From Lesson Planning to the Managing of Teaching & Learning

From Lesson Planning to the Managing
of Teaching & Learning: Teacher Talk
Desmond Thomas,
Do we plan classroom management?
“The concept of lesson planning has as many interpretations as
there are teachers. It can range from a rather hasty decision
on which bit of a textbook to do next, to a careful choosing of
language items and activities on the basis of a set of languageteaching principles….
Classroom management similarly means different things to
different people. Some regard it ‘simply’ as a matter of onthe-spot common sense and charisma. For others it is an
important aspect of planning and anticipation”
Susan Maclennan, Integrating lesson planning and class
management, ELT Journal 41/3 July 1987
Elements of EFL Classroom Management
1. Teacher talk: explanations, instructions, asking
questions, eliciting, giving feedback, modifying
2. Motivating and building rapport with students
3. Management of interaction patterns
4. Organizing the classroom layout
5. Monitoring of learning: group & individual
6. Managing technology
7. Managing learner behaviour (discipline)
Teacher talk 1: Asking questions
What’s this made of? ….. Anyone?
What’s this made of, Ben?
Ben. What’s this made of?
Ben. Stand up. What’s this made of?
What’s this made of? ……. Yes, Maria?
What’s this made of? It’s made of Ww ….
Elements: Control, attention, participation.
Adapted from Adrian Doff’s ‘Teach English’.
Teacher Talk 2: Instructions and Explanations
Decisions in regard to the administration of
medication despite the inability of irrational
patients voluntarily appearing in Trauma
Centres to provide legal consent rest with a
physician alone.
(Hospital notice quoted in ‘Style: Towards Clarity
and Grace’ by Joseph Williams)
Teacher Talk 3: Giving feedback
Encouraging and prompting
Indicating errors
Correcting errors
Teacher Talk 4: Modifying Language
You. Give me a pen
Can you give me a pen, please?
Would you mind giving me a pen or a pencil?
I hope you mind my disturbing you, but I just
wanted to ask you for the loan of a pen
• What I really need at this moment is some sort of
writing instrument and I’m wondering if anyone
can provide me with one, if it’s not too much
Richard Cullen’s Features of Teacher Talk
1. Referential questions vs display questions
(‘Why are you late?’ vs ‘Am I a girl?’)
2. Feedback on content vs feedback on form.
3. Echoing of responses (for the benefit of an
individual or the whole class)
4. Use of speech modifications (eg rephrasing)
5. Typical sequences such as IRF (Teacher
initiation – student response – teacher
feedback on response)
Cullen’s Teacher Talk Categories
Questioning & eliciting
Responding to students’ contributions
Presenting & explaining
Organizing & giving instructions
Evaluating & correcting
‘Sociating’ or establishing rapport
Are there equivalent Student Talk categories?
DT’s breakdown of ‘sociating’ skills
• Use of eye contact and body language
• Use of the voice
• Use of techniques to gain, keep and spread
attention such as – movement around the
class, visual aids, drama and mime, humour
• Use of students as learning resources
• Use of varied patterns of communication
(Examples: ‘reverse listening ‘, student talks)

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