Presentation on theme: "GIVING INSTRUCTIONS An essentially simple activity can become impossible, not because the Ss couldn’t do it, but because they didn’t understand what."— Presentation transcript:
GIVING INSTRUCTIONS An essentially simple activity can become impossible, not because the Ss couldn’t do it, but because they didn’t understand what to do. Often Ss are judged to have failed when it is actually the T who failed to clarify what was required.
2 STEPS TOWARDS BETTER INSTRUCTIONS 1.Become aware of your own instruction-giving ( listen to yourself; record yourself; ask others to watch you and give feedback ). 2.For a while, pre-plan instruction : Analyze the instruction beforehand so as to include only the essential information in simple, clear language. Sequence the information in a sensible order. Use short sentences – one sentence for each key piece of information. Don’t say things that are visible or obvious ( eg I’m giving you a piece of paper ). Don’t give instructions that they don’t need to know at this point.
3 3.In class, separate instruction clearly from the other chit-chat, telling off, joking, etc that goes on : Create a silence beforehand, Make eye contact with as many Ss as possible Find an authoritative tone, make sure they are listening before you start. Use silence and gestures to pace the instructions and clarify the meaning. 4.Demonstrate rather than explain wherever possible. 5.Check that they have understood what to do : Don’t assume that everyone will automatically understand what you have said, Get concrete evidence from the Ss that they know what to do. Getting one or two Ss to tell you what they are going to do is one very simple way of doing this.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT CLEAR ? Students are distracted from the language point they’re supposed to be practicing. The inherent enjoyment in any good task activity will be ruined if the task doesn’t proceed smoothly. A lot of time is wasted ( i.e. stopping the activity : re- explaining ). Spending a little time on making things clear beforehand saves a lot of time in the long run. If an activity “fails”, the students will lose confidence both in themselves and in you as a teacher.
TIPS ON MAKING INSTRUCTIONS CLEAR Before giving instructions, remember to : Set the scene and get the students interested in what’s coming. Pre-teach any necessary vocabulary items. Clear up any problems of cultural content in the materials.
6 When giving instructions : 1.Adopt a step-by-step approach. 2.After each step, check that all students have understood. 3.If your checking is verbal, make sure that your question forces the students to show that they understand what they are supposed to do. They will always say “yes” if you ask “Is that clear?” or “Do you understand?”
7 4.Keep your instructions as short and simple as possible, except with the more advanced classes. 5.Don’t give the students information or instructions that are unnecessary for the performance of the task. 6.Decide the grouping. Two students in an open pair, or all students in closed pairs. 7.Make clear whether the students should be writing or not. If so, where they should write and what they should be writing : full sentences, notes, single word, ticks or crosses ? 8.Give a demonstration. A demo for a mini dialogue, for example, can be done in these following sequence : (a). Teacher talking to herself, (b). Teacher with a (capable) student,
8 8.Make clear who should start speaking in an activity. Also, emphasize the opening words of the activity so that the students can get started, i.e. the use of realistic, social language such as “Good morning, Madam. Can I help you ?” 9.Where possible, use gestures to reinforce verbal instructions. 10.Once the activity has started, go round and check early on that everyone is doing what they should be doing, a little encouragement may also be necessary at this stage. Then, the activity, keep checking for puzzled faces, students speaking B.Indonesia, students writing when they shouldn’t be, students not actually talking to each other, etc, and take appropriate action. 11.Be especially careful when introducing a new type of activity for the first time, e.g. mingle. Once the students have done this a couple of times, they’ll know what to do without the need for very explicit instructions.