Communication in the ClassroomA 5 -Lesson Unit on the Process of Communication in the Classroom Environment
Tokoha Gakuen University (Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan)
This was originally a poster presentation at the Japan Association of Language Teaching (JALT) conference in Nagoya (November 3 - 5, 1995).
- Lesson 1: Communication in Classrooms
- Lesson 2: Classrooms in the US and Japan
- Lesson 3: Culture Gap in Japanese University Classrooms
- Lesson 4: How to minimize classroom culture differences in Japanese university classes
- Lesson 5: Practice asking questions in class
INTRODUCTIONThe materials you see in this poster were used in an EFL course for Japanese university freshmen. With total freedom in designing and executing the course, I chose to make it a content-based class on the process of communication. One of the units in the course focused on communication in the classroom environment. The major objectives of this unit were:
- encourage students to observe the process of communication in their classes with special attention paid to student (including their own) and teacher behaviors
- stimulate awareness of cultural influences on classroom interaction
- raise understanding of what non-Japanese teachers may be expecting in terms of classroom interaction
- promote consideration of how to overcome cultural differences in classroom interaction styles
SYLLABUS OF UNIT ON CLASSROOM CULTURE
Lesson 1: Communication in Classrooms
- Introduce the idea of "classroom culture" as described in Andersen & Powell (1982)
- Group task: Complete Survey of Classroom Interaction (1). Indicate frequencies for High school classes, university classes taught by Japanese, university classes taught by non-Japanese
SURVEY OF CLASSROOM INTERACTION
(Editor's Note: I added in hypens to get Netscape to display the table correctly.)
|1. The teacher asked the class questions.||-||-||-||-||-|
|2. Students volunteered to answer the teacher's questions.<||-||-||-||-||-|
|3. Students say their opinions freely in class.||-||-||-||-||-|
|4. Teachers ask students to express their opinions.||-||-||-||-||-|
|5. Students speak only when the teacher calls on them.||-||-||-||-||-|
|6. Students tell the teacher in class when they don't understand.||-||-||-||-||-|
|7. Students listen quietly when the teacher talks.||-||-||-||-||-|
|8. Students listen quietly when classmates talk.||-||-||-||-||-|
|9. Students speak loud enough for the whole class to hear.||-||-||-||-||-|
|10. Students consult with classmates before answering teacher.||-||-||-||-||-|
|11. Students are afraid to make mistakes.||-||-||-||-||-|
|12. Teachers encourage students to risk making mistakes.||-||-||-||-||-|
|13. Teachers give homework.||-||-||-||-||-|
|14. Students do homework as directed.||-||-||-||-||-|
|15. Students are over 15 minutes late for class.||-||-||-||-||-|
|16. Students ask teacher for help.||-||-||-||-||-|
|17. Students ask for the teacher's opinions in class.||-||-||-||-||-|
|18. Students look at the teacher when s/he speaks.||-||-||-||-||-|
|19. Students want to sit in the front rows of the room.||-||-||-||-||-|
|20. Teachers ask students to discuss in groups.||-||-||-||-||-|
|21. Students sleep in class.||-||-||-||-||-|
|22. Students copy answers from others during tests.||-||-||-||-||-|
|23. Teacher tries to use humor in class.||-||-||-||-||-|
|24. Teacher looks at the students when talking.||-||-||-||-||-|
|25. Teachers are easy to talk to after class.||-||-||-||-||-|
HOMEWORK: Complete Classroom Behavior Record and Evaluation Form (2)
CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR RECORD AND EVALUATION FORM
*LOOK AT THE TEACHER DURING LECTURES AND DISCUSSIONWas it easy for you to look at the teacher when s/he spoke? If no, why not?
Do you think it is good or bad to look at the teacher during lectures? Why?
*TAKE NOTESWere your notes helpful or not? Why?
*ASK RELEVANT QUESTIONSHow did you feel when you asked the teacher a question?
How did the teacher respond?
Are you glad that you asked questions? Why or why not?
*VOLUNTEER TO ANSWER QUESTIONSHow did you feel when you did this?
How did the teacher react to your volunteered answer?
Are you glad you volunteered answers? Why or why not?
*FOLLOW DIRECTIONSWere you successful in following the teacher's directions correctly? If not, why not?
*PAY ATTENTION IN CLASSWhy it was difficult or easy to pay attention?
*TALK WITH THE TEACHER BEFORE THE LECTURE, AFTER THE LECTURE, OR AFTER CLASSWhen did you talk to the teacher?
How did you feel while you were talking with the teacher?
Are you glad that you talked with the teacher? Why or why not?
**WHICH BEHAVIORS DID YOU DO WELL?
**WHICH DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD TRY TO IMPROVE?
**WHICH ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT TO DO AND WHY?
Lesson 2: Classrooms in the US and Japan
- Survey responses on Classroom Behavior Record and
Call on individuals to share some of their responses
- Ask class to describe what happens in a "good" classroom
in Japan. Write descriptors on the board.
- Describe to class what happens in a "good" classroom in America based on personal experience, common knowledge and Berko, et al (1989, pp. 49-52).
- Group work: Compare frequencies checked on Survey of Classroom Interaction with other group members. Discuss similarities, differences, patterns, reasons.
Lesson 3: Culture Gap in Japanese University ClassroomsDistribute hand-out of survey summary and tables.(3)
- Describe survey of preferences and observations of non-Japanese teaching EFL in Japanese universities.
- Review results of the survey; explain statistics and how to interpret them.
- Group work: Collectively attempt to understand data; exchange impressions, comment on the results.
Teacher Preferences of Student Behavior in Japanese EFL ClassesCatherine Sasaki
Tokoha Gakuen University
The immediate purpose of this investigation was to gain a better understanding of student behavior in Japanese college-level EFL classes and NS (native-speaker)-teacher preferences of student behavior. Survey data was collected from 82 NS teachers at colleges in Japan. Respondents marked preferred and perceived frequencies for 25 student behaviors in their EFL classes, and were requested to add descriptions of desirable and undesirable classroom behaviors.
A t-test was used to compare paired scores of teacher-preferred frequencies (TP) and frequencies teachers perceived occurring in their classes (CB). TP and CB were found to be significantly different (p < .05) on all survey items.
|Interacting with Teacher||
|Interacting with classmates||General Classroom Behavior||
43 respondents entered descriptions of undesirable behaviors. There was more agreement among these responses than there was for desirable behaviors. Descriptions are listed below followed by the number of respondents who provided each.
|Description of behavior||# of resp.|
|Sleeping in class||20|
|Doing homework for other classes or homework which should have been completed for the present class||9|
|Speaking Japanese during practice time for speaking English||7|
|Copying homework, answers on tests||7|
|Not listening, talking with classmates when the teacher is talking||3|
|Reading comic books, magazines||3|
|Not doing homework||3|
|Not bringing paper, pencil, dictionaries, to class||2|
|Coeds doing makeup and grooming themselves and others||2|
Means for CB and TP (N=82)
TP= Frequency preferred by NS-teachers
CB= Frequency perceived by NS-teachers of their students
5 = Always
4 = Usually
3 = Sometimes
2 = Rarely
1 = Never
|Speak audibly in English||4.79||3.29|
|Try to use English as much as possible||4.72||2.53|
|Seek clarification from teacher||4.71||2.4|
|Do assigned homework||4.64||3.41|
|Listen quietly to classmates||4.63||3.1|
|Verbally indicate not understanding||4.53||2.35|
|Take risks, be unafraid to make mistakes||4.5||2.53|
|Volunteer to answer teacher's questions||4.5||2.1|
|Readily volunteer to share opinions||4.41||1.84|
|Listen quietly when teacher speaks||4.4||3.8|
|Initiate interaction with teacher in English||4.37||2.68|
|Ask teacher for help||4.35||2.74|
|Respond to teacher spontaneously||4.27||2.53|
|Make needs in classroom clear||4.2||1.9|
|Independently extend practice tasks in class||4.17||1.99|
|Respond to teacher w/out consulting others first||4.1||3.05|
|Relaxed when teacher monitors||4.05||3.24|
|Show nonverbal signs of not understanding||3.51||3.15|
|Mimic what teacher says or does||2.55||2.33|
|Wait to be called on before speaking||2.5||4.19|
|Rely more on classmates for instruction than on teacher||2.42||3.36|
|More comfortable w/ structured than loosely structured tasks||2.3||3.6|
|Avoid sitting in front rows||1.63||3.24|
|Resist doing tasks w/students other than friends||1.56||2.63|
|Over 15 minutes late for class||1.44||2.4|