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  1. #1
    STCrowley's Avatar
    STCrowley is offline Newbie
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    Uneven Speaking Time

    I have a bit of an unusual challenge now in two of my classrooms. I teach German adults, and they tend to be a bit shy about making mistakes in the classroom. Particularly in front of their co-workers. So, I work hard to create an atmosphere where it's okay to have fun with the language and make an occasional mistake. (Sometimes more than occasionally.)

    Here's the thing: I guess I've had uneven success. I have two groups in which one of the students is just naturally much more gregarious than the others, and so these students are the first to answer any open question, and they feel free to jump into conversations between other students.

    Actually, I don't want to shut these students up. Ideally, I'd like to bring the others up to a 'competitive' level of communication, because I sense that's how they speak in German.

    The thing is, I don't have any good ideas of how to manage student talking time without losing my 'atmosphere' and turning it into a rote exercise "What do you think, John? Susan?" The conversation shouldn't need to be mediated by me. . . I don't think.

    What do you guys think?

    I did a quick search of the forums before posting this, but if anyone has seen this discussed somewhere else, I'd be grateful for a link.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Uneven Speaking Time

    Do you know how the others feel about it?

  3. #3
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    Amela_Ze is offline Newbie
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    Re: Uneven Speaking Time

    Maybe you should try to explain them that there is nothing wrong with making mistakes during the communication among them, speech, grammar and everything else that it's got something to do with English language.
    Are you a strict teacher? Maybe they are scared.

  4. #4
    I'm With Stupid's Avatar
    I'm With Stupid is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Uneven Speaking Time

    Make the gobby ones the chairman of the discussion and give them explicit instructions to ensure that everyone's opinion gets heard. Preteach some basic "And what do you think?" phrases that they can use.

  5. #5
    sana618 is offline Newbie
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    Re: Uneven Speaking Time

    First of all I don't think it is a good idea to make an occasional mistake or even more than occasionally. Sometimes students be it kids or adults who are under average tend to make the same mistakes that we make even it is to teach something, others get the impression that we have not prepared properly for the class, and those who are very intelligent start thinking that they are much smarter then their teacher.
    I think that if you start a conversation lesson and in advance telling them that you are deliberately going to make some mistakes and it is up to them to point out your mistakes. Tell them that it is a sort of test where they themselves will realize how much they know from your lessons. This will make even the most shy student to answer.

  6. #6
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    Re: Uneven Speaking Time

    Quote Originally Posted by sana618 View Post
    First of all I don't think it is a good idea to make an occasional mistake or even more than occasionally.
    If students have every mistake picked up every time, they will soon become very reluctant to speak at all. Opinions differ as to exactly how much correction should be done, and when and by whom it should be done, but I don't think you'll find many teachers who would agree with you on the sentence I have quoted.

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