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THE DISTANT DELTA MARCH 2013

Reflection and Action


Stages 2 and 3

Kateryna Kirichenko
28-Jul-13
Reflection and Action

Table of Contents
Stage 2................................................................................................................................................................................... 3
SECTION A: BACKGROUND TO STAGE 1 AND 2 ....................................................................................................................... 3
SECTION B: REFLECTION ON TEACHING BELIEFS AND PRACTICES ................................................................................................ 3
SECTION C: STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES ............................................................................................................................. 3
SECTION D: ACTION PLAN .................................................................................................................................................... 4
SECTION E: DESCRIPTIONS OF DATA COLLECTION METHODS .................................................................................................... 5
SECTION F: WORD COUNT AND BIBLIOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................................... 6
SECTION G: APPENDICES ....................................................................................................................................................... 6
Appendix 1 Classroom map .......................................................................................................................................... 6
Appendix 2 Observation tasks template (teacher’s feedback) ..................................................................................... 7
Appendix 3 Students’ survey on feedback .................................................................................................................... 8
Appendix 4 Use of Authentic materials (teacher’s journal) .......................................................................................... 8
Appendix 5 Students’ survey about use of authentic materials in the class ................................................................ 9
Appendix 5 Beliefs questionnaire ............................................................................................................................... 10
Stage 3................................................................................................................................................................................. 12
Section A: Key developments ......................................................................................................................................... 12
Section B: Current weaknesses ....................................................................................................................................... 12
Section C: Action plan ..................................................................................................................................................... 13
Section D: Description of Data collection methods ........................................................................................................ 13
Section E: Word count and Bibliography ........................................................................................................................ 13
Appendices ...................................................................................................................................................................... 15
Appendix 1 .................................................................................................................................................................. 15
Appendix 2 .................................................................................................................................................................. 16
Appendix 3 .................................................................................................................................................................. 18
Appendix 4 .................................................................................................................................................................. 19
Appendix 5 .................................................................................................................................................................. 20
Appendix 6 Students’ survey....................................................................................................................................... 22
Appendix 7 Developmental Log .................................................................................................................................. 22
Appendix 8 Observation sheet (TTT)........................................................................................................................... 22
Appendix 9 Observation Sheet (teaching pronunciation)........................................................................................... 22
Appendix 10Audio recording analysis ......................................................................................................................... 22

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Reflection and Action

Stage 2
SECTION A: BACKGROUND TO STAGE 1 AND 2 Commented [DP1]: A clear summary.

I have been teaching since 2005 in various language schools in China, Indonesia and Vietnam; also in a mainstream
primary school in Indonesia. Currently, I’m with the British Council Oman.

In the OC I taught a low- intermediate monolingual class (Hungarians) a 60min lesson on reported speech focusing on
understanding the backshift issue.

SECTION B: REFLECTION ON TEACHING BELIEFS AND PRACTICES Commented [DP2]: You’ve summarized clearly your beliefs
about four different areas of teaching, making reference to your
I believe acquisition occurs best when students have a natural context and a real purpose for communication. experience and specific teaching strategies. A couple of your points
could be clearer:
(i) Task based learning could certainly provide “a natural context
In the class I often use guided discovery approach and task-based learning. My students appreciate the and a real purpose for communication”, but it’s not clear how
freedom it gives them and have often commented that they remember better when they have time to guided discovery does this: it’s cognitively engaging, but it doesn’t
involve using the target language in a real context.
work things out for themselves. (ii) In your final point particularly, it will help in future to say
explicitly what you are comparing with, e.g. “Group and pairwork
I believe in promoting learners’ autonomy and always try to show learners how they can become more independent increases the amount of student talking time compared with oral
interaction between the teacher and individual students” (to take a
in their learning contrasting example, in the case of writing, group writing can allow
less practice than individual writing).
(2f)
From my experience, students who take responsibility for their learning make faster progress and
acquire skills that allow them to become less depended on teachers. Phonemic chart (apps online),
different ways of recording vocabulary, reading strategies – these are some examples of what my
students have found useful.

I like to personalise the language and make activities more student-centred

From my own language learning experience I found that it makes communication more meaningful.
When students can use the language to talk about things that are important to them and express their
personal beliefs they remember it better.

I believe in the importance of collaborative learning because I feel that it gives students more time to practice and
lowers affective filter

Group and pair work increases the amount of student talking time. Students feel less judged and are
more willing to experiment with language.
Commented [DP3]: You’ve identified some relevant strengths

SECTION C: STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES


and weaknesses in your teaching. It’s interesting to compare your
strength 3 (monitoring, dealing with emergent language) and
weakness 3 (lack of “feedback sessions”). These are linked, and you
Strengths: can think about how your strength in responding and giving
feedback to individuals while they are doing activities can feed into
feedback sessions after the activity/ for the whole class.
1. Contextualisation and personalisation (2a)

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Showing language in context using texts or audio materials makes language more meaningful to students.
Personalisation helps them apply it outside of the classroom.

My students often say that it helps them understand the use of language and incorporate it in their active
vocabulary.

2. Variety of activities and interactions

I always try to incorporate a variety of activities in my lessons to keep students well-engaged throughout
the lesson. It also helps accommodating different learning styles of the students. They have often
commented our lessons are interesting and motivating.

3. Reactive teaching/micro-teaching

When monitoring, I always try to see what issues arise during the activities, react to learners difficulties
and deal with emergent language. Students appreciate help and feel supported.

Weaknesses:

1. Task/activity set up
During freer activities, the goals of the activities are often unclear to the students and this leads to
confusion. This discourages students to listen to each other and decreases their engagement.

2. I don’t use authentic materials in the classroom preferring to exploit textbooks


Due to time constraints, I use textbooks only, with an occasional text from the web (e.g.
onestopenglish.com). Students don’t get exposure to authentic, rich language and this inhibits their
language acquisition.

3. Feedback
From the feedback received in the OC it became obvious that I do not conduct feedback sessions in class.
During speaking and writing activities, I monitor closely and I am always available when needed,
however, my students miss out on evaluation of their performance (both praise and points they need to
improve).

Commented [DP4]: You’ve made some suggestions for


SECTION D: ACTION PLAN improving the weak areas mentioned above, but these are still a bit
In order to maximise student involvement in tasks/activities I intend to general. For the next stage of your PDA, identify some sources for
ideas in relation to each point, e.g. online articles about giving
classroom instructions or feedback, which will suggest specific
include tasks and activities’ goals and what students are supposed to be doing at each stage in my lesson plans strategies to try.
(‘...focusing on what the students do, we are likely to think more about actual learning... and create a lesson (2b,e)

that is genuinely useful.’ Scrivener, J). NB: On my computer this heading is isolated at the bottom of a
page; to avoid this, select the heading and open Format >
Paragraph> Line and page breaks > Keep with next.
experiment with instructions and task set up techniques across the levels and group to find the best way by
Commented [DP5]: Usually you would put just surname and
recording my instructions and the following group interactions. date, plus page number if you’re directly quoting: (Scrivener, 2005,
p. X).

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Reflection and Action

ask for specific feedback from observers

in the long term I will observe my colleagues, paying attention to different ways of activity set up techniques.

In order to introduce more authentic materials in the classroom I intend to

read widely on selection and effective use of authentic materials in language classroom

start using authentic materials in my classes, experimenting with levels and tasks using texts, audio and video
materials.

use guided discovery approach and reading strategies to help students make the best use of the materials

keep record of the materials and activities in order to evaluate their usefulness and students’ reactions to
them. Re-view my records and, in the long term, create a bank of supplementary resources for different levels

In order to provide students with effective feedback I intend to

research different feedback techniques and experiment with them in the classroom to find out which work best
for my students

conduct students’ surveys to ensure that my feedback is useful and relevant to the students

integrate feedback sessions into my lesson plans and start doing it in my lessons

use task-based approach and include teacher-led review stages to highlight issues students have failed to
notice or use correctly (Willis, J 1996).

ask my colleagues to observe my lessons focusing on feedback and its effectiveness

SECTION E: DESCRIPTIONS OF DATA COLLECTION METHODS Commented [DP6]: You’ve mentioned a variety of ways of
gathering data about teaching, relevant to specific weaknesses
1. Student surveys (Appendices 3 and 5) mentioned above. The choice of instruments is appropriate and
you’ve chosen simple, practical formats which should help you get
I will design students’ questionnaires and conduct complementary guided interviews in class to ensure that the useful information (you would need to make sure students
data is quantifiable (questionnaires) and that the students can express their preferences and explain their understand what “feedback” refers to). You also show awareness
of the advantages of each type.
choices (interviews) (Wallace, M. 1998).
2. Teacher’s journal (Appendix 4) Although you mention audio recording instructions, none of the
materials in your appendices seem to focus on this (e.g. an
To save time and stay focused I will keep a critical incident journal (Wallace, M 1998). I will only describe the observation sheet could focus on instructions and the effect of
these on the success of an activity).
key incidents that derive from field notes. However, as A. Burns points out “Journals and logs are unlikely to
(2c,d)
used by themselves” (Burns, A. 2010 ),it will be supplemented by the questionnaires and interviews.

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3. Observation templates (Appendix 2)


I will design a focused observation sheet to help the observer concentrate on the areas I need to improve.
4. Self observations (Appendix 1)
This will help me to see more clearly what goes on during the activities in the lesson. Using spatial observation
schedule (classroom map) will allow me to do real time self observation without having to spend too much
classroom time.
5. Audio recordings
I will record my instructions for an activity and record one group’s interaction doing the activity to see how
successful I was in setting it up.

SECTION F: WORD COUNT AND BIBLIOGRAPHY


Word count:
Section A: Background to Stage 1 and 2: Word Count: 53

Section B: Reflection on teaching beliefs and practices: Word Count: 218

Section C: Strengths and weaknesses: Word Count: 259

Section D: Action Plan: Word Count: 299

Section E: Data collection methods: Word Count: 201

TOTAL WORD COUNT: 1062 (including headings) Commented [DP7]: NB: Be careful with word limits: if future
assignments are even slightly over the maximum limit, they can be
returned to you unmarked. (1g)

Bibliography:

Burns, A. 2010 Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching. Routledge

Scrivener, J. 2005 Learning Teaching. Macmillan

Wallace, M. 1998 Action Research for Language teachers. CUP

Willis, J 1996 A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Longman

SECTION G: APPENDICES
Appendix 1 Classroom map
Activity: _________________________________________________________________________________________.

Goals: ___________________________________________________________________________________________.

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Student Student

table table
Student Student Student Student
1 2

Student Student

Student Student

table table
Student Student Student Student
4 3

Student Student

Legend:

? – confused  - engaged, on task  - not participating at all !!! – needs help

Appendix 2 Observation tasks template (teacher’s feedback)


Stage After/During Feedback Students’ reaction Observers Comments
_____ (activity)

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Types of feedback: implicit, explicit, open class, individual (cards), positive, negative,

Appendix 3 Students’ survey on feedback


1. Do you think feedback is useful? Tick a box and explain your answer briefly

Yes, because_________________________________________________________________________________

No, because _________________________________________________________________________________

2. Circle what types of feedback you think is most useful for you:

a) with the whole class on the board

b) individual (cards)

c) teacher asking students to correct mistakes

d) teacher explaining what’s wrong and how to correct it

Appendix 4 Use of Authentic materials (teacher’s journal)


Date Lesson focus Materials used Purpose Students reactions
(skills/systems)

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Appendix 5 Students’ survey about use of authentic materials in the class

Today we used ___________________________ to ____________________________________________________.

Do you think it was (circle ones that apply):

useful difficult

enjoyable/interesting easy

Boring a waste of time

What have you learned from it?

Grammar: ________________________________________________________________________________________

Vocabulary: _______________________________________________________________________________________

Content: __________________________________________________________________________________________

Would you like to have more activities using similar materials?

Yes No

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Appendix 5 Beliefs questionnaire

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Stage 3 Commented [DW8]: (2c, 2d) You have reported back clearly on
most of the key areas at stage 2, though I’m not sure how class
dynamics relates to setting up activities (or even if it’s supposed to).
You’ve also discussed which tools and methods you’ve found
Section A: Key developments useful. What would improve this further is if you also discuss this in
terms of how you felt after using the techniques, not just learners’
Although my beliefs haven’t changed much, the research and feedback from my observers have allowed me to reactions. This is something to focus on for stage 4.
understand their practical applications and have changed some of my teaching practices.
(2a) You have identified three areas which you feel a need to
develop. These are new for this stage, and so it would perhaps have
Recording group interactions helped me understand the dynamics of my classes and the level of students’ involvement been useful to discuss the background to them a little further,
especially the latter two.
(Appendix 1).
(2b, 2e) Your action plan appears achievable, and you appear to
Unfortunately, due to the busy Summer Program timetable in our school I have only been able to observe one lesson. have a clear idea of what exactly you want to get out of the next
stage of the assignment, which is good to see. In your description of
While it was useful I feel that I will need to observe more to see the range of techniques. data collection methods you have described some useful tools to
monitor your progress, and these will provide you with a lot of
I have tried using authentic materials with my students (Appendix 2). After reading about it (Hedge, 2000; Nunan 1989; useful data from which to draw conclusions. Make sure you append
all this at stage 4. Do read my suggestions for other possible tools
Oura, n.d, etc.), I used simple things like restaurant take-away menus and customer survey forms for my beginner you can use here carefully, and feel free to integrate them into
classes and magazine articles for my pre-intermediate students. It worked great for the beginners (they all commented stage 4 if you want.

that it was good to be able to use what they’ve learned outside of the school), my pre-intermediate students said that You have only briefly mentioned how your beliefs haven’t changed
much since stage 2. That’s quite acceptable at this intermediate
it was interesting but often too difficult (Appendix 3 and 4). This led to further reading more about choosing and stage in the project: no doubt you will have something to say about
exploiting authentic materials and using reading strategies. this in Stage 4 (2f).

This is a good continuation of this part of the PDA, Kateryna. You


After reading (Lighbown and Spada, 1999, Hedge, 2000) and talking to my colleagues and observers (Appendix 5) about have set out some clear areas for development for the final stretch
different ways of giving feedback I have tried both immediate and delayed feedback, giving out cards and making of the course. Good luck with stage 4.

games using students’ mistakes (Hedge, 2000). According to the students’ surveys (Appendix 2), they found it very
Commented [DW9]: Good to mention this briefly.
useful. They found delayed feedback sessions in form of games or competitions very enjoyable and all said that it was
Commented [DW10]: I’m not sure exactly how this relates to
more memorable that way. the first weakness identified at stage 2.
Commented [DW11]: OK, good to be so honest about this.
Section B: Current weaknesses Commented [DW12]: Good, sounds useful. How did you feel
Based on my data and feedback from the observers and tutors, I feel that my most significant current weaknesses are: about using the material?
Commented [DW13]: Of what, exactly?
1. Planning:
Commented [DW14]: Good to hear.
When planning my lessons I often don’t allow enough time for students discussions and this makes my lesson
very teacher-centred because I have to rush the students through the activities literally ‘leading them through’.

2. Classroom management: Teacher Talking Time (TTT)


My TTT is often too high. I tend to “echo” students’ answers and comment on them. Commented [DW15]: What effect does this have?

3. Teaching pronunciation
My range of pronunciation teaching techniques is very limited which results in me either avoiding teaching it or
doing it wrongly. Commented [DW16]: Why is this, do you think?

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Reflection and Action

Section C: Action plan


1. In order to deliver better lesson on pronunciation I intend to
 read extensively about teaching pronunciation techniques (English Phonetics and Phonology by Roach,
Sound Foundation by Underhill, Pronunciation by Dalton & Siedlhofer).
 integrate more pronunciation work into my lessons Commented [DW17]: Try to be as systematic about this as
possible e.g. try out one new technique a week, then keep a journal
 observe my colleagues and discuss their strategies and techniques. on how effective each one was, and how you’d adapt it for future
2. In order to allow time for students discussions thinking time and therefore make my lessons more student- lessons.

centred I intend to
 include discussion time in my lesson plans as a separate activity
 closely monitor how I allocate time for the activities and how realistic it is Commented [DW18]: Good – you could do a ‘before/after’
where you keep a log of how much time you planned for each
 ask my colleagues to observe my lessons focusing on timing and whether or not the students have activity, then record how long it took. This can all be appended at
enough time for discussions/thinking about their answers stage 4, with conclusions drawn in-text.

3. In order to reduce my TTT and avoid echoing the students I intend to


 ask my colleagues to observe me and record the amount of TTT and in what situations it is too
high/unnecessary Commented [DW19]: Good idea.

 read about different classroom strategies such as using gestures (e.g. Classroom Management
Techniques by J. Scrivener) and using more peer correction and peer teaching (e.g. Roles of Teachers &
Learners by Tony Wright).

Section D: Description of Data collection methods


1. Students surveys on pronunciation activities in class (Appendix 6)
I will design students’ questionnaires to and combine them with interviews to follow up on the questionnaires
(Burns, 1999) to see students’ reaction to learning pronunciation and which activities they found most useful. Commented [DW20]: OK, but see my suggestion above.
Remember to include your own reactions, as well as the learners’,
2. Developmental log (Appendix 7) at stage 4.
I will design and keep a developmental log to record my research and implementation of new techniques in the
classroom in a structured way and to be able to analyse it to see the progress (Wallace, 1998). I will also use it
to record lessons I observe and what I have learned from them. Commented [DW21]: Good – sounds useful.
3. Observation templates (Appendix 8 and 9)
I will design focused observation sheets to help the observers concentrate on the areas I need to improve, such
as TTT and teaching pronunciation.
4. Audio recordings (Appendix 10)
I will record my lesson and analyse my TTT. I will then record another lesson and compare the amount of TTT in
both to see if I have made improvement.

Section E: Word count and Bibliography


Section A: 266

Section B: 103

Section C: 195

Section D: 168

Total word count: 747 Commented [DW22]: Well done.

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Reflection and Action

Bibliography:
Burns, A 1999 Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers. CUP

Dalton, C & Siedlhofer, B 1994 Pronunciation. OUP

Hedge, T 2000 Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom. OUP

Lightbown, Patsy, M & Spada, N, 1999 How Languages are Learned, OUP

Nunan, D 1989 Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom, CUP

Oura, Gail K. n.d Authentic Task-Based Materials: Bringing the Real World Into the Classroom, retrieved from
http://www.jrc.sophia.ac.jp/kiyou/ki21/gaio.pdf on 16.06.2013

Roach, P 2001 English Phonetics and Phonology, CUP

Scrivener , J 2012 Classroom Management Techniques, CUP

Underhill, A 1994 Sound Foundation. Macmillan Heinemann

Wallace, M 1998 Action Research for Language Teachers. CUP

Wright, T 1987 Roles of Teachers & Learners, OUP

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Appendices
Appendix 1

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Appendix 2

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Appendix 3

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Appendix 4
Student’s survey on feedback (collated results)
Asked: two Pre-Intermediate 2 classes (29 students total)

Survey 1 (after delayed feedback session at the end of the lesson)


Question 1: Do you think feedback is useful? Tick a box and explain your answer briefly

23 students ticked ‘Yes’. Most frequent explanations were ’because I can see my mistakes’; ’ because I can correct my
mistakes’, ‘because the teacher explains why it is wrong’; because

6 students ticked ‘No’. Explanations: Because I forget when I made the mistake; because they are not my mistakes.

Question 2: Circle what types of feedback you think is most useful for you:

a) with the whole class – 9 students


b) individual (cards) - 8 students
c) teacher asking students to correct mistakes - 4 students
d) teacher explaining what’s wrong and how to correct it - 8 students

Survey 2 (after a speaking activity, immediate feedback both orally and giving students cards
with their mistakes)
Asked: two Pre-Intermediate 2 classes (27 students total – 2 were absent)

Question 1: Do you think feedback is useful? Tick a box and explain your answer briefly

19 students ticked ‘Yes’. Most frequent explanations were ‘because I can correct myself’; ‘because I can remember it’;
’because I know when I’m wrong’

8 students ticked ‘No’. Explanations: ‘Because I forget what to say next’; ‘because it’s difficult to remember when I
speak’.

Question 2: Circle what types of feedback you think is most useful for you:

a) with the whole class – 6 students


b) individual (cards) - 9 students
c) teacher asking students to correct mistakes - 5 students
d) teacher explaining what’s wrong and how to correct it - 7 students

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Appendix 5

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Appendix 6 Students’ survey


Activity _______________________________________________________________________________

Did you like it? ____________ (Yes/No) Was it useful? ____________ (Yes/No)

What was the most difficult for you? ________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Appendix 7 Developmental Log

Technique / Tried on ___ Goals Achieved? Students’ Comments


idea (date) with ___ /objectives Why? Why not? reaction
(class)

Appendix 8 Observation sheet (TTT)

date/class, lesson focus stage TTT comments (QTT or UTT)

Appendix 9 Observation Sheet (teaching pronunciation)

date, class, lesson focus activity/objectives achieved objectives? comments

Appendix 10Audio recording analysis

date, class, lesson focus stage TTT STT

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Appendix 11 Beliefs questionnaire

x
x
x

x
x

x
x

x
x
x

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x
x

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