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16 Seiten, Note: 1
1. Introduction: Information about the institution and my internship
2. Description of my responsibilities and tasks during the internship
3. Description and analysis of a sample session
4. Critical reflection
4.1. Learning gain from the internship
4.2. Challenges encountered and solutions
7.1. Appendix A: Observation protocol
In the light of COVID-19 lockdown, I was compelled to work at two different institutions to complete the 60-hour internship. The first internship I conducted was at a Turkish university, Manisa Celal Bayar University, a public university in Manisa. The university offers their Bachelor (BA) students five-hour online English courses for four working days. Normally, there are 12 participants in a group, whose English language proficiency is at B level according to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Their ages are from 18 to 20 years old. The courses take place either in the morning or in the evening. In this internship, I worked as a teaching assistant from Monday to Thursday five hours per day in the first two weeks, and another two days in the third week. In total, I have conducted my internship at the Manisa Celal Bayar University for 50 hours in three weeks.
To gain insights into English teaching at German schools, I have stayed at a private school in Baden Württemberg, for two weeks to observe present English classroom. It is an international secondary school with students from worldwide. The school provides English sessions six days per week for learners in a range from fifth graders to twelfth graders. The higher graders have more sequence of English sessions than the lower graders, 2 or 3 sessions more. In each English session, there were 15-19 participants. On average, I have worked 10 hours each week at this school.
In these two internships not only have I observed both online and present sessions, but also developed materials with experienced instructors and taught a session.
The 50-hour internship at the Manisa Celal Bayar University consists of 40-hour of classroom observation, 5-hour of materials development, and 5-hour of teaching. In the first two weeks, my chief task was to observe the sessions on Microsoft Teams. Remarkably, working as a teaching assistant has enriched my task. I assisted in monitoring the students' engagement and in interacting with the students in the speaking activities in the virtual room. In the third week, I did not observe any sessions but developed materials for evaluating the students' learning outcome. In addition, I took over a five-hour session to employ the materials I developed for helping the students reinforce their knowledge.
Guided by the coursebook Focus 3 published by Pearson, the sessions in the first week aimed at developing the topics of health care and TV shows. Each session lasted five hours, including teaching grammar and training the four-skills. During the sessions, the instructor applied either drill method or deductive method to teaching grammar. To illustrate the semantics of the grammatical rules, the instructor requested the students to read short texts and to listen to the audio tape. In the writing activities, the tool, Miro, was utilized that the instructor could monitor the students' performance. In each session, there was a speaking activity, in which the students were separated in pairs or in groups for discussion in different virtual rooms.
In the second week, the sessions served for the preparation of their final exaim. The instructor played a role as a facilitator to support the students for recapitulating the learned vocabulary and grammar. In this revision week, the students were encouraged to practice their speaking skills in pairs and in groups as well.
My teaching session was responsible for deepening the students' knowledge of word formation, the tense forms of the verbs they learned, if clauses, and attributive clauses, and for organizing a speaking activity. In the first two hours of my teaching session, I applied peer- evaluation/teaching method to assess whether they answered the questions correctly. While to have learners practice if clauses and attributive clauses, I provided them several examples to notice the differentiations in the three types in if clauses and in the applications of interrogative pronouns. For the speaking activity, I chose the topic of reality shows for a group discussion. In the beginning of the activity, I have had the students refer to the argumentative sentences to express their thoughts. The teaching session ended with a 5-minute free talk activity.
Compared to the internship at the Turkish university, the internship has only the duration of 20 hours. My task was merely classroom observation. My observation at this school covered three different age groups: sixth grade, tenth grade, and eleventh grade. As far as I observed, the teaching tasks for the sixth graders concentrated on vocabulary and grammar. Most of the sessions I attended in this grade was practicing writing and reading comprehension, while the sessions in the tenth grade and in the eleventh grade developed much more complex tasks. In the sessions of the upper grade, most of the time was fulfilled with presentation activities and debate activities.
Interestingly, there was a topic highly akin to what I investigated for my master thesis in one of the sessions of tenth grade, which will be described in the next section.
Following Devo's (2014) “the 6P framework: purpose, predicate, perceived parties, participants, profiters, and products” (p. 18), I had talked with the instructor whose class I would observe before the actual observation began. The talk helped me collect the information (see Appendix A) about the participants' linguistic and cultural background and their age, and about the topic and the objectives of the lesson to “predicate” (Devo, 2014, p. 18) how the session would be like regarding teaching methods and pedagogical strategies. The step accelerated the filtering process of the literature for choosing optimal observation instruments/tools.
Along with the thought that the session would be an “active learning classroom” (Birdwell, 2016, p. 28) where participants were to conduct group discussion, I selected instruments/tools that are tailored for observing interactive activities, in particular, “verbal classroom interaction” (Evans, 1970, p. 3) to ensure a non-judgemental observation. The instruments/tools I utilized for the observation were “Flander's Interaction Analysis Category System (FIACS)” (Martin, 1997, p. 20) and “Active Learning Classroom Observation Tool (ALCOT)” (Birdwell et al., 2016, p. 28), which are also the analytical tools for this analysis. In addition, I employed Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol (TDOP) (TDOP, n. d.) to take notes of the instructor's and the participants' moves and behaviors during the session. This analysis aims at unfolding “how the instructor mobilized the class for the discussion” (inspired by Birdwell et al., 2016, p. 49) and “how participants reacted to the instructor's guidance” (inspired by Birdwell et al., 2016, p. 49) in a chrononicle order. Specifically, I focus on the efficacy of teaching methods and pedagocial strategies.
Determined by the topic, the instructor applied a student-centred approach and a problem-based learning (PBL) method that participants would be encouraged to explore the answers to an open question of the interrelateness of language and culture. In the session, the role of the instructor was merely “an organizer” (inspired by TDOP, n. d.) to guide the participants to independently gain the skills of critical thinking and communicative skills step by step. Not surprisingly, the session began with a warm-up activity, in which participants were asked to read an article by using the skills of skimming, scanning, and close reading. After the reading activity, the instructor asked a volunteer to summarize the text to entail the topic of the session. To internalize the concept of the topic, the instructor utilized a cast screen to play a video related to the article. The utility of the instructional technology increased participants' engagement that more volunteers showed the willingness to give a respons, as showed in Appendix A.
Strategically, the instructor asked the participants to raise their hands if they preferred the concept of the topic for proceeding to the next activity. Compared to directly jump into the group discussion activity, the instructor took the participants' “emotion and feelings”(inspired by FIACS) into account to leave sufficient time for the participants to be pyscologically prepared for the discussion. However, this move was a double-edged sword as the class supported the concept lopsidedly. Unexpectedly, the instructor was forced to “directly influence” (Evans, 1970, p. 21) the participants' preferences since he had intended to divide the class equally into four groups for the next activity. Consequently, some participants' pitiqued interests were undermined as they were reluctantly grouped into the negative teams for the debate.
During the group discussion activity, the classroom climate was polarized that all the members in the affirmative teams discussed intensively, while in the negative teams, some members either zoned out or kept silence. Alternatively, had had the instructor informed the participants his intention, the participants would not unpleasantly accept the arrangement. Additionally, the instructor seemed to be a strong practitioner of PBL that “self-directed learning” (Yew & Goh, 2016, p. 76) should be conducted without any instructional interference. He did not act as a “facilitator” (Tinzmann et al., 1990) in the 30 minutes of “collaborative learning” (Tinzmann et al., 1990) activity to foster the participants' critical thinking skills by offering suggestions for their argumentatives. In this regard, it can be argued that to realize the objective of training the participants' critical thinking skills was not supported by the instructor. Rather, it relied on the participants' own “responsibility” (Tinzmann et al., 1990) that was highly dependent on their motivation, attitude, and existing knowledge. During my observation, the demotivated participants shirked such a “responsibility” (Tinzmann et al., 1990), which reflected the limitation of pure PBL implementation.
Similar influence of the limitation could be seen in the debate activity. The instructor guided the class to the school garden in the rest 30 minutes of the session. He demanded the affirmative groups standing in a circle as an inner circle and the negative groups forming an outer circle to ensure every participant have a partner for the debate. Moreover, the instructor requested the outer circle to move in clockwise motion in every 3 minutes to avoid redundant discussion. The new environment and the innovative form of the activity refreshed the participants' motivation to various extend. Nearly 75% of the participants benefited from the new environment. However, the rest 25%, the negatively impacted participants performed hesitated and weakly argued in the debate.
Yet, the phenomeno changed as the instructor put a question to enquiry how many of them speak more than two languages and how they thought of the concept. At this time, the whole class has aspired to respons, including the poorly performed participants as they perceived to be integrated in the class again. The purpose of the question was to connect the topic with the participants' life experiences to raise their interests in investigating the interrelatedness of language and culture. The method the instructor applied can be identified as debriefing. According to Barwani (2014), the term touches on “reviewing or reflecting” (p. 157). In this case, the instructor successfully guided the participants to reflect the topic on the real situations in their daily life. Additionally, the instructor helped the participants to review “the knowledge [they] acquired” (Watkins, 2009, as cited in Barwani, 2014, p. 157) for proceeding the next “in-depth discussion” (Barwani, 2014, p. 157) in the upcoming session. Referring to the participants' reaction, the debriefing method helped highlight the core of the session that the participants' cognition of the relation of language and culture was positively affected.
All in all, it was an intriguing session. I have observed the implementations of several modern teaching methods and how the receivers reacted to the methods. In addition to the mentioned aspects, this sample session also provided me a meaningful insight into classroom management in present class.
The two internships have broadened my knowledge of teaching to a practical level. Particularly, I recongnized how different online teaching and face-to-face teaching can be. Among all the experiences I have gained, the teaching session impressed me the most.
The five weeks of experience as a trainee at the two institutions approached me to professional development. My knowledge of the implementation of teaching techniques was actualized both for online teaching and face-to-face teaching.
One of the crucial points in both contexts is associated with participants' engagement in a matter of how to draw participants' attention. As regards online teaching, instructors and participants are set in socially distanced classroom that the expressions hinging on emotions, eye gaze, and gesture can be hardly transferred through computer screens. The interactive performance between instructors and participants may be therefore weakened. Thus, some teaching techniques that can be otherwise successfully applied in face-to-face sessions cannot be effectively implemented in virtual classroom, such as drilling, retrieval practice, and so forth. The reason is that the mentioned techniques highly rely on active responses to maintain positive classroom climate. Otherwise, a second of silence may turn to instructors' monologue in the classroom, which disinterests participants. In the case of online teaching, the danger of silence is enlarged because participants perceive less compulsory connotation of the requests from instructors. Through my observation at the Manisa Celal Bayar University, one of the techniques to avoid such dilemma is to leave less pause as possible to have participants response to the questions. The technique help keep participants' attention, as well as reduce the danger of monologue in virtual classroom.
With face-to-face teaching, the salience of behavirol management comes to fore to avoid distractions in sessions. In contrast with online teaching, participants can form a mini society that all the social interactional features be seen in classroom. The pinpoint to promote freedom for encouraging participants to express on the one hand and to operate their behaviors for avoiding unnecessary distractions on the other hand is to set guidelines and routines beforehand. My experience has equipped me with several useful techniques of behavirol management, such as employing the theory of conditioning effect, regulating gesture signs (e.g., gesture sign for an inquiry or for a permission to leave the classroom for personal reasons), etc. These techniques help ensure full attention in the classroom to a large extent, which benefits the efficacy of the interactions between instructors and participants.
Strikingly, the most significant experience I gained is that I have learned time management for teaching through my own teaching session. It is also the aspect I will share in the next section.
The challenges I encountered in my internship were typically relatable to the symptoms that novice teachers may have, such as anxiety, nervousness, poor flexibility in time management. My anxiety emerged from the thoughts with technical obstacles that would hamper my teaching, such as a frozen screen, dysfunctions of my microphone or camera, disconnected internet. Identifying my anxiety has reminded me that I should seek for supports both technically and psychologically. Technically, I had borrowed my friend's computer before the class began. Psycologically, I asked my internship supervisor for help to take over the class if there would be any emergencies caused by the internet. The step lowered my anxiety that I was able to concentrate on the preparation for the class. To reduce my nervousness, I started my session with small talks with the participants to disvert my attention as a trainee who felt overwhelmingly being pushed to teach.
However, a relaxing start did not guarantee an effective class. The third challege at which I confronted arised from my unwise request. I had asked the participants to translate the vocabulary into Turkish before they worked on the exercise of filling in the blanks. My intention was to engage the participants with peer-evaluation and to demolish the barriers they may encounter to speed up the exercise. On the contrary, my request confused the participants as I was not able to give them feedbacks because of my missing knowledge of the Turkish language.