Friday, November 9, 2007

Antofagasta Report

18 teachers of English from Antofagasta and one Teacher of English coming from Tal Tal met on Wednesday 7th November at Hotel Diego de Almagro in Antofagasta for the "Stand and Deliver" Workshop.

We started with a classroom set-up and then we moved the tables and everyone participated in a circle. It is was very notorious how different people participate when you have them looking at each other's back and when they look at each other's faces.

What problems do English teachers face in their Practice?

In Antofagasta we did an activity using rythm, were teacher had to follow a rythm using their hands and think about the problems they have in class and when in each turn teachers had to say one word that reflected one problem. The words or concepts where the teachers identified were:

Home problems,
Fear to speak,
Lack of vocabulary,
Big sizes classes,
Learning problems,
No time to practice,
Mixed ability classes,

The problems presented were the same in Melipilla. In the end they are similar not only throughout Chile but also throughout the world, therefore we need to look for solutions. Of course, there are problems that the teacher cannot work on, like home problems, but for the mixed ability classes and the large classes there are solutions if we use some of the drama techniques that Susan is teaching us. The activities we learned tackle most of the problems, but the teacher needs to develop drama skills.

The teacher as a model

In order to carry out different active activities, without having discipline problems, the teacher needs to reflect the following through his or her body language and voice. The teacher as a model should:

  • Have classroom presence. In other words, know exactly what you want your class to look like.

  • Raise Awareness of the role of the teacher

  • Make eye contact: as it immediately reflects that you’re interested.

  • Read faces and respond to them: are the students open to learn? Sometimes the students have problems, and they do not want to work.

  • Maintain attention by using the techniques actors use to maintain attention.

  • Energy… in drama you contain your energy. It is an art of self control: keeping and conveying.

  • Creating engagement and atmosphere through relationships. Making students want o stay in the classroom.

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