I have a high school class that I teach once every two weeks on a Saturday. It is my worst class in all my teaching environments... I was used to Communicative teaching at my regular school, so I thought that I could use that knid of teaching in this new environment.
However, the students sleep, or yell, or do their make up in the back, or even bring Mcdonalds into the class...The regular class teacher stays at the back doing nothing, or even contributes to the mayhem, and if that wasn't all, the school is in a lower socio-economic area of Osaka.
Unconsciously using the reflection process...
RIA - was my initial response...change whatever I could at the moment of teaching, and to respond to individual students...effective to an extent...but still I found it difficult.
* What is it about the class or my teaching that is causing this?
* What if I changed my material?
* Why are Ss not interested in the lesson?
* What if My methods didn't match the Ss?
* Is it because it's Saturday?
Later I started thinking about the detailed questions:
* What should I have done?
* What can I do next time?
The answers were not so clear...Should I wake Ss? Is ok to change from Ss centered to Teacher centered or do I persist with my method until they get used to it? Are there any other types of lessons I could implement?
* Why did I react in that way?
* What have I learned from this?
My initial reaction was of hopelessness. I started blaming the context: the school, the teachers, the fact that Ss had to come on Saturday, class size, student ability, the learning styles of the Ss not matching my own teaching style, and so on...
I learned that it was a combination of these things and more. Yes, my idea that Ss needed to be able to circulate, didn't quite match with the way they were being taught. In addition, I didn't have enough time with the Ss each time, and my activities got them doing things that they are not ready for yet.
I identified that modification to my objectives needed to be made, to include time for Ss to get used to a new teaching style.
I formulated a plan of action, that included both ROA and RIA (even though I didn't know that at the time) and also that included the Ss learning styles and the context that they were in.
In practical terms, I got them into countries (small groups to get them feeling more personalized learning and teaching). I developed their identities under these countries, and identified them as their countries.
I allowed for more written activities, and teacher centered discussions (at first), then as a bird started to wean them off teacher centered-ness, into more communicative learning...starting with pair-work, then to group work then finally circulation type activities.
It is still not perfect (far from it), but the students are starting to respond (it will be a long and slow process). I have a lot more thinking to do, and reflection about that thinking. Yet, the signs are positive...
Well that's a summary of where it stands today...the process of reflection continues.