After each Methodology class, I ask students to evaluate their classmatesÕ teaching. Each student is required to teach for twenty minutes, with their classmates playing the role of junior students.
I will first comment on Wang BaoqingÕs class. IÕll start with his good points as I see them.
In my opinion his teaching manner, pronunciation and intonation are sound. By teaching manner, I mean his way of putting something across to the students. His beginning is relaxed. He just talks about the studentsÕ weekend and their hobbies. This engages their interest.
Then he gently tells them what they will learn in the class. It is very natural, this coming to the middle part of the lesson. He then goes on to explain the simple present very clearly and slowly. Then he divides the students into small groups and asks them to make sentences. He uses Chinese to do this because it helps Junior students to understand. He asks them to make sentences using the new grammar point. This strengthens studentsÕ knowledge and use. I think he achieves his teaching aims. One was to make his students active, the other was to give them a chance to use the new knowledge.
Secondly, however, I would like to talk about his drawbacks. He speaks too much English. Although this is an English class, the students are young and if he doesnÕt explain in Chinese as well, then the point of the class will be lost and the children will lose heart. He is really speaking only to the brightest students and a good teacher should communicate with all students! He speaks too fast. I donÕt agree he gives his students snacks. It wastes time and also, some of the students didnÕt pay attention: they still had snacks. He must discipline the naughty students.
His teaching materials were not clear or legible. He must read it to the students as well as let them read it to themselves. Perhaps if they sit at the back they canÕt read the materials. During the class, he didnÕt correct the students at the time when they made mistakes. There are different ways to correct students. I think a teacher should usually correct a mistake immediately, but if the student is shy, then the teacher can tell the student after class. In addition, two students got up to give some feedback on the group work and he didnÕt ask them to sit down afterwards. They stood for a long time. This is not fair for the students because they will think they are wrong. It also makes the teacher appear inefficient. He only lets four students come to the blackboard to write. What must the other students do? And when the student asks about the plural of sheep, he cannot answer her. He just says, letÕs give it up. This is not the right way to influence the studentsÕ learning. It causes discord to the whole class. He should have said something else. Maybe he can find out the answer, or the student can find out the answer.
In conclusion, although he has a good beginning and middle, this class is not successful. There is no end, no homework, no chance for the teacher to evaluate the studentsÕ learning according to his lesson plan. However in the action plan he says he wants the students to be more active than before. I think he has achieved this, but he still has a long way to go to be a good teacher.
She doesnÕt mince words, does she? She makes every point I noted myself in the lesson. What a sterling example to the next generation sheÕs going to be. Her reference to the standards of judgement by which Wang Baoqing wants his own work to be judged is also very apposite. She is a very able and accomplished student. A joy to teach! I feel that this evaluation shows that at least this student has grasped some of the most significantly educational aspects of evaluation in this context. I particularly like the way she is able to think of the reasons why something should be one way or another. This strikes me as evidence of deep reflective ability.
What do I want to improve? How can I help my students speak more English in class?
Why am I concerned about this?
Some students do not speak English: they seem to want the teacher to talk but do not want to talk themselves. This makes me worry about teaching English because the only way you can learn to speak is by speaking. English is used for communication. Besides English has become an international language. If they cannot speak English fluently they will lose confidence in front of people and this will even have an effect on their study or activities in general. IÕm not only hope they can use pass examination with it but enjoy to speak it as well. I feel if they canÕt speak then itÕs my fault. China needs good English learners who can communicate with foreigners. Perhaps they donÕt understand about this. Perhaps they are too nervous to speak English. Maybe they donÕt know how to express themselves correctly.
How might I help my students speak more English in class?
I could talk to them about how important it is. I need to find out why they donÕt like speaking English. First, arranging duty-report in every class, so that each student has to speak at least once. Secondly I can encourage my students to imitate teacherÕs pronunciation and intonation and asking students to help their deskmates in this. Or asking them to read following the tapes. Fourthly, organizing suitable games and singing English songs. Students like to do this. Then, working more in pairs and groups in ordinary lessons, discussing what they like or dislike, what they have done at the weekend or what they will do and things like this. I can arrange some time at the end of a lesson every week in which deskmates have to do this activity. They can talk about what they like: itÕs up to them. Finally I will ask them to learn some very useful, everyday phrases, sentences and expressions. I will never give up on any student, however difficult he or she finds it to speak English. I will find something. I can ask the students what they want to do to speak. I will tell them not to be afraid of speaking English, in other words they should put their face in their pockets when they come to class, as Dr. Laidlaw says to us. The more mistakes they make in class, the more progress they can make in their studies. Failure is the springboard of success. IÕll try my best as well to make my class humorous and interesting for the students and remember they are the important ones in the class. I will try to understand my studentsÕ concerns and worries as Dr. Laidlaw tries to understand mine.
Who can help me and how?
My classmates and roommates can help me by giving me advice. My Methodology teachers, Dr. Laidlaw and Mr. Li can help me by listening to my class when I stand on the platform. I can learn from other experienced teachers, by talking to them and asking their advice for me. The students can help me by writing notes on my lessons and suggesting what is easy to understand or difficult. If I have a good condition I will learn from some useful books in the library or the internet in the college. I can communicate with international teachers around the world using this method.
How will I know that they like speaking English and that their oral English has improved?
They will enjoy answering questions. They will speak more English sentences correctly. They will enjoy working in pairs and in groups in English. Their duty report will become more and more interesting and less rote. They will become more active in class generally. They wonÕt sit silently all the time. I will feel happy if everyone tries to express themselves in English.
 Liang Ruixiu is a English Methodology student in Grade Three, Guyuan Teachers College. After she graduates from this college it is to be hoped that she will use her considerable skills to help young people learn English.
 2 VSO Programme Officers visited GTC at the beginning of this month. This is written about the class they witnessed. Wang Baoqing is a pseudonym.
 Liang Ruixiu, Grade Three, wrote an action plan recently. I am so impressed with it, I attach it here. I hope you find it as full of reflective ability as I do. This sustainability lark is a great motivator for me. I really feel that this is the most profound APs I have had. I love her idea about communicating with foreign teachers. Any offers? She shows an understanding of the partnerships possible in learning, the role of student-responsibility and a sense of vocation when she says she will never give up on a student.