Classroom communication

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How you communicate in the classroom is just as important as what you communicate. In the third post in a series of tips and advice for newly qualified teachers Chris Milnes looks at classroom communication

A needs analysis agreement

Put up a copy of what's been agreed as the result of the needs analysis - it's good to refer to and amend as the course progresses.

Make it matter

Find out about students' life outside the classroom and use it to tailor the lessons to their interests and experience. Students love it when you personalise examples using their or your own life.

Turn a mistake into 'gift card'

Students frequently make the same mistake, no matter how often you correct. Say 'that's clearly your favourite mistake', write it on a personalised correction card and keep the card on their desk. Tell them if they make the mistake again you won't correct it, you will just indicate the card. That way, they have 'ownership' of their mistake.

Your knowledge is finite

"I don't know, but I'll find out" is a valid answer as a teacher.

A little goes a long way

Make language more memorable by teaching it in collocations and chunks.

Don't forget the 'why'

Be clear when setting up tasks so that students understand the aims of the task.

Serious gaming

Never call an activity a game or if you do make sure the linguistic aim is explicit.

Sum up

Make sure that at the end of every single lesson that the students are aware what they have learned.

One-to-one groups

When everyone is working autonomously, give individual tutorials and take note of what is agreed.

Put the learner back into learning

Try a DOGME lesson, if you haven’t already. The thinking behind DOGME is that students learn when they feel involved in the subject. If you don’t know much about DOGME Scott Thornbury is a good place to start.