The ABC of ELT

Do teachers or Students set the pace?


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#eltpic taken by @victoriaB52

One of the very strange moments I had today [when speaking to another teacher] was about the amount of time activities take. [N.B. please bear in mind that this is a school context where there is a common text book and pace chart for everyone to follow.]

A Slow teacher?
One of my fellow teachers won’t get on to the same point as me and frequently takes a lot longer on discussion [or items that are turned to discussion items] than I find myself spending. I sometimes find myself assuming that not enough actually work or teaching went on, that there was no focus on language or skills development and in a way can look down on that teacher.

A Quick teacher?
Paradoxically, one of the other teacher seams to race through activities and I found that he had managed to cover “two lessons” worth of material in ONE lesson! I rationalised this straight way with the fact that I had expanded the material and added extra discussion work for the students so it would fill a whole lesson and thus that was why he hadn’t taken the required two. However according to the said teacher this wasn’t the case, he had also included these extra activities and they had STILL got through it all [due to their quick reading skills]!

My pace is best?
What I found most remarkable is that in both these cases I straight away assumed my pace was the correct and right pace and perhaps this is true for this class. However, I immediately transferred my classes pace onto another class that I didn’t even teach. Which lead me to question this first assumption that the teachers went too quick or too slow.

How much do students or teachers set the pace?
Having said this I do still notice that certain teachers seam to go slower across every group they teacher and other quicker. This surely can’t be a fluke that they get all the quick or slow classes so they must do something to speed up/slow down their classes.

Some possible factors might be:

  • Adding extra discussion questions,
  • Pyramiding the discussions or leaving it at pair/group work
  • Adding extra analysis of the text
  • The method of feedback and checking answers
  • Setting time limits within activities.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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