Teaching is Decision-Making

Teaching is Decision-Making

Teaching is a series of decisions we make to help students learn. Some decisions are made by the syllabus or school, but the majority are made by us, the teachers.

We make a huge number of decisions every day, with some researchers reporting that teachers make 0.7 decisions per minute during interactive teaching (Borko et al, 1990). N

o wonder we’re tired at the end of the day!

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The Four Types of Classroom Context

The Four Types of Classroom Context

Don’t fall into the trap of always choosing a realistic context.

Yes, it’s easier to pick (you just think about a situation from real life), but it gets boring for you and your students.

 I have a friend who describes this as the ‘tyranny of context’, and he’s not wrong.

 I would argue that there are four kinds of context. Imaginary, implied, realistic and real.

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Task Design for TEFL

Task Design for TEFL

One area that often gets left out of planning is task design. With everything else that we need to focus on when we plan, designing a task is almost an afterthought. Often we look for any activity or game that’s loosely related to the lesson aim, and go with that.

Tasks are often overlooked when planning, but creating effective tasks is essential.

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Lesson Plan Aims

Lesson Plan Aims

Without lesson aims you might as well give up and go home, because you suck.

Yet for an embarrassingly long time, I didn’t write any aims for my lesson plans. Sure, I learned all about them on my TEFL course. Yeah, they made sense. But I was busy, and had been told to follow the course book (“two pages of the class book every lesson in class, and one page from the student’s book for homework!”). Surely my aims had just been set for me, for every class?

Oops.

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Lesson Methodology

Lesson Methodology

There is no one ‘best’ lesson methodology for teaching English.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any methodology at all. If you leap out from behind the photocopier, grab a teacher and demand they explain their activity selection and sequencing, they usually can’t (but they do sometimes question your sanity for hiding behind photocopiers).

They claim to use an ‘eclectic’ or a ‘post-methods approach’. What rubbish (mostly).

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Using Supplementary Materials Effectively

Using Supplementary Materials Effectively

Most of us suck at using supplementary materials effectively. From the teacher that staggers into class with a mountain of handouts, to the teacher that wanders in with nothing at all, I’ve seen (and done!) it all.

What I mostly see now is teachers using materials reactively, rather than proactively. What do I mean?

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