Let’s talk about the benefits of student-driven English lessons. Hi, it’s Derek from Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi. Today I will share how I use student-driven lessons for coaching English in Tsukaguchi, Japan.
Japanese who join Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi have all studied at least 6 years of English in Japanese public or private schools before. However they have probably had teacher-driven lessons where teacher talking time was high and student talking time was low.
Student-Driven English Lessons
Student-driven English lessons are the complete opposite. In student-driven English lessons, the students lead the lessons. The teacher does a lot of listening and the students talk a lot. Student talking time (STT) is high and teacher talking time (TTT) is low.
Why Student-Driven Lessons?
To learn to speak English with confidence, one must speak English as much as possible. It is therefore very important that students of English get the chance to speak as much as possible during their English lessons to get the most out of them. Student-led lessons give students of English the chance to do this.
Student-Driven Lessons at Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi
At Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi, wherever possible all of my students choose their own topic of conversation for their English lessons. Some simply sit down and I ask them, “What’s new?” and we go from there. Others prepare a topic, do some research on it and usually write something on it too. They also include their own opinions on the topics. Then at their English lessons, they hand me their homework, I read it and then my students speak about that topic and I listen. While they are speaking, I note any grammar or vocabulary errors. When they finish speaking, I ask them questions on the topic and they answer. Then at the end of the lesson, I correct any errors I’d noted. Students appreciate this.
With lower-level students, I still ask the same “What’s new?” question. They know I am going to ask and have usually given the question some thought before the lessons. Of course, the students move ahead a little slower than high levels and grammar is not great, but that doesn’t matter. What matters, and what is truly amazing is that slowly and steadily they communicate their thoughts verbally in English. And they progress extremely quickly. At Smith’s, we coach communicative confidence at every level.
Being an English Coach
I believe student-driven lessons turn English teachers more into English coaches which is what our students really need. They need English coaches who keep student talking time high by listening a lot, support and inspire them, helping them build up their communicative confidence. That is what we do as Smith’s Coaches of Communicative Confidence!
hello, derek .. thanks for telling us the difference between teacher or student driven teaching .. it makes a lot of sense, especially with students who already have a handle on the language, or subject .. i think english children may benefit, too, from student driven teaching with a coach to urge them on and help with correction .. it can be so boring to have teacher driven teachers who stand at the front of the class and talk for the entire time, and then send students away with their heads whirling .. 😊
Nice write-up on the subject Derek. I too, use student driven lessons, especially with higher level students as much as is appropriate. For lower level students, I try and see if they are able to produce anything, and if not I take the reigns of the lesson and try to give them the tools to be able to control the lesson more in the future.
I was very happy yesterday when a student walked into my class and started talking about this blog!