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(VIDEO) Demo Lesson: Elementary Level Speaking/Pronunciation/Vocabulary Focus

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I like the way Bill teaches stress and intonation. His discussion of "rising" and "falling" is a great tool and his use of whistling and hand gestures is great. Makes for a very engaging and dynamic lesson.
I am new to ESL, but I get the sense that you have to be really particular about what you ask your students to do in pairs. In this case, I like how Bill asked his students specifically to come up with adjectives as an activity. Adjectives do not seem like too much to ask for in that situation. I also feel that it was appropriate to the language level and served to help the students experiment with other words.

Another part of Bill's teaching style that I find intriguing is the positive passion/emotion that he puts into his presentation. Even when he is talking about negative words or phrases he is able to maintain a sense of lighthearted humor in his projection. I consider any sort of teaching a performance, and like in any performance you have to be entertaining to maintain someone's attention. Bill's positivity is attractive, and that is part of what I think keeps his students listening.
I was impressed not only by Bill's infectious energy, but by his to instruct with simple, precise English to match the English level of his learners. I would be tempted to prompt student modeling with an unsuitably complex request such as "OK. Now I would like you to try...." Bill merely says, "Speak!" Bill is master and commander of his classroom.
I really loved how expressive and visual Bill was as he taught. His body language, use of visual aids, and even the way he called on the students (he pointed at them with a forceful stab in their direction :)), all grabbed me and helped me see exactly what he was saying. I could tell that each of his students was engaged and understood what he was saying. The positive/negative faces were stupendous (definitely a 1). Bill clearly succeeds at engaging as many of the senses as he can during his lessons.


Bill was positive, smiling a lot, and definitely excited. He was having fun, and I think because he was having fun his students were learning. Also, when a teacher is having fun and being mildly (but not distractingly) goofy, their students are not as afraid to make mistakes. When the students are not afraid of making mistakes, their efforts will grow, as will their ability to speak English.

I think the quality of Bill's teaching is seen through his students' responses on this video. I'll be watching this and videos like it for a while to come.

Thanks Bill!
Hi, Greg.

The success of Bill's lesson was he was engaging to watch and drew the students' interest in to the activity. I think your comment about him having FUN is so true. I try to keep in mind when I am teaching that if I am not having fun, there is no way the kids are having fun. I agree that the teacher should not be a horse and pony show....but they need to show true joy in what they do to keep the engagement.

Best,

Alan
As small as it may have seemed, the first time Bill whistled to show intonation and cadence, I thought it was brilliant (no pun intended). Too often you see stress symbols used or the sentence itself repeated multiple times in an effort to illustrate this. By whistling, Bill made the sentence "sing-songy" which was much more effective.

Likewise, I also took note of his unobtrusive "correction" style. For example, although you initially hear students saying "I went to cinema," omitting an article before cinema, Bill is not focused on this. It made me realize how different this was from my language class experiences, a factor that plays a huge part in why most students who took a foreign language "throughout high-school" can't speak much of it fluently. Overall sentence connotation, especially in a beginner class, is more important than fine tuning sentence structure, etc.
I think that's a good point about the way Bill corrected grammar mistakes - mostly he didn't. I didn't even notice while I was watching the video that he didn't say anything, I just noticed that the students ended up fixing their mistakes themselves, which seems like it would be much more beneficial and rewarding for them than being stopped and corrected constantly.
Bill certainly is a dynamic and energized individual which certainly rubs off on his students. When a teacher has that kind of energy level and passion it is quickly transferred to the classroom. I wonder what he eats for breakfast…

His visual aids were also very interesting as was the use of sound in general. By utilizing class interaction and ensuring participation was high, his students will learn quicker and retain the information longer. I’m sure there is a lesson in there for all of us!
I would definitely agree with what Micky said about his whistling for stress and intonation. He also shows how you can re-enforce just about anything you could want to say with hand gestures. I do feel as though he went a bit fast (especially for an elementary class) but the sentences and ideas were short and clear.
There were three elements to this lesson which I found to be successful.

First, his use of time was very good. He gave very specific goals, and assigned them to specific time frames ("15 seconds with your partner," "One minute with your partner...").

Second, he gave many opportunities for student success. He demonstrated with his voice, his whistle, his hand and a visual on the board the pronunciation.

Finally, he reinforced the new concept with similar words/synonyms (i.e. Brilliant/Good; Awful/Brilliant, etc.).
I liked how Bill, when asking his students to compose the first sentence, gave them the structure with "duh duh duh duh duh duh," clueing them in to the need for the article: "did you go to the cinema?" Just one of the little things that reinforce the peculiarities of English and help it stick to the student's memory. This in addition to his infectious enthusiasm. Watching him teach is genuinely fun, even as a native speaker.
I like that he reinforces repetition and that he constantly has them repeat after him. He uses humor and is very upbeat and quick, which keeps the lesson interesting. He also uses surprisingly few words to describe what he wants and instead whistles where he wants them to fill in the blank. I would think that beginners would appreciate a lesson such as this.

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