Teaching Tip 4: Monitoring
- While students are doing an activity you walk slowly round the classroom and listen to their conversations.
- You can sit down too, if there are enough chairs, but try to sit in the background a bit or the students will direct their conversation to you.
- Look at one pair while actually listening to a different pair nearby. Correct the pair nearby (which will probably make them jump because they thought you were listening to the pair you were looking at) just to keep everyone on their toes – they never know when you’re listening to them so they can’t ever switch off or revert to their mother-tongue.
- Be ready to stop students monopolising conversations, to stop students falling out with each other and to offer encouragement and praise where appropriate. Listen and supervise.
- If you spend your life in the classroom sitting down, this is your chance to stop numb-bum syndrome – get up and wander round.
- Monitoring gives you the opportunity to hear how the students are coping with the activity and to make notes about pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar points that are causing difficulty. I see the role as one of listener/supervisor/facilitator/encourager – not as one of error corrector. However you can do the correction once the activity has finished because if you do that while they are working you can’t monitor the other students properly and by the time you get back to monitoring you find that everyone has reverted to their mother tongue.