Classroom Observation Unit
Fromthe observation of the ESL class described above, I noted importantissues in ESL learning and teaching. One of the most outstandingissues that I observed was that ESL teachers face a wide range ofcultures than regular teachers. I witnessed the particular teacherrespond to the cultural diversity by accommodating each student andculture. In the particular class, two Arab students from differenthad two unique pronunciation problems despite their common firstlanguage. From this, I learned that an ESL teacher ought to interactwith each individual student to specifically understand thepronunciation and phonetic challenges that each student faced and notjust grouping them by nationality or first language (Strobelberger,2012). This was very important for me to learn because I have notencountered such many cases of ESL learners sharing a mother tongue.For me, I made a mental note that as an ESL teacher, I need toapproach the class not as a single unit but as a grouping of manyunique individuals each with specific needs and facing uniquechallenges.
Activeinvolvement of students in the learning process was necessary andalso a good teaching strategy. By students participating in class, Isaw that the teacher could identify the challenges that studentsfaced instantly and set on assisting them on the spot. For instance,one student had a problem in pronouncing “sister” on the familytopic. The student was omitting the second “s” in the name sisterand the teacher sought to assist her specifically. I observed theenthusiasm when she learned how to pronounce the word. She even askedfor other words with a similar sound to practice on them. Suchinvolvement enabled the students to own the learning process and notjust be vessels being filled with information and knowledge. Reindersand Balcikanli (2011) supportthis strategy in teaching and says that it gives students feedbackand enables teachers to identify problematic areas and identifyrectifying materials or strategies.
Ibelieve this observation exercise made me a better teacher. Itreminded me that students are unique with unique challenges and thatI should always strive to enable learners feel valued and as activepartners in the learning process. I am very grateful for theopportunity.
Reinders,H., & Balcikanli, C. (2011) ‘Learning to foster autonomy: Therole of teacher
education materials Studies.’ Self-AccessLearning Journal2, (1) 15-25.
Strobelberger,K. (2012). ClassroomDiscourse in EFL teaching.London: Diplomica Verlag.