Engage Your English Class

22 Februari 2016 | Dibaca : 785x | Oleh : Bambang Irawan
image1by Siti Suwarni - A Report of the Pearson Workshop Pearson Indonesia conducted a teacher training session on Saturday, February 20th, 2016 in Golden Flower Hotel. The participants were English teachers from many schools in Bandung. Al Ma’soem Elementary and Junior High School English teachers attended the workshop, too. Mr. Julius C. Martinez was a speaker and had given an amazing subject about how to engage the English class. As multidimensional concept, classroom engagement in an English class should receive the utmost understanding as well as applications by the parties involved. Teachers as classroom designers should be the first to engage in the preparation and execution of a teacher session. How to engage our English class? Mr. Julius opened the session by asking the participants to write as much as they could the using of rubber bands. It’s really a good opening activity to make sure the participants’ involvement. Then, he explained or reminded all teachers that there are four questions the students/learners usually ask to determine their involvement in the English class. Those questions are; How do I feel? Am I interested? Is this important? Can I do that? Moreover, he emphasized that to get the engagement of the students, the teacher should be able to apply effective strategies. What strategies could the teacher use to make the students feel positive in class? Feeling positive is an important thing. If the students do not feel positive in class, it means they will not engage. There are some aspects of learners’ emotions that affect their engagement. They are students’ energy levels, teacher’s personality, and students’ perceptions of acceptance by teachers and peers. The strategies can be used:
  1. Use effective pacing.
The teacher should know and understand the background of the students. She/he can explain and speak clearly, not too fast or not too slow.
  1. Incorporate physical movements.
The teacher should have a good gesture or body language while explaining, so the students can get information and train their concentration.
  1. Demonstrate intensity and enthusiasm.
In this case, the teacher should move around the class or never sit while teaching.
  1. Use humor.
In fact, not everybody has a good sense of humor and feels hard to create a good humor, they can just use some funny videos, short film or pictures from various resources.
  1. Build positive teacher-student and peer relationship.
image2What strategies could the teacher use to make the students interested in the lesson? Although the students have felt good, but the lesson is not interesting, they will still not engage. The teacher’s strategies to face this problem are:
  1. Use games or game-like activities
  2. Initiate friendly controversies
  3. Use unusual information
  4. Use effective questioning strategies
What strategies could the teacher use to make the lesson important to the students’ life? If the students believe that the English lesson is important, they are more ikely to remain engaged in the activity. The strategies can be used by the teacher are:
  1. Connect to students’ everyday lives.
  2. Connect to students’ ambitions.
  3. Ensure application of knowledge and skill.
What strategies could the teacher use to make the students realize that they can do well in class? Although the students realize that English is important, but they are unable to do the work, they are more likely to drop their engagement. So, the teacher strategies to handle the problem are:
  1. Track students’ progress.
  2. Use effective feedback.
In this case, the teacher should give compliment to the students’ progress not only saying good, but it’s better to add with others specific words/sentences; e.g.: Good! Your answer is complete, I like it; Wow awesome! You can answer clearly, and so on. Furthermore, Mr. Julius showed a video and asked the participants to analyze the strategies used by the teacher to engage her students. He also asked to suggest some improvements to increase students’ engagement. The participants discussed about the video in pair. Before the coffee break, the speaker asked all participants to make just one question which had three criteria, relevant, direct and challenging. And he will only choose five good questions. The people who made the chosen questions would be given a special prize. The session continued by answering the good chosen questions. One of the questions was how to handle the poor vocabulary, so that the students faced some difficulties to make a good writing. Mr. Julius gave one solution. It was suggesting the students to read more because reading and writing have close relationship. They can write well if they have enough vocabularies. Read and read more! Another challenging activity was the participants should choose one topic and determine strategies and activities appropriately. They did it in pair. To guide them, some sheets of teaching materials were distributed before. At last, Mr. Julius performed an interesting game as the closing of this training made the participants involved in an enthusiastic situation. So far, the teachers not only met other educators, but also learnt much and shared each other in this event. Pouring the professional into the process leads to optimizing learning tools for language learning as well as acquisition. These efforts bring the teachers can evaluate and then later improve the students’ achievement. “Always Learning” becomes a motto for all teachers.
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