Eight Tips to Manage the Classroom and Keep your Students’ Attention

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Classroom management is mainly based on attracting and keeping your students’ attention. If you succeed to do that, you will be able to achieve your learning objectives easily. Here are some tips to attract your students’ attention

  1. Use a signal for zero noise (e.g. if I raise my hand, you all should keep silent.)
  2. Come close to two students chatting and surprise them.
  3. Give clear instructions for each activity telling students what to do exactly.
  4. When making transition from one activity to another, ask for your students’ attention.
  5. Eye contact with as many students as students to monitor the entire room.
  6. Differentiate and vary your activities during each lesson to break monotony.
  7. Ask questions to check students’ comprehension.
  8. Keep silent for some moments while looking at students until they pay full attention.

For Further Reading I recommend:

THE Classroom Management Book

Classroom Management That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Every Teacher

The Classroom Management Secret: And 45 Other Keys to a Well-Behaved Class

 

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Quick Guidelines for Writing Effective Test Questions

It is a challenging task for teachers to write test questions, especially when a test is being used to measure certain learning outcomes. Take into account the following guidelines before you begin writing test questions.                                                     

True/False questions

True/False questions include high probability of guessing the correct response so it is better to avoid them and find a more substantial way to ask the questions. If you think of using this kind of questions, you must not include them any of the qualifying words such as “sometimes” or “always” because these words provide a clue to the correct answer. True/False questions are best used for pre-tests to help identify what the learner doesn’t know.

MCQs

Multiple choice questions or MCQs are less subject to guessing. In addition, they can be used to assess higher-level thinking. The stems and solutions or alternatives must be constructed effectively by:

  1. Stating the stems clearly presenting a single, clear problem or question in each stem.
  2. Avoiding negative phrases or irrelevant material in the stems.
  3. Avoiding clues to the right answer and using “all of the above” or “none of the above” in the alternatives.
  4. ensuring that distractions or alternatives are reasonable and presented in logical order.

Essay Questions

Essay questions are and should be used mainly to measure higher-level thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing and making connections. In these questions, clear guidelines should be provided about the topic, grading or marking so that students can be well aware of how to write the essay. Students should be provided with a lot of practice on writing several short essays rather than on a long one to allow them to write on a variety of topics.

Seven Kinds of CLT Activities to Build up Students’ Communicative Competence

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is based on the main goal of involving students in meaningful communication using the target language. There are many activity types that can be used in the classroom to achieve that goal. The following are the main ones of them.

  1. Communicative activities:

In these activities students should use the language in real-life communicative situations where real information is exchanged and authentic language is used. In addition, the language used is not predictable.

E.g. when asking about directions and how to get to certain places; the nearest bus stop, café or train station.

  1. Information-gap activities:

These activities achieve the goal of people’s communication which is getting the information they don’t possess. Students are encouraged in the classroom to do this kind of activities to communicate meaningfully to obtain information.

E.g. divide students into pairs to practise role-playing. Each student has information that the other doesn’t know. One student asks for information on train departures, prices, the time, … etc.

  1. Task-completion activities (puzzles, games, map-reading, … etc.)

In these tasks the focus is on using the language resources to complete a task.

  1. Information-gathering activities (survey, interviews, searches, … etc.)

In these activities students are required to use the language resources to collect information.

  1. Opinion-sharing activities:

In these activities students share their values, opinions and beliefs such as listing the most important qualities of a good teacher or the best friend.

  1. Information-transfer activities:

In these activities students take information from one form and represent it in a different form. E.g. reading information about a subject and represent it in a graph or a map.

  1. Reasoning-gap activities:

In these activities students derive or infer information from given information.

E.g. deriving information from the classroom timetable.

For more CLT activities I recommend:

1. Communicative Ideas: An Approach with Classroom Activities

2. Keep Talking: Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers)

3. 100 TESOL Activities for Teachers: Practical ESL/EFL Activities for the Communicative Classroom

Aims & Key Stones of any Teacher Mentoring Programme

Mentoring is a partnership created to help and assist mentees to reach the highest levels of professional and personal development.

Effective mentoring programme should aim at the following:

  1. Identifying and meeting mentees’ personal and professional needs.
  2. Facilitating the growth of mentees personally and professionally.
  3. Providing mentees with ongoing support, professional conversations and supervision.
  4. Reducing the problems that mentees may encounter during their teaching practices.
  5. Supporting development of mentees’ knowledge and skills.
  6. Providing mentees with the opportunity to analyze and reflect on their job and roles.
  7. Building a theoretical foundation with mentees for teaching and learning.
  8. Providing mentees with various resources to get information.
  9. Developing mentees’ understanding of teaching strategies, delivery skills and classroom management procedures.
  10. Familiarizing mentees with subject content concepts and activities that facilitate learning.
  11. Supporting mentees’ understanding and implementing of various means of students’ assessment in the classroom.

Key stones in any mentoring programme:

  1. Active listening.
  2. Classroom observation and teacher conferencing.
  3. Role modeling for teachers.
  4. Giving and receiving feedback.
  5. Leading reflective professional conversations.

A Lesson Plan to Teach the English Novel

Objectives:

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Read for fun skimming and guessing the meaning of difficult words.
  2. Read for scanning and answer some questions on details of the chapter.
  3. Answer the questions on the chapter on the textbook.
  4. Act the scenes included in the chapter.

Teaching aids:

Set-book, Class board, mind mapping, video film, …….. etc.

Learning strategies

Individual, pair and group work, Playing roles, Analysis, Summarizing, …

Warm up (Reviewing):

* Ask about the author and characters of the novel, and the location(s) where the events happened.

* Remind students with the main events of the previous chapter.

* Ask some questions on the main events of the previous chapter.

Presentation (Viewing):

* Target Vocabulary:

* Target Structure:

* Target Function:

Steps of Introducing the New chapter:

  1. 1. Before reading, ask students to guess (expect) what events are going to happen.
  2. Write one or two questions on the board on the main points of the chapter at hand and ask students to read silently and quickly the chapter to answer these questions and underline any difficult words.
  3. After answering the pre-questions on the board, give students a general idea of the chapter , presenting the new vocabulary through using synonyms, antonyms, mind mapping, full sentences, real situations and deal with target structures and functions if found.

Practice:

  1. Write more questions (different types) on the board on details or ask students to read the questions on the chapter on the textbook. Then ask students to read again the chapter but carefully this time to answer the questions they’ve read. Students can work in pairs to answer the questions.
  2. Elicit the answers from students.
  3. Show students the scenes of the chapter on a video film (if found).
  4. Divide students into groups and distribute the roles among them to present the scenes of the chapter.
  5. At the end, some students come to the front and present a summary for the whole chapter using, First, Secondly, Next, Then, Later, Finally, ……

Assessment:

* Ask: What have we learned today?

* Ask some questions to elicit the main events.

* Ask students to write a summary for the chapter as a homework assignment.

* Assign some more questions on the chapter for students to answer in writing at home.

* Ask some critical thinking questions on the chapter.

Previewing:

* Specify the next part (chapter) of the novel for students to read.

* Write one or two pre-questions (different types) on the next part or chapter and ask students to answer them after reading at home.

Self-Evaluation:

* Students enjoyed reading for fun, skimming and scanning. Or

* Techniques used were suitable and objectives were achieved. Or

* Students need revision and more practice on the chapter at hand.

A Lesson Plan to Teach Email Writing.

Email-writing aims ultimately at:

  1. Improving social skills ( saying “thank you”, sending an invitation, offering help or support, ………etc. )
  2. Asking for information informally.
  3. Exchanging ideas and opinions.
  4. Writing about some personal experience.

Here is a model for an email writing lesson plan

Objectives:

At the end of this lesson Ss should be able to:

  1. Compose a written text (an email) based on a familiar subject.
  2. Recognize the differences between writing a letter and writing an email.

Warm up:

  1. Discuss email-writing focusing on personal experience, reasons, advantages, feelings, form, expressions, ………
  2. Show the class a real model of an email (on a wall sheet, overhead projector or data show) and encourage Ss to talk about what they see.

Presentation (Introduce the rules of email-writing using the previous model of the email)

  1. Show Ss the box where we should write the email address of the receiver and how to write it.
  2. Show Ss the box where we should write the subject of the email.
  3. Point to the word “Dear” referring to the name of the receiver after it.
  4. Tell Ss what to write at the beginning of the email ( informal greeting and then tell what you are writing about )
  5. Ask Ss to read the body of the email and check their understanding.
  6. Tell Ss what to write at the end of the email (“Best regards”, …. and under it; the name of the sender )

Practice (Ss practise email-writing in pairs)

  1. Select with Ss a familiar subject to write an email about to a friend.
  2. Specify the email address and the name of the receiver and write them on the board.
  3. Elicit some suggested sentences to be impeded in the body of the email.
  4. Ask Ss to work in pairs and write the email (in a separate paper) as the model they saw before, go round to check and give help.
  5. Take some emails and show them to the class. Read out them and provide feedback.
  6. Each pair take their email to make the correction needed and then come to the front showing the class the final version and read the email aloud.

Finish the lesson:

  1. By reminding Ss with the rules of writing an email.
  2. By asking Ss to write another email at home after specifying the information needed for doing that.