Our general observation is that students are not satisfied attending lessons to listen to someone talk. After all, they can do that at home for free:-) A 50-50 balance of SST (Student Speaking Time) and TST (Teacher Speaking Time) should be a standard and we should try to shift that balance towards 70-30.
Here are some solutions:
- Don’t talk about yourself. This may be hard to resist because you know so many funny anecdotes and your English is perfect – they can learn from it, right? „Asides” can be helpful if they provide context for new vocabulary or a grammar structure.
But in most cases these throw-in stories don’t help but reduce SST and boost TST. In discussions make sure students are central figure, not you. If they want to know about you, they’ll ask.
- Take yourself out of activities. Monitor students’ work. Let them deal with any communication problems they might have and give feedback afterwards. Note down the corrections as well as what they said very well.
- Have your students read instructions instead of you.
- Keep your instructions short. Ask students if they understand what their task is and if you see they are not sure, encourage them to re-tell your instructions.
- Maximise pair and group work. In one-to-one classes you have to practice with a student. In groups have your students work in pairs as much as possible. This boosts
SST and allows students to learn from each other. Monitor group work and remind Ss to use English.
- Include peer correction. After students have finished filling in their gaps, ask them to compare their versions with their colleagues. Ask them to switch chairs and change partners from time to time. Give your key to a chosen student and let them monitor correction. Explain the difficulties if necessary.
All of these tips are meant to help you make the best of the class, now go forth and be the best teacher you can be!