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Trinity Centre.

Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

OPOSICIONES DE INGLES PRIMARIA


UNIT 22
VARIABLES TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT WHEN ORGANISING THE
FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM:
PUPIL GROUPINGS.
SPACE AND TIME MANAGEMENT.
SELECTING METHODOLOGY.
THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER.
1. INTRODUCTION
2. SPACE MANAGEMENT
3. TIME MANAGEMENT
4. PUPIL GROUPINGS
4.1. Lockstep
4.2. Pairwork
4.3. Small Group Work

5. SELECTING METHODOLOGY
5.1. The Communicative Approach.
5.1.1. Warm Up
5.1.2. Presentation
5.1.3. Practice
5.1.4. Production
5.1.5. Evaluation
5.2. The Task-Based Approach
5.3. Total Physical Response.

6. THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER


7. CONCLUSION

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Registro Propiedad Intelectual. Autor Ian Miles & Brbara Herriott-Connor: Nmero de Asiento Registral
00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

1. INTRODUCTION
It is important that the teacher makes the most of the chances that he has for
efficient classroom management. This is an area that is often neglected, but at
the same time it is one that can have a wide ranging effect upon the success of
the lessons. In this area we have to think about various aspects, such as how
the arrangement of the space can change the attitude of the pupils, and how
the teacher can exert control in both a deliberate and a more subtle manner.
The information that we will use in this unit has been taken from The Modern
Classroom by R.Hicks, Classroom Control by Dervla Murphy and At The
Chalkface by Brewster.
A complete list of references will be given at the end of this unit.
We will begin by looking at space management.
2. SPACE MANAGEMENT
If the classroom is badly organised we may find that the students dont work so
well. This is simply because a correct layout of the classroom is essential if we
want to create an atmosphere that motivates the students. The problem is that
in a classroom containing a large number of students it may be difficult for us
to arrange the desks according to a pattern that we find suitable. It may be
desirable for us to have a large spacious classroom that gives us room for the
children to move around, but all too often this is an impossibility. Therefore we
have to think carefully about the kind of arrangement that is going to suit us.
The Traditional Arrangement is for the teachers desk to be at the front of the
class and all the students arranged in rows facing the front. This is generally
good for activities such as examinations, and is quite good for maintaining
order, but the problem is that it doesnt offer much scope for close monitoring
as the teacher may find it difficult to move among the desks. In addition to this,
problems may arise when the teacher wants the students to partake in group
work, as the scope for communication is limited.
The Horseshoe Arrangement is among the most popular of styles to be used in
the classroom. It is good for communication and many activities. The teachers
can monitor with ease as they can move around the desks inside the
horseshoe.
Mix and Mingle is the method favoured for communication games as the
students have the chance to move freely around the classroom. The main
disadvantage with this method is that at times it can feel a little chaotic. If the
group is large it is easy for the teacher to lose control.
There are many other arrangements and the teacher should feel free to alter
the layout of the classroom according to the needs of the lesson. It may be
better if we can place the students into ready made groups of between four and
2
Registro Propiedad Intelectual. Autor Ian Miles & Brbara Herriott-Connor: Nmero de Asiento Registral
00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

six as, according to Brewster, this is the optimum number that can be easily
aligned for either pair work or group work.
It is also true that the students who sit closest to the teacher tend to work
harder and to achieve more, so the teacher should try to regularly make
adjustments to those pupils who are sitting near to him in order to give the
whole class the same opportunities.
In addition to the layout of the class, we should also think about how we are
going to create the right atmosphere. If a class is dull and dark, so too will the
students be. A classroom, especially at primary level, needs to be large and
bright, all the space available has to be utilised to maximum effect in order to
provide the students with an atmosphere within which they feel relaxed enough
to study.
There are many things that a teacher can do in order to brighten up the class.
One of the main things is to put the work that the students have done up on
the wall. This immediately has the effect of encouraging the students to work.
Pictures and drawings can give a nice, friendly atmosphere to the classroom, as
well as personalising it for the students. It is important to ensure that everyone
in the class has something on display.
In addition to this, the teacher may like to use cupboards, etc. in order to create
different areas, such as a library, a drawing area, and so on.
One of the things that many teachers realise is that the timing of the lesson can
be very important and often quite difficult. The teacher doesnt want to run out
of things to do, but at the same time he doesnt want the lesson to finish before
he has achieved his objectives. With experience, the teacher may find that he is
able to predict the length of time needed for different tasks with different
groups. We will look at this area in more detail next.
INTERACTIVE LINK
http://www.league.org/gettingresults/web/module1/diversity/build_spa
ce_learning.html

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00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

3. TIME MANAGEMENT
Time Management is a key area of teaching. It has to be carefully planned to
ensure that the duration of the activities matches the duration of the lesson.
It is a good idea for the teacher to always have spare material with him in case
the class manages to complete the set activities within a given time period. In
addition to this, the teacher has to make sure that he doesnt finish the lesson
in the middle of an activity. This calls for careful planning. The teacher must
have some idea of the level of ability of his class. If he underestimates them,
they will finish all he has set within the given period, and overestimating them
will result in a failure to achieve the tasks - which could result in demotivisation.
Normally the lesson would last for around 50 minutes. This means that the
teacher must have a clear idea of exactly how much his class are capable of
achieving within this time period and set his objectives accordingly.
We have to take into account the fact that the attention span of young children
is much less than that of adults. For this reason the teacher must ensure that
his management of the time must take into account how long he feels a series
of activities are likely to last for. It is perhaps more valuable for the primary
school teacher to prepare a series of short exercises than it is for him to
prepare a long one, this way the students will have a lot of variety which will
help them to maintain their interest for a longer period.
Basically, the responsibility is on the shoulders of the teacher. The more he
knows about the character and the capabilities of his students, the more likely
he is to be able to plan a lesson according to the time available.
However, even if we have managed to decide on the best layout for our class,
as well as the way to plan the activities according to a schedule, we still have to
think about how we are going to place the students.
INTERACTIVE LINK
http://www.utoronto.ca/tatp/timemanagement.pdf

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00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

This brings us on to the next point:


4. PUPIL GROUPINGS
This is another neglected area. All too often the teacher will place the students
into whatever grouping seems good at the time, without first paying attention
to either the class psychology or the needs of the activity.
When we decide to put students in groups we have to remember that we
should be thinking beyond the sole objective of completing the activity.
Primary school children are in the earliest stages of development; how they are
taught to behave, both in the classroom and in the home, can have a profound
effect upon their future development. For this reason, primary school teachers
have to think carefully about the consequences of their actions.
Grouping students can help to build co-operative attitudes as the students are
encouraged to work together in order to achieve a common goal. This can
clearly have benefits for their life outside of the classroom. The teacher must
ensure that co-operation is the prime objective within the group, and that
competitive attitudes have to give way to teamwork.
Within groups, the students can learn to develop a sociable attitude. The
teacher can also help the students to respect the opinions of others, and
participate in team efforts.
The benefits of groupwork extend far beyond these boundaries though.
Through this system the child can have a break from the normal day to day
routines of the classroom, and can experience a time when his actions are
governed by his peers and not by the authority figure of the teacher. The
students will hopefully learn how to offer advice and assistance, thus becoming
more receptive to the behaviour of those around them.
The added bonus here is that groupwork can help students to make friends and,
if the control of the teacher is correct, the shy students could be encouraged to
become more confident.
Let us now see the types of grouping that could be employed:

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00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

4.1. Lockstep:
This means that the whole class forms one group, with the teacher as the head.
This was used all the time in the classroom, and it still should be used from
time to time in the Communicative Approach as it has some advantages. Firstly
the teacher can monitor the class as a whole in order to ensure that everyone
is doing what he should be doing. This is much harder to do when the class is
divided up into smaller groups. In addition to this, it is good for the presentation
stage of a task. The students are encouraged to listen to the teacher as a
whole, so the initial example that they receive should be a good one. During
this type of grouping the teacher needs to watch the students carefully in order
to ensure that they are all listening. The main disadvantage with this method is
that when we want the students to express themselves individually, we may
find that there are students who are too reticent to speak out in front of a large
group and so they remain silent, even when they know the answer to a
question.
The following suggestion is one of the most common groupings:
4.2. Pairwork
The students form a pair with their friend, although the teacher has to ensure
that the friendship does not detract from the task that has been set. We can
often find that two students who are friends out of the classroom as well as in
will often try to show off to each other. It may be a good idea if the teacher
occasionally changed the seating so that the pairs could be changed, thus
giving the students the opportunity to work with different partners. Pairwork
has many advantages. The students are much more confident and they
encourage each other to do the work. The teacher can move around the class
monitoring each pair and ensuring that the task is being carried out. However,
it is in this area of monitoring that problems can sometimes occur. If there are
15 pairs, or sometimes even more in a group, the teacher is going to find it
difficult to keep track of what is going on. For this reason it is generally
preferable if the tasks are kept short, that way the students dont have the time
to discuss irrelevant things when the teacher is on the opposite side of the
room. The other problem is that the students are only engaging in an exchange
with one other person. For this reason the teacher should think about the
possibility of small group work.
4.3. Small Group Work
This tends to have a much more dynamic aspect than pair work for the simple
reason that the students have to confront conversational situations with more
people. This gives them greater scope for communication, even if at times this
is in the L1. However, this
isnt important as they are learning to work
together. As the groups progress, we may find that the students will help each
other by giving suggestions and advice. The student-student interaction can
often be more valuable than the traditional teacher-student relationship. Also,
when the students are working together in groups they have a better chance to
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00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

relax - when there are only 2 students there can be a great feeling of pressure
and the students are more stressed by the search to find the answer. With a
group the odds are increased as there are more people available to find a
solution. However, group work of any description has its disadvantages. Often
we may find that the class becomes too noisy due to a level of over excitement
among the students, a fact that can severely distract them from their work. The
group members may not interact well, and we may often find that the stronger
group members will dominate. For these reasons the teacher has to make some
decisions. It may be an idea to keep the students together in one group
because this will form some group identity, but generally speaking the groups
should not be too fixed from the beginning. The teacher can try various formats
in order to discover which groups work well together, perhaps mixing the
abilities to see if the stronger students help the weaker ones. Once the teacher
is satisfied that he has arranged groups that work well together, then he can
think about keeping them together for the whole of the year. Finally, the
teacher should be prepared to make use of a wide range of different groupings
and an equally wide range of different activities in order for the students to
become used to variation.
INTERACTIVE LINK
http://www.eltforum.com/topic30.html
Now that we have seen the kinds of things that the teachers have to think
about when they are arranging the class and the pupils, we will move onto the
methodology that can be applied.
5. SELECTING METHODOLOGY
Methodology is basically the study of the process of language teaching. The
idea is that through reflection on the techniques used we will be able to
improve our system. According to the curriculum we should teach
communicative competence. This is one of the latest theories of language
teaching, and it certainly seems to be the most effective system up to now.
However, care must be taken because sometimes the theory is unrealistic and
cannot be used in a large classroom, or with a particular student type. For this
reason it is important that the teacher is adaptable and can accept different
methods according to how he judges the needs of his students.
What must always be kept in mind is that the teacher has control over the
methodologies that are to be used, and so he has to feel free to experiment
with different types until he finds the one that most suits the class.
The methodology that we are going to examine in this section is the basic
methodology that should be used in all classrooms that deal with language.
Once this has been accepted as a foundation, the teacher can start
experimenting with different styles. This basis is The Communicative
Approach.
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Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

5.1. The Communicative Approach.


This approach has developed over a number of years, and is seen as a mixture
of many of the earlier methods that have been used in language teaching in
the past.
One of the basic assumptions of the Communicative Approach is that the
students will be more motivated to learn the language if they feel that they are
learning to do something useful. Language is viewed as a means of
communication, with the students becoming aware of the functions of
language. This takes into account the five subcompetences as mentioned by
Canale and Swain as laid out in the Spanish curriculum:
Grammatical:
The Rules.
Discoursive:
Use of rules.
Strategic:
How to make up for a lack of linguistic knowledge.
Sociolinguistic:
The knowledge of what words a native speaker would use in a given situation.

Sociocultural:
How a native speaker would react in a given situation, using tone, register, etc.
The learner needs knowledge of forms, meanings and functions. However,
he must also take into consideration the social situation in order to convey his
meaning correctly. The basis of the system is a knowledge of the rules plus
when, how and to whom to use them.
The main features of the Communicative Approach are:

The students native language has less of a role.


It places the emphasis on form as well as function.
It remembers that oral communication is both verbal and non-verbal.
It aims to teach communicative competence, not just linguistic competence.
It does not put accuracy over fluency.
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Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

It centres on the learner rather than the teacher.


When the lesson is being used in the classroom, there are various stages that
must be followed. These are:
WARM UP

PRESENTATION

PRACTICE

PRODUCTION

Let us begin with the Warm-Up stage:


5.1.1. Warm-Up
This is the stage where the teacher has to set the scene for the rest of the
lesson. He has to take into account the fact that the students have come to him
from another lesson where they would have been speaking in Spanish, so it is
important that he gets them thinking at least a little in English. This stage
shouldnt be didactic, instead it should include games, songs, brainstorming,
etc. so that the students enjoy themselves and start the lesson with a positive
attitude.
5.1.2. Presentation
Here the teacher has to introduce the students to the language that is to be
taught. This can be done through a variety of techniques including: preteaching, eliciting, drills, pictures, etc. The focus at this stage is on accuracy.
The teacher must correct the errors that the students make before they have
the opportunity to form bad habits. The aim at this stage is for the students to
become accustomed to seeing how the structure works, and for them to be able
to store the information in their short term memory.
5.1.3. Practice
Here we introduce communication, but it is very controlled. The students are
given a series of activities to perform, normally in groups, for them to practise
the target language. They will have an initial feel of how the target language
works, but the teacher still needs to give more importance to accuracy.
5.1.4. Production
This final stage demands that the students are able to produce the language
freely in conversation. Here the teacher will allow the students a great deal of
autonomy in order to arrive at the objective. The kinds of activities that can be
used here include Role Plays, Discussions and Group Work.
Throughout the teaching process it must always be remembered that the
students have to use all of the skills. This means that the teacher should not
spend a whole session where the students simply listen, as has often been the
case in the past. Instead the teacher should plan the lesson so that the
students have the chance to integrate the skills, although writing should be
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Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

kept to a minimum, especially with students who are still learning to write in
the L1.
It is also important that the items that are being taught are contextualised. The
students react better to things that are within the scope of their experience and
so the teacher must attempt to provide exercises that bring the language to
life, placing it - wherever possible - within the boundaries of real life situations
to which the students can relate.
Finally the teacher has to think about the methods that he is going to use to
evaluate the students.
5.1.5. Evaluation
Generally speaking, he should think about a continuous assessment. In this way
he can make judgements about the way that the course is going to go
according to the needs of his students and the speed at which they are
learning.
The teacher will begin with an
beginning of the year, this way
young students, or with complete
of the English words in Spain they

Initial Evaluation of his students at the


he can decide on his objectives. With very
beginners, he may like to find out how much
have incorporated into their vocabulary.

Throughout the year the teacher will make a Formative Evaluation based on
the achievements of the students at various points. This can be done through
tests, drills, exercises or an assessment of the students abilities at the end of
each didactic unit.
Finally the teacher will need to make a Summative Evaluation at the end of
the year in order to assess if the objectives have been achieved.
The teacher should also take into account the various Evaluation Criteria that
can be found in the Curriculum. These criteria are suggestions for skills that the
students should have acquired. If they can perform successfully the skills as
laid out in the criteria, then the teacher will know that his general objectives
have been achieved.
Within the Communicative Approach we can find different variants that can be
considered as methodologies themselves. We are going to have a look at one of
them, namely, the Task-Based Approach
5.2. The Task-Based Approach.
The idea of this method is again, to produce students who are communicatively
competent. Students must be able to use the appropriate language depending
on the context, the topic and the roles of the participants. Moreover, they must
be able to manage the different processes of communication, such as
information sharing, interaction and negotiation of meaning. Different tasks
10
Registro Propiedad Intelectual. Autor Ian Miles & Brbara Herriott-Connor: Nmero de Asiento Registral
00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

will enable them to acquire these abilities. To understand this, we first of all we
have to know what a task is.
A task is a series of sequenced activities which lie around the solution of a
problem as the result of processing or understanding the language: drawing a
map while listening to instructions (Richards, Platt and Weber). A task has the
overall purpose of facilitating language-learning. Tasks involve language in
action (to communicate) in which the users attention is focused on meaning
rather than linguistic structure. According to Nunan, a task is a piece of
classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating,
producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is
principally focused on meaning rather than form.
A task must have various components:
* Input data: verbal (a dialogue or a reading passage), and non-verbal (a
picture sequence, some photographs).
* Activity: in some way will be derived from the input and which will set out
what the learners are to do in relation to the input.
* Goal: its general intention.
There are different types of tasks and activities depending on whether they lay
emphasis on one aspect or another.
The tasks can be grouped according to their goal. So, firstly, we find those
activities aimed at giving instructions and organising the functioning of the
classroom. Secondly, activities the goal of which is to get the students used to
handle the most frequent situations of communication through taking part in
short dialogues, role plays, etc. A third type of activities include those aimed at
exchanging information among students.
We can also mention those activities that make reference to the development
of general capacities, such as observing, classifying or transferring. And finally,
those activities aimed at playing.
Summing up, the activities must be varied and foster the balanced practice of
the four skills. The rhythm of the activities will depend on the feed back of the
students. However, in Primary Education, there should be a frequent change of
activity in order to maintain the students interest and make learning more
effective.
Finally in this section, we should mention the Total Physical Response, which
has become part of the Communicative Approach, particularly in Primary
Teaching.
5.3. The Total Physical Response.
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Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

It is based on the internalisation of the language through commands. Songs


and games are used extensively with the students having to respond to the
instructions being given.
The advantage is that the students can be more involved in the lesson and that
they can learn the language in response to actions. This should not only make
learning more fun, and so more motivating, but also the students should find it
easier to remember the language.
These have been just a few of the methodologies that are available. The most
important point to remember when it comes to selecting a method, is that we
must take into account the needs of the students.
Finally, we can say that whatever method is used, the success depends on the
role of the teacher.
INTERACTIVE LINK
http://www.englishraven.com/methodology.html
6. THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER
Ultimately, the teacher has to self-assess if he is to be sure that his methods
are actually working. The best method of self-assessing is through the class
marks and the achievements of the students, not every class is full of geniuses,
but if all the classes fail to show any kind of improvement, then the teacher
should start to ask himself why. The teacher may also like to find out what the
students feel about the classes, so that he knows which ones are working and
which ones arent.
We can say that the global role of the teacher is to achieve the objectives laid
out in the curriculum, however this will mean the carrying out of a variety of
specific roles first.
Initially, the teacher has to be the Law Maker. In the modern classroom,
maintaining discipline is a major part of the teachers duty. There are many
reasons why a class may lack discipline, and the teacher should first look to
himself to see if there is anything that he is doing wrong. If he isnt wellprepared, or he doesnt make the lessons as interesting as possible, discipline
problems may occur. The teacher needs to maintain a positive attitude at all
times, because if he doesnt, any negativity may be transmitted to the
students. Often though, the geographical situation of the school may be the
cause of disruptive students. Discipline problems can happen anywhere, but
reality has shown that the poorer the neighbourhood the more likely the
students are to have problems. In these situations the teacher must be
sympathetic but firm. Any instance of misbehaviour has to be dealt with
instantly in order to ensure that it goes no further.

12
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Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

In addition to this he must be the Controller of the Class. The teacher is the
one who decides which activities are going to be used, and how they will be
used. However, if the teacher is to take a Communicative Approach, there are
times when he has to relax his control a little, and let the students take charge.
Before, during and after the class the teacher has to have the role of
Organiser. It is important that both the teacher and the students know what
they have to do and when they have to do it. This means that the teacher has
to provide good, clear stages to the lesson, and that the students must be
aware of what is expected of them at all times.
Throughout the activity the teacher has to play the role of prompter, ensuring
that he can fill in any major gaps in the students vocabulary. He must also be a
participant when the activity calls for it and a resource for when the students
need help.
Needless to say, the role of the teacher goes way beyond the few items that we
have mentioned here. The teacher could have a multi-faceted role, including
developing an interest for L2 learning among the students, and making their
horizons broader.
However, one thing is clear. The teacher is the one whom the students follow,
and it is up to him to provide the best example, not just of language learning,
but of the way to behave in the real world.
INTERACTIVE LINK
http://eltnotebook.blogspot.com/2006/11/teacher-talking-time-partone.html
7. CONCLUSION
The main thing that we have seen in this unit is the importance of the role of
the teacher. Throughout the space and time management, the grouping of the
students and the methodology to be used, it is the teacher who makes all of the
decisions.
The vital thing is that the teacher makes the right decisions. In order to be able
to do this, he has to know his group and their needs. This means willingness to
change. If the teacher is fixed in his ways then the class will never have the
chance to progress.
It is up to the teacher to ensure that the needs of the lesson are made to fit the
needs of the students, and not the other way round.

13
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Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

REFERENCES
-Allwright, R. and K. M. Bailey. 1991. Focus on the language classroom: An
introduction
-Burns, A. 1999. Collaborative action research for English language teachers.
New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0-521-63895-X.
-Edge, J., ed. 2001. Action research: Case studies in TESOL. Alexandria,
VA:TESOL. ISBN: 0-939791-92-7.
-Freeman, D. 1998. Doing teacher research: From inquiry to understanding.
Boston: Heinle & Heinle. ISBN: 0-8384-7900-6.
-Wallace, M. J. 1998. Action research for language teachers. New York:
Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0-521-55535-3
-Wallace, M. J. 1991. Training foreign language teachers: A reflective approach.
New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 0-521-35654-7.
A GOOD WEB PAGE:
http://www.catesol.org/shelter.html
This small web page includes some good tips on various subjects.

14
Registro Propiedad Intelectual. Autor Ian Miles & Brbara Herriott-Connor: Nmero de Asiento Registral
00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

UNIT 22: VARIABLES TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT WHEN ORGANISING


THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM.
THEMES

NOTES

It is essential that the teacher makes the most of the resources that he has for
efficient classroom management. If the class is badly organised, we may find
that the students dont work so well. The layout of the class is important.
Traditionally, the teachers desk is at the front of the class. Not good for close
monitoring, or when the teacher wants the students to take part in group
work. The horseshoe is the most popular of the styles. Mix and mingle is
good for communicating, but it is also easy for the teacher to lose control of
large groups. The right atmosphere also has to be created in the class. It
should be bright and cheerful. The timing of the lesson is important, and also
difficult to achieve accurately. It is more valuable for the teacher to prepare a
series of short activities than long ones. The grouping of the students is
important too. The lockstep approach is when the class forms one group as
a whole. This makes it easy for the teacher to monitor the class, but it does
not encourage the students to express themselves individually. Pairwork is
also useful. The teacher may want to move the children around occasionally
so that the pairs are varied. Small Group Work tends to have a more
dynamic aspect and the students have a greater scope for communication.
Sometimes the class can be too noisy and so it must be controlled closely by
the teacher.
Methodology is the study of the process of language teaching. It should
follow the Communicative Approach. The class should follow the pattern of
warm up present, practise, produce. The Warm Up is when the teacher
acclimatises the students to the language. The presentation is when the
teacher introduces the students to the things that are going to be taught. The
practice stage is when communication is introduced, but in a controlled way.
Finally, in the production stage, the students are encouraged to produce
language in a more natural, freer way. It mustnt be forgotten that the
students should use all of the skills and that the things being taught are within
the scope of their experience. The evaluation should be initial, formative
and summative. The Task-Based Approach: set of activities that lie
around the solution of a problem. Elements: Input, activity, goal. Types of
tasks. Total Physical Response method is used as a way of getting the
students involved in what happens in the class and acts as a means of
motivation. The role of the teacher is very important. He has to be law
maker, so that he can maintain discipline, class controller, to decide what is
going to be done in the class as well as organiser, prompter and resource.
The teacher is the one whom the students follow, so he has to make sure that
he is setting them a good example, both in the area of language learning, and
also in how to behave in the real world.

15
Registro Propiedad Intelectual. Autor Ian Miles & Brbara Herriott-Connor: Nmero de Asiento Registral
00/2004/3122

Trinity Centre. Albacete, Alicante, Valencia Tel: 627 137 138


Unit 22: Variables in organising foreign language classroom
Unit updated: 05/05/2015

Now test your knowledge of unit 22 by answering the following


questions:
1. Describe some of the styles of classroom arrangement.

2. What should be taken into consideration when thinking about the timing of a
lesson?

3. What are the different student groupings that can be used?

4. Describe the evaluation process.

5. What is the role of the teacher?

16
Registro Propiedad Intelectual. Autor Ian Miles & Brbara Herriott-Connor: Nmero de Asiento Registral
00/2004/3122