing authentic and interesting materials, promoting learner autonomy through strategies training, allowing group work, employing a communicative approach to learning, creating a learner-centered environment, and using integrated focus on form.