University of Toronto TEFL Online

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1 University of Toronto TEFL Online 403 (v41) Reflection Journal Submission - Unit 4 Name: RAHEEL KHAN Score: 100% Passmark: 100% Attempted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 Attempt Number: 3 Time Taken: 00:09:51 Locked: No Marking Required: No 2: Correct I confirm that the work I am about to submit is my own original work and any materials and sources used in its preparation have been acknowledged. Actual Given Agree Disagree 3: Correct Please copy-and-paste your thoughts from "What is a lesson? - Reflection Journal" into the space provided below. Consider and reflect upon the following questions: How much planning time would you require prior to teaching a lesson? Would you prefer to follow a lesson template or the course text? If so, how closely do you follow it? During the lesson often would you refer to your lesson plan? Once you ve taught the lesson, what would you do with your lesson plan? After evaluating a lesson s delivery model, I will suggest four stages to implement in order to increase effectiveness in lessons. These stages are: pre-planning of lessons, adding valuable information both from course textbooks and extra material from lesson templates, focusing on objectives and goals, reviewing and adjusting according to the needs of students. The purpose of this reflection journal is to elaborate in detail how to implement these steps to achieve success in this model. In the first phase, it is suggested that penalty of time is given by the teacher for pre-planning and preparation for lessons. In the second step, this model allows for combination of text-book contents and additional material that is relevant to the topic. In the third phase, a teacher is encouraged to link multiple concepts regarding the topic in such a way that all the information and discussions will emphasize the main idea presented in the lesson. As a result, it will not distract either students or teacher to go off topic from the lesson. The fourth phase recommends that a teacher keep up all records and notes of the lesson plan, so that in future if needed, they can be consulted and used as references for English-language teaching. In the first phase, pre-planning is an important component of lessons for EFL classes. A teacher needs to spend more time on the pre-planning phase of the lesson; it will guarantee that all activities are organized in an orderly manner; all such activities will be adequately discussed and defined in the lessons. In pre-planning there are other variable that should be considered such as the age group of the students, students knowledge levels, clear descriptions of all of the activities presented in the lessons, and allocation of adequate time for delivery. It should be taken into consideration in the preplanning phase that all of the aims, objectives, and goals of learning are satisfactorily presented in the lessons for an English-language class. The consideration of clarity should be taken account and especially address the content material used in lessons such that the material and delivery are easy for students to understand. This approach will help students to understand that the material presented is interesting and useful that the content is simple and clear, and that the lessons are not overloaded. The lessons presented are neatly organized so that a reader can read it and easily grasp the whole idea from the lesson and keep it in mind in one reading. All of these activities will help a teacher to Prepared by Litmos at 3/26/2014 8:50:47 AM 1 of 6

2 calculate how much time is required for preparation, and in this way, a teacher will be able to add additional activities in extra time left over after lessons. One more consideration that should be taken into account involves the cultural back-grounds and the first languages of students, especially - whether they are mono-lingual or bi-lingual. Gender considerations, cultural norms and traditions must be considered and must be factored into lesson content and approach before a teacher delivers lessons to a class. The second phase is the preparation stage of the lessons contents. There is no one absolute method available that provides a specific frame work for making lessons. There are significant variables and factors that should be taken into consideration when preparing lessons. For examples, there are the needs, demands, aims, objectives, and goals for the lessons must all accomplish. A combination of both the information from the course text-book and the extra material added in lessons templates would be appropriate for teaching a language class. It is not true that all course text books provide sufficient knowledge or that these text books have enough information to meet the needs and demands of English-language learners. Most text books follow a boring pattern which includes some major functions, grammar, and vocabulary. A lot of activities found in text books differ from real classroom situations, and they need to be adjusted to make them work in class. In this situation a teacher is advised to use those texts that fulfill the needs of students. One important learning objective is the development of vocabulary in language learners; practice of useful vocabulary cannot be neglected in teaching, and it is considered an essential component of EFL lessons. A teacher can add extra vocabulary, functions, and grammar that he /she feels are important for students. There are always different types of groups in class: some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are kinesthetic. A teacher also needs to take into considerations and use various tools like illustrations, figures, tables, diagrams, and images; this will help to reinforce the text. For auditory learners listening activities through audio or video is also important. A teacher can use audio devices, poems, or rhymes for practice in class. When a teacher provides feedback on important concepts, and important vocabulary presented in class, it increases learners understanding. For kinesthetic learners, a teacher can introduce role-play or performances, using scenarios as assignments. It is recommended to think from the view-point of language learners when delivering or preparing lessons. Phase three of this model will talk about how a teacher keeps his/her focus on the lessons, as they have been sketched out. In the delivery period sometimes when there are discussions, arguments, debates, or talks in the class and they go longer than estimated, it is difficult for both students and teachers to keep focus on the main points of lesson. It will be easier for a teacher to make a daily agenda on the black board or distributes handouts to the class. Outlining the important points will keep a teacher following what he/she is supposed to deliver and what he/she presented up to a certain point. Adding clear content in lessons will help the teacher to focus on lessons frame-works. It is recommended for a new course on first day of class, or after couple of lessons have been delivered, to collect and gathers data from the class by giving students small questionnaires in order to check their background knowledge. It will help a teacher readjust lessons contents and match it with students need and demands. In the class, a teacher will generally find that there are different levels of students: some students are very strong in a few areas, and some are weaker in other learning areas. Taking supportive steps for them by modifying lessons contents, allocating extra office hours to provide support or allotting time for targeted learning centers will help students to benefits from their strengths and learn from their weaknesses. The fourth phase would be conducting critical review and analysis of lessons; it is always beneficial to review contents of lessons delivered to a class, if all the information provided matches the needs and demands of the students, and if these contents need to be modified. A teacher is encouraged to take notes at the end of a class, jotting down some points for review and self-feedback. It is recommended for a teacher to note where changes are required in lessons. Although lessons plans are considered a guide for improvement and success in teaching, they are not a final document. Lessons will not work out some-times as a teacher expects, but neither teacher nor students should be discouraged. When teachers take a few minutes for reviewing and by assessing the less successful portions of, and the most success-full times in class, it will make it easier for these teachers to adjust lessons according to needs of the students. Teachers can ask students for feedback, peers can give observation, or teachers can tape your their own lecture videos and review them. In short, a lesson pre-planning and lesson delivery is important activities for effective lessons teaching. Taking into considerations cultural barriers, the aims of the lessons, goals and objectives of teaching will increase lessons effectiveness. It will not only activate the background knowledge of the students but it will also motivate them to learn. As well, it will increase involvement of students in classes. A teacher s focus on the lessons during lectures and review will help him/her to maintain focus on the subject topic. Review removes the flaws in lessons and aligns teaching with needs of students helping them to achieve academic goals. Prepared by Litmos at 3/26/2014 8:50:47 AM 2 of 6

3 4: Correct Please your completed lesson plan from "Making a plan" to Once that has been done, please click yes to proceed. Actual Given Yes No 5: Correct Please copy-and-paste your thoughts from "Teaching a Lesson 1 - Reflection Journal" into the space provided below. Choose a country or region where you are interested in teaching. Find out the cultural norms or issues relevant to the country. Some examples might pertain to: body language facial expressions use of gestures use of eye contact concept of personal space grouping speaking in class, asking questions parental involvement Prepared by Litmos at 3/26/2014 8:50:47 AM 3 of 6

4 After evaluation of the cultures and the norms, it is suggested that a language teacher try to understand the difference between the cultures and norms of a target region and his/her own home region. The purpose of this reflection journal is to explain all the major variables of nonverbal communication of Indian culture and compare it with North American culture. These major variables include eye contact, personal space, voice pitch, use of gestures and body movement, facial impressions, engaging behaviour, function of language and time. In fact, understanding of nonverbal communication is equally important as the delivery of lessons for a language class. It is a process of sending and receiving wordless cues between people, and it differs from culture to culture. The knowledge of cultures, and norms, and understanding of practices, actions, and cues is important for language teachers. Understanding of others cultures will encourage the development of an environment of friendship and openness both for educators and students. Individuals in language classes feel devalued when the class teacher or school does not pay attention to individual personal culture. If we want to create a rich learning environment, we need to create a friendly environment in which paying attention to individual culture is important. The first component of nonverbal communication is eye contact. In Indian culture, it is not appropriate to look into the eyes of an individual whom you do not know very well. Looking into others eyes is too intimate in Indian culture. In North American culture, avoiding eye contact is a problem and it is assumed to be ignorant behaviour. The concept of personal space is another variable that should be taken into consideration. Personal space is important when speaking with other persons. Close proximity conveys a message of friendship and sincerity in Indian culture. In North American culture it is not permitted for stranger to get to close; only intimate acquaintances are permitted to pass beyond a silent personal bubble. It North American culture, it causes discomfort and bad feeling if a stranger intrudes on your personal space. Another variable of nonverbal communication is voice pitch. Lower voice pitch is used in Indian culture. It is assumed that, when you are speaking with a teacher or with elders, you should lower the voice. Speaking loudly with others is a sign of disrespect in Indian culture. In North American culture speaking with low pitches is assumed to be a sign of low confidence in an individual. It conveys with low enthusiasm and low energy level. Use of gestures and body movement is another variable of nonverbal communication. Indian culture does not encourage a lot of body movement during verbal communication. Indians do not use gestures for emotional feeling; gesticulation is considered more appropriate and respectful for others. In North American culture individuals frequently use gestures and body movements during verbal communication. Facial expressions are another variable of nonverbal communication. Display of displeasure or hate through facial expressions considered an intimate behaviour. Facial expressions convey emotional feelings of individual, sometimes negative behaviour and confrontation. Smiling is encouraged to mask emotions. In North American culture it is also considered the same when it comes to feeling and expressions. Another component of nonverbal communication is engaging behaviour. It is not appropriate to interrupt the conversation of two individuals. It is considered aggressive and impolite behaviour when teachers and elders are talking. Interrupting is not acceptable in seniors conversation; children of Indian culture will be hesitant to respond verbally in class. In North American culture, giving verbal input or interrupting a conversation is occasionally acceptable and is more encouraged by others than it is in Indian culture. Time is another variable of nonverbal communication. Time is a commodity not a necessity in Indian culture. Individuals are not in a hurry during appointments and during regular routines, unless it is an important matter such as a family issue. Elders are considered to attend first as sign of warm welcome and strong relationship for the hosts. In North American culture, time is a precious and priceless commodity. Punctuality is always enforced in order for individuals to fulfill obligations and make timely appointments. The last variable of nonverbal communication is the function of language. Conversation is an enjoyable activity among the Indian population. Talking with family members and other community members is welcomed any time. Dialogues between sexes are not always allowed in Indian culture. In North American culture, conversation is some time considered a waste of time; conversation is direct and brief. Longer conversations are not welcomed in North American culture in informal situations. In short, successful integration of knowledge of nonverbal messages is a key component in multicultural education. Understanding cultural knowledge is the part of the responsibility of a teacher, and reduces prejudice. This sort of knowledge increases achievement of societal goals in the classroom. Awareness of cultures and norms will help teachers to create friendly, encouraging and welcoming environments for new language learners. Prepared by Litmos at 3/26/2014 8:50:47 AM 4 of 6

5 6: Correct Please copy-and-paste your thoughts from "Teaching a Lesson 2 - Reflection Journal" into the space provided below. What elements make up an effective lesson? How can lessons be planned and delivered to integrate language instruction and content especially for English language learners? What implications and considerations should teachers be aware of? After extensive examination of how to make up effective lessons, I have found that the most convincing arguments are three key elements. The first is setting up the learning objectives; the second is preparing teaching and learning activities for student. The third is evaluating the understanding of students regarding the contents taught. The purpose of this reflection journal is to explain the components of effective lessons and then give suggestions as to how to improve the effectiveness of lessons. Setting objectives is a very important task that must precede lesson delivery. There are two types of objectives that need to be considered: the content learning objectives and language learning objectives. Content learning objectives lead the acquisition of academic knowledge which creates the ability to understand complex concepts in such subjects as science and social studies. Language learning ability supports the development of oral communication in students. The second component of effective lessons involves teaching and learning activities. Teaching activities are related to the teacher, primarily how efficiently he/she is delivers lessons in language classes. Effective and sufficient learning activities will result, at the end of course, in students being able to meet both language communication challenges and academic knowledge goals. Clarity and richness of learning objectives increase motivation and interest in students. The third component of effective lessons is the closing and review of the lessons. This part assures that the content delivered to pupils is effectively conveyed, in such a way that they are now ready to meet performance tasks. Language learning objectives are the first component of effective lessons. These learning objectives can be categorized into more two groups: content learning objectives and language-communication objectives. Content-learning takes place when lessons use literature, science, physical education and arts performance. Content-learning objective leads to knowledge development. It takes a long time for students to acquire this sort of competence. It consists of the skills required to define concepts and ideas, and acquire knowledge and comprehension of learning material. Scaffolding techniques helps both the teacher and students to grasp important learning tasks. It helps to get insight academic content. Repetition and paraphrasing of the text contents also helps students to acquire content knowledge. Teachers can help the students to educate themselves by asking questions about particular tasks. Language-communication objectives include language development that helps the students to hone skills that include listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Language objectives prepare language learners to acquire language skills to such extent that a student will build knowledge to compare and contrast, and identify ideas and concepts in texts. This develops the ability to outline tasks and organized them. This also creates the ability among students to make short summaries of large texts. In fact, language communication is a verbal device and more figurative in the characteristics that include the interpretation of pictures, numbers, and graphs. Language and contents activities go together, they cannot be separated. Focus on these objectives leads to develop both in cognitive and social communicative abilities. The second key element of effective lessons includes learning and teaching activities. This has two components: Teaching activities and learning activities. A successful implementation of these activities in lessons leads to the achievement of language objectives. These activities help teachers to select, modify, and organize the teaching material which drives students to attain their goals and objectives. There are several considerations that should be taken into regard when planning the approach to be taken in lessons. Learning activities helps to activates students prior knowledge, including reading, writing, and verbal communication skills. It includes the students cultural backgrounds, their first language knowledge and their interest in learning a new language. The teaching component of the learning activities develops students knowledge in content areas which pertains to students for critical thinking abilities, and analysis of content, vocabulary development, and grammar learning. Teaching skills in language development includes note-taking skills, developing outlines of important concepts of the topic, oral presentation and paragraph-writing skills. Teaching activities lead students to gain the ability to analyze material content, evaluate material, and justify concepts. It teaches the students how to argue various the viewpoints both in writing and oral communication. Academic knowledge and its acquisition are highly dependent on teachers input. Academic knowledge cannot be gained through the social use of language. A lesson delivered in class with clear objectives and focused instructions leads to the achievement of particular goals. It is teachers responsibility to select material for teaching that helps students to achieve these goals. Thus, the primary goal of teachers is both to comprehend students knowledge level, and needs, and to know the material that should be taught in class. The third key element of effective lessons is the understanding of students and reviewing and readjusting lessons delivered in the class to match their needs. Assessment tools help teachers to understand what students have learned in class, and what skills they have built from learning. It checks that students now have a comprehensive understanding of various topics; it checks that students have built up the ability to obtain multiple concepts and main ideas from the content. Prepared by Litmos at 3/26/2014 8:50:47 AM 5 of 6

6 Teachers assessment also provides a detailed picture that students have obtained the skills necessary to abstract key ideas from topics. A teacher must also know that students are ready to express their knowledge both orally and in writing when asked. Teachers can evaluate the past and present knowledge levels of students by asking questions; this will stimulate students imagination and show the abilities and skills that students have developed from critical thinking exercises. Teachers can apply diagnostic approaches to gauge the understanding levels of all of their students by using games, grammar exercises, visual material and reading material for various tasks. Teachers can evaluate students understandings by questioning, taking oral interviews, encouraging mind-mapping and modeling brain-storming exercises. Teachers can evaluate the understanding of the students by obtaining the results of listening, and reading practices. The assessment tools go with peer evaluation, self-evaluation, and teacher evaluations. It illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of students in content and language areas. Assessment goes through the performance reports, portfolio presentation, written reports, role playing activates and completion of the research papers. In short, the effectiveness of a lesson can be gauged from learning and teaching activities; assessment of these factors will guide us as how effectively to reach goals and objectives. This process of evaluation will permit teachers to learn about students understanding of content, as well as the verbal communication knowledge that they developed over the time. Prepared by Litmos at 3/26/2014 8:50:47 AM 6 of 6

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