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Some ideas for maximizing student interaction

29 августа 2012
  • Encourage a friendly, relaxed learning environment. If there is a trusting, positive, supportive rapport amongst the learners and between learners and teacher, then there is a much better chance of useful interaction happening.
  • Ask questions rather than giving explanations.
  • When you want students to discuss something, ask ‘open’ questions (e.g. where, what, who, why, how, when questions that require a longer answer) rather than yes or no questions). For example, instead of ‘Is noise pollution a bad thing?’ (answer = yes or no) you could ask ‘What do you think about noise pollution?’
  • Allow time for students to listen, think, process their answer and speak.
  • Really listen to what they say. Let what they say really affect what you do next. Work on listening to the person, and the meaning, as well as to the language and the mistakes.
  • Allow thinking time without talking over it. Allow silence.
  • Increase opportunities for STT (Student Talking Time).
  • Use gestures to replace unnecessary teacher talk.
  • Allow students to finish their own sentences.
  • Make use of pairs and small groups to maximize opportunities for students to speak.
  • If possible, arrange seating so that students can all see each other and talk to each other (ie circles, squares and horseshoes rather than parallel rows).
  • Remember that the teacher doesn’t always need to be at the front of the class. Try out seating arrangement that allow the whole class to be the focus (eg teacher takes one seat in the circle).
  • Encourage interaction between students rather than only between student and teacher and teacher and student. Get student to ask questions, give the explanations, etc to each other rather than always to you. Use gestures and facial expressions to encourage them to speak and listen to each other.
  • Encourage co-operation rather than competition. In many activities (probably not in a test or exam) you may want to encourage students to copy ideas from others, or ‘cheat’. Although much of our own educational experience may suggest that this kind of co-operation is to be discouraged, it seems to me to be useful and positive – we learn from others and from working though our own mistakes. If this is true, then it means that the teacher can concentrate more on the process of learning than simply on a plunge towards the ‘right answers’.
  • Allow students to become more responsible for their own progress. Put them in situations where they need to make decisions for themselves.
  • If a student is speaking too quietly for you to hear, walk further away, rather than closer to them! (This sounds illogical – but if you can’t hear them, then it’s likely that the other students can’t either. Encourage the quiet speaker to speak louder so that the others can hear).

Jim Scrivener.Learning Teaching (Macmillan Heinemann)