How to Talk Less in the EFL Classroom
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It’s not often that talking in the English as a Foreign Language classroom is looked down on. During tests, presentations or listening lessons it is preferable for our students to be quiet, but those are about the only times we want to actively discourage our students from talking. But those are the students. What we need to talk about are the teachers. Teachers like to talk. It can be difficult to get them to stop and let the students have their say. The thing is, it’s not the teachers who need the practice speaking English! If you feel like you are guilty of dominating the airwaves in your EFL classroom, here are a few ways to talk less:
Take a breath
When you ask a question, introduce a topic or make a comment, take a breath before continuing. Allow some time for your students to process what you have said and formulate a response. You may find that if you pause between sentences a student will fill in the silence, so you don’t have to. It may take a few moments and you may find it uncomfortable but when you realise that your students are probably thinking and formulating language, then you may not find it so awkward.
Traditionally teachers have stood at the front of the classroom by the whiteboard. This immediately puts them at the centre of attention, because that’s where all the students will look if they are facing forward. If the teacher moves them self away from the front of the classroom and stands to the side or at the back of the class, this will automatically open up the channels of discussion for the students. In other words, they will not feel they need to wait for direction from the teacher and feel they have more opportunity to speak up.
Use sign language
It’s not always necessary to speak in order to communicate. Teachers can use signals and gestures to communicate with students instead of talking. Teachers can invite students to speak, signal the beginning and the end of an activity, and begin and close the lesson using hand signals and gestures. This reduces the amount of teacher talk time in the lesson and gives more space for the students to speak.
This one might seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t this the job of the teacher? Well, yes and no. Teachers need to ensure that the students understand linguistic concepts but this does not necessarily mean that they need to explain things. Instead, prompt the students so that those who do understand can explain to others who don’t or together they can try to come to the right explanation by thinking aloud.
These days there is a focus on creating a learner-centred classroom. Giving your students more opportunity to speak (and yourself less) is the first thing you need to do to give more power and autonomy to your students, which will only enrich their learning experience.
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LAST UPDATED: 27th August 2021
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- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.