Teaching English Methods Reflective Journal Entry #9

Recall your own experiences in school with speaking class. How did you feel about speaking - in groups or before the class - when you were a student? What methods or activities/ assignments do you remember particularly effective/ ineffective in this regard?
    In junior high, we often spoke in front of class in my English and Drama classes; I found I was very comfortable doing so in this classroom. The teacher created an environment where it was safe for all students, everyone was accepted. There was no laughing at students or pointing out the faults in others work. There was discussion of what can we do better next time.
    In high school, I was required to take a speech class; I found I was extremely uncomfortable in front of this class. The teacher was focused on how you stood, movements you made, how you spoke, and was extremely critical in his grading. One lesson, we were to speak in front of the class as a news anchor and the assignment was recorded. After everyone completed their assignment, we all watched the videos of each other. It was awful, the teacher paused the videos several times within the recording to point out what he did not like in front of the entire class. Students pointed out funny things that occurred in the videos. It was humiliating! All I remember from mine, is that I could not stop swaying my right leg back and forth underneath the table (we were sitting down); which the teacher pointed this out (like I was unaware of this occurring) I was so embarrassed.
    In my future classroom, I want it to be positive for students; similarly to my experience in middle school. I want students to first work with a partner and create good dialogue between two people; focusing on listening as well as speaking. Then I will proceed with speaking in front of small groups, having a dialogue among their peers. Next, we will move to speaking in front of the entire class through reader's theater and acting out scenes. A way for several students to come up together. Last, the time will come for a student to complete a presentation, a monologue, an individual assignment to speak in front of the class. This series of scaffolded assignments will develop a student's self-confidence and allow them to begin to feel comfortable with one another; while learning how to correctly address various forms of conversation situations.

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