But deeper understanding can only occur with the ability to reflect: to review, to notice, and to think carefully about what had taken place.
This is true for our students and is certainly true for us teachers looking to improve our practice.
But how can we become more reflective teachers?
1. Formal Observations
Many schools have a Director of Studies observing a teacher when they are newly employed, and subsequently, once every 6 months or more. Such observations often have an evaluative function.
But before we consider how to tackle errors in the classroom, perhaps it might be helpful to first reflect on what we consider to be errors, and whether these ‘errors’ are worth spending our valuable classroom time on.
For this post, I’ve chosen to leave the linguistic distinction between the terms ‘error’ and ‘mistake’ at the door and deal simply with the concept of what we consider to be correct or incorrect English.
I was therefore very excited about the fact to discover that I could conduct a lesson purely by using the students as my resource. I was even more excited when I realized that without a prescribed coursebook, we were better able to focus on our students’ needs, interests and motivations and quickly became a convert to what I saw as a cutting edge method of teaching.
But when I started speaking to my Business English teaching colleagues, many of them simply said, “There’s nothing new about this. We’ve been doing this in our Business English classes for decades.”
I was 14 and studying at Raffles Girls Secondary School in Singapore. Our English Literature teacher had gone on maternity leave, and Mr Gregory had come to take her place for three months.