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Often overlooked aspects of lesson obs in EFL. And hamsters
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9091
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi VietCanada

It is too late. The discussion has moved on. The polls showed how far from mainstream the anti-observation line is. Nowadays we just post cute videos to one another - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCAlEGw0YCA

best wishes from the Panopticon

Sasha
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Hi VietCanada

It is too late. The discussion has moved on. The polls showed how far from mainstream the anti-observation line is. Nowadays we just post cute videos to one another - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCAlEGw0YCA

best wishes from the Panopticon

Sasha


Aha! Just when I thought the day was a washout my favourite topic resurfaces.

I have to say, 'tis never too late, my good sir! Despite acknowledging a 'general' consensus on the forum that observations are 'generally' positively regarded, I concur wholeheartedly with VietCanada that in the darker depths of the TEFL industry they are often dubiously practiced. Granted, however, that to what extent this is the case is difficult or impossible to determine. But to me it's simply a logical conclusion based on the undoubtedly murky goings-on in TEFL's nether regions. Arguing about it any further is indeed flogging a dead horse because we don't have access to evidence.

Coming back to our little poll, I suspect it's hardly valid statistically. But, 20% of respondents' experience of observations was "mainly negative" and 13% were "50-50". That suggests there's a lot of room for improvement!

On that I declare the weekend open. Shall I start with Abbot Ale or a Proper Job? Very Happy
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9091
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whip! whip! Poll results which were negative could also reflect the limited knowledge and experience of those who posted without revealing an iota about the need for observations to improve.

But I agree, a sample poll on this or any forum is hardly going to yield anything of scientific value - I say this even though those results favoured my side all along.

Best stick with best practices in the absence of any other viable alternative. And that means observations. They are a fixture, like it or not.

Now, where's I put that link...? Oh here it is!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjoMQJf5vKI
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Best stick with best practices in the absence of any other viable alternative. And that means observations. They are a fixture, like it or not.


This is where we agree. Observations are not going to go away, and they do serve a positive function when well practiced. But they are not universally liked and as is clear following pages and pages of posts and horse flogging, the observation system still needs to be improved - at least in some quarters.

And on that note I'm definitely off for a pint. Proper Job it is.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9091
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers, Perilla! Hic! I recommend a pint of vodka.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJLwoCvlIwE
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 305

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, this horse is flogged. LOL Perhaps instead of silly videos we could see some videos of what are considered good teaching. Not outlier stuff just text book performance. This part of the world can be quite frustrating with regards to PD and in that regard in particular.

I'll bet a lot of people reading and/or lurking would really like or need to see a few examples of what constitutes passable, good and excellent teaching performances.

Can this be done? A few notes in accompaniment?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9390
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I agree, this horse is flogged. LOL Perhaps instead of silly videos we could see some videos of what are considered good teaching. Not outlier stuff just text book performance. This part of the world can be quite frustrating with regards to PD and in that regard in particular.

I'll bet a lot of people reading and/or lurking would really like or need to see a few examples of what constitutes passable, good and excellent teaching performances.

Can this be done? A few notes in accompaniment?



The problem with this sort of thing on the general forum is that what works well in my teaching context might not work at all in yours. As you point out, 'this part of the world can be quite frustrating with regards to PD....' but this doesn't apply much to 'my' part of the world.

I think you'd get better responses to such a request on the country forums, or at least the regional ones.

Quote:
I concur wholeheartedly with VietCanada that in the darker depths of the TEFL industry they are often dubiously practiced.


Perilla, I reckon that it's not just observations that are often done poorly in the darker depths of the TEFL industry. Surely the most practical advice is to develop the qualifications to move higher up the chain, where more aspects of ones' work are more likely to be done more professionally?

Succinctly put; if one is content to linger long-term at the bottom of the barrel.....probably one gets the conditions one has earned all around, including poorly-done observations.
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VietCanada



Joined: 30 Nov 2010
Posts: 305

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Quote:
I agree, this horse is flogged. LOL Perhaps instead of silly videos we could see some videos of what are considered good teaching. Not outlier stuff just text book performance. This part of the world can be quite frustrating with regards to PD and in that regard in particular.

I'll bet a lot of people reading and/or lurking would really like or need to see a few examples of what constitutes passable, good and excellent teaching performances.

Can this be done? A few notes in accompaniment?



The problem with this sort of thing on the general forum is that what works well in my teaching context might not work at all in yours. As you point out, 'this part of the world can be quite frustrating with regards to PD....' but this doesn't apply much to 'my' part of the world.

I think you'd get better responses to such a request on the country forums, or at least the regional ones.

Quote:
I concur wholeheartedly with VietCanada that in the darker depths of the TEFL industry they are often dubiously practiced.


Perilla, I reckon that it's not just observations that are often done poorly in the darker depths of the TEFL industry. Surely the most practical advice is to develop the qualifications to move higher up the chain, where more aspects of ones' work are more likely to be done more professionally?

Succinctly put; if one is content to linger long-term at the bottom of the barrel.....probably one gets the conditions one has earned all around, including poorly-done observations.


The industry in Asia is a challenge but it should not be simply accepted that this is the fault of the workers. This board of all places should be a source of information for all who enjoy teaching English.

Videos should be posted. Brief notes can indicate whatever is required to create perspective or whatever other info the poster feels is relevant. There are a lot of educated, experienced posters here. I'm sure they can ask follow up questions if/when needed.

Isn't helping teachers around the world a goal of this site? Gotta start somewhere. Maybe there should be a forum for videos of teaching. This is the 21st century. IT and the internet is part of the game today.

Its about the students not what one thinks about the teachers the schools hire.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9390
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The industry in Asia is a challenge but it should not be simply accepted that this is the fault of the workers.


By no means do I think it's the fault of the workers (by which I assume you mean teachers?). There are cultural and social factors in play, institutional norms, student expectations and motivations and goals, and a whole world of other things that impact classroom contexts.

Quote:
Videos should be posted. Brief notes can indicate whatever is required to create perspective or whatever other info the poster feels is relevant. There are a lot of educated, experienced posters here. I'm sure they can ask follow up questions if/when needed.

Isn't helping teachers around the world a goal of this site? Gotta start somewhere. Maybe there should be a forum for videos of teaching. This is the 21st century. IT and the internet is part of the game today.


As for posting videos, there are several good reasons that I think this is not a feasible notion.

Firstly, this is a function of full-on teacher training, for which people are generally paid. Posting what would amount to free training videos with explanatory notes is probably beyond what most of us would want to do for free.

Further, for example, posting a picture-perfect video of a lesson with German Phd students, whose English is at B2+ level and higher, and whose goal is to write a dissertation or position paper isn't going to be very applicable to someone teaching in an Asian university where students (apparently) expect to be entertained at least to some degree.

In fact, it might very well have little applicability for teachers in other European universities; approaches and methods are closely related to institutions.

That's why I'd maintain that it's more applicable to divide such advice by region, at least.

Next, there are quite a few of us long-timers here who choose to remain anonymous for a range of reasons.

Finally, in my case, I've got reams of video, but it would be breaking confidentiality regarding institution and students - not to mention my own personal details - if I were to post any of them here. In fact, I expect I'd be legally liable if someone from 'my' institution found such videos online.

Dunno how many others are in my situation, but I'm certainly not alone in this. Sure, I'd like to help out, but the level of assistance you're suggesting here is probably something a teacher should
1. choose for direct applicability to his/her teaching context and
2. expect to pay for (or expect his/her employer to pay for)
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Succinctly put; if one is content to linger long-term at the bottom of the barrel.....probably one gets the conditions one has earned all around, including poorly-done observations.
That is really an insulting thing to say, especially when you have admitted that you couldn't survive in Asia as a teacher. I think an apology is in order.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9390
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Glenski Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:18 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

spiral78 wrote:
Succinctly put; if one is content to linger long-term at the bottom of the barrel.....probably one gets the conditions one has earned all around, including poorly-done observations.
That is really an insulting thing to say, especially when you have admitted that you couldn't survive in Asia as a teacher. I think an apology is in order.


Perilla:
Quote:
But to me it's simply a logical conclusion based on the undoubtedly murky goings-on in TEFL's nether regions.


Shocked I was responding to Perilla's words above, and neither Perilla nor I equated 'bottom of the barrel' with Asia. Shocked

So far as I am concerned, 'bottom of the barrel' exists in all parts of the world, and is mostly inhabited by teachers without related qualifications. Teachers in such situations are more likely to endure poor conditions all round, including badly-conducted observations (to get back on topic).
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9091
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
spiral78 wrote:
Succinctly put; if one is content to linger long-term at the bottom of the barrel.....probably one gets the conditions one has earned all around, including poorly-done observations.
That is really an insulting thing to say, especially when you have admitted that you couldn't survive in Asia as a teacher. I think an apology is in order.


Not sure that I see any insult there, nor any need for an apology. That is, not from Spiral at least...
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9091
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For videos of good teaching practice, here is a good place to start:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DtEuf0wNck


"The Practice of English Language Teaching" by Jeremy Harmer. This clip is especially useful for those who confuse straight dictation with dictogloss.

Plenty more on Youtube.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9091
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here's my favourite clip, mainly because Laura is very easy on the eye. Not too many of us TEFLers that you can say that about : )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv_Ud2lq-Ww
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 783
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Succinctly put; if one is content to linger long-term at the bottom of the barrel.....probably one gets the conditions one has earned all around, including poorly-done observations.


I think that's a bit harsh. There are plenty of TEFLers who are not content to linger long-term in private language schools, but for various reasons have ended up doing just that. I know quite a few TEFLers in this category, and yes they will admit they should have tried harder to get out when they were younger, but this happened and that happened and suddenly they were 40-ish or whatever and still stuck in Happy English Language School. They shouldn't be penalised with lousy observations and low pay, and for that matter why should any TEFLers have to put up with crappy conditions? At the very least most have a university degree and a TEFL qualification, and that should deserve some level of recognition and respect.

Private sector TEFL should be better regulated to iron out poor working conditions (including bad observers/observations) and better compensate the more experienced TEFL troops. I know, pigs might fly, but hopefully in the course of time things will improve. If better conditions/regulations are imposed in the more developed countries it may eventually spread through the industry. Here's hoping.
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