Last Friday, I gave a teacher training session on “Instructions in the Classroom”. I had been reading an awful lot about instructions and tried to plan a good training session for these two recently qualified CELTA teachers and it was the first time that I covered this area of classroom management. There was a good selection of blog posts that I had read recently about instruction giving and a highly invaluable blog post written by about preparing an instruction training session.
Here is a breakdown of what happened during the training session:
- I introduced the topic of the training session and the usual aims. I started off the session by giving my teachers some really bad, wordy and poorly designed instructions: “What I would like you to do is stand up … but not yet [they sit back down again] … you need a pen and you both need to go to this side of the room. Sorry … just one person to this side of the room and you sit down here! You need a piece of paper … do you have a piece of paper? On this err … this paper … just write down some … err ideas or things about err …” – you get the idea. I asked the teachers to make a list of good and bad instructions and work together. Hopefully, my really bad instructions inspired my teachers to create a good list.
- The teachers sat down together for about three minutes and noted down some ideas: “Eye contact with students”, “Gestures”, etc. I then showed some ideas that I had from my PowerPoint (please refer to this below).
- I then handed out some coursebook activities (roleplays, listening, speaking, etc) and asked the teachers to prepare their instructions for a minute. The teachers were recorded by my smartphone and then we listened to this playback and then they each gave each other peer feedback.
- After a few turns, I then gave each teacher an activity to prepare instructions on the spot with no prior preparation. This seemed to work quite well and the teachers were getting into giving instructions to a group of ghost students.
- The teachers were then asked to consider ICQs to supplement the instructions and for each activity given previously. The teachers prepared their ICQs and then peer feedback was given again.
- Next, I showed the teachers some advice regarding ICQs (“Always prepare a question where the answer is either x or y”, etc). They noted this down briefly.
- The following activity was looking at gestures in the classroom. I got the teachers to consider suitable gestures to include for common areas: “Listen to me!”, “Please repeat that”, etc. They were all standing up and they looked as if they were traffic cops or going through a dance routine.
- Finally, I handed out some additional reading and referred to some books to consider looking at in their free time. Reading included teacher training books as well as blog posts (links are provided below).
The PowerPoint slides are available to view via Slideshare (embedded below) and if you have any questions regarding this training session, please do not hesitate to contact me. Otherwise, you can ask a question in the comment’s section below.
Some of the following blog posts are incredibly helpful if you would like to check a bit more about instructions and ICQs. They were really helpful when I was preparing the training session and I also referred my teachers to these blog posts.
- Giving classroom instructions in English
- The cult of ICQs
- Revisiting ELT Mantras #1: Using CCQs and ICQs
- ICQs: making sure your students know what to do
- What are Instruction Check Questions?
- Here’s a blog post about task checking
- #ELTChat Summary: How do you design good ICQs and CCQs?