These observations were made in three collegiate ESL courses during the semester, a Writing Class, a Grammar Class and a Reading/Discussion Class.
This class was mainly teacher-centered. The teacher explained the agenda, reviewed a feedback survey, and then led the next activity which lasted about 1 hour. Even though she elicited student participation, she facilitated the discussions. As the class discussed each student's essay map on the overhead, she asked students to critique the quality. Sometimes she scaffolded the critiques to bring awareness to the main grammatical problems. The Attention Theories, including Krashen's Monitor theory and Bialystock's explicit knowledge concept, were prevalent in this class because the grammatical rules such as parallelism in writing were directly taught. As each student's work was presented, it became easier for them to recognize similar mistakes because they knew what to look for. The thought process was emphasized in this writing class, and I think the explicit knowledge benefited most students.
The teacher facilitated feedback in various ways. The teacher reviewed a survey that students completed last class. It helped the teacher know student opinions on the pace of the class, time spent on homework, and recommended changes. Also, she gave concise constructive feedback on each student's essay map as they were discussed as a class. The First Language and Attention Theories would advocate this frequency of feedback on their writing skills; these students would avoid fossilization of errors and practice correct forms if attention was brought to them (Horwitz, 2008). After the activity critiquing the essay maps, she asked if the students liked whole-class peer review or small-group peer review. The teacher valued student input and considered their opinions for planning future lessons. In this writing class, I learned how teacher-centered instruction, student input, scaffolding, and explicit feedback can help students improve their processing and writing skills.
Even though this class was mainly facilitated by the teacher, the students were engaged for the entire class period. Within each activity the students played an active role, whether they practiced grammar through conversation with a partner, corrected homework collaboratively, raced to finish an exercise with candy incentives, or offered answers and questions during the class discussion. The variety and large number of content-based activities kept the students' attention and challenged them to integrate grammar into writing, reading, listening, and speaking. It was clear that the teacher facilitated Content-Based Instruction because of its support of error correction during conversation, the use of negotiation of meaning, and the matching of content and language learning objectives (Horwitz, 2008).
I learned that differentiated instruction and a comfortable environment really keep students...