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Be like a plant!

Observing a language class at the International Language Institute offers a unique window into the dynamic process of language learning and teaching.

To ensure your observation is both respectful and effective, we’ve compiled a list of DOs and DON’Ts. These guidelines are designed to help you navigate the classroom observation process thoughtfully without causing disruption in our students learning environment.

It’s important to remember that, often, observers are not introduced to the students to maintain the natural flow of the class and avoid influencing the learning environment.

Expect to be introduced Ask where to sit if you are not sure
Answer the teacher’s or students’ questionsBe as unobtrusive as possible – like a plant!
Talk or text on your cellCheck messages briefly if necessary
Eat foodSip a drink if you’d like
Wander around the classroomGet up to see when necessary
React out loud to what’s happening in the classroomPut your reaction in writing
Feel like you have to be a robot – it’s okay to smile or laugh at the right momentTell a student your name IF you are asked
Take photographs without permission
If the teacher asks you to pair with a student, then great!  Make sure not to dominate the conversation.  Let the student take the leading role and let the student do as much of the speaking as possible.

Choose 2 or 3 of the below points to reflect on while observing teachers.

  • How does the teacher introduce the lesson?
  • Does every learner talk? For how long? When do the learners talk to each other?
  • How many learners are participating in the activity? For what length of time?
  • How does the teacher correct learner errors?
  • How does the teacher make transitions from one activity to another?
  • What is the ratio of learner/teacher talking time?
  • What is the ratio of skills practiced: (listening/speaking/reading/writing)?
  • How much does the teacher check for learner comprehension?
  • How much native language is used? When?
  • What is the focus (goal) of the lesson?
  • How many different ways is the focus presented and/or practiced?
  • Does the teacher do feedback?
  • How does the teacher conclude the lesson?

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The ILI Promise

At ILI, we believe that all our actions should stem from grace and loving kindness.

  • We operate as an equal opportunity organization.
  • We nurture relationships beyond the classroom.
  • We are committed to providing the highest quality language instruction and teacher training.
  • We promote intercultural understanding and celebrates the diversity in our local communities.
  • We works collaboratively to build and sustain the communities we serve.
  • We believe in life-changing teaching and learning.