Monday, February 14, 2005

Approaches to classroom investigation in teaching

Approaches to classroom investigation in teaching
Richards & Lockhart, 1996, Reflective teaching in second language classrooms. UK: Cambridge

Richards and Lockhart (1996) state that in every lesson and in every classroom, event occur which the teacher can use to develop a deeper understanding of teaching. Teachers sometimes fail to exploit these events. These experiences can serve as the basis for critical reflection, if teachers can find ways to capture the thoughts of and reaction to these events, as well as ways to gather fuller information about the events themselves.


1. Teaching journals- written or recorded accounts of teaching [Your blogs]
2. Lesson reports- written accounts of lessons which describe the main features of the lessons [see mei’s blog]
3. Survey and questionnaires
4. Audio and video recordings
5. Observation
6. action research- implementation of an action plan designed to bring about change in some aspect of the teacher’s class with subsequent monitoring of the effects of the innovation.

Let’s start with Journals [Blogs]

A journal is a teacher’s written response to teaching events. Keeping a journal serves two purposes:

1. Events and ideas are recorded for the purposes of later reflection
2. The process of writing itself helps trigger insights about teaching. Writing in this sense serves as a discovery process.

The following procedures are recommended for keeping a journal {Bailey, 1990; Porter et al 1990; Walker, 1985}

1. make entries on a regular basis, such as once or twice a week or even daily if possible. It may be useful to spend five or ten minutes after a lesson to write about it or record it.
2. Review your journal entries regularly. Ask yourself these questions:

 What do I do as a teacher?
 What principles and beliefs inform my teaching?
 Why do I teach the way I do?
 What roles do learners play in my classes?
 Should I teach differently?

Questions to ask yourself as a language teacher

1. What is the source of my ideas about language teaching?
2. Where am I in my professional development?
3. How am I developing as a language teacher?
4. What are my strengths as a language teacher?
5. What are my limitations?
6. Are there any contradictions in my teaching?
7. How can I improve my language teaching?
8. How am I helping my students?
9. What satisfaction does language teaching give me?

Questions ask yourself about the students?
1. Did you teach all your students today?
2. Did students contribute actively to the lesson?
3. How did you respond to different students’ needs?
4. Were students challenged by the lesson?
5. What do you thinks students really learned from the lesson?
6. What did they like most about the lesson?
7. What didn’t they respond well to?

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