Team Teaching

I’m on holidays now in an unpredictable St Petersburg (the one in Russia, not in the USA). The morning was dark and cloudy; the afternoon is clear and sunny. I wonder what we should expect in the evening. I do hope there’ll be no thunderstorm or rain!

Anyway, just before leaving Tokyo and escaping the crazy summer heat and 90% humidity (huh, a usual deal you get in August if you live in Kanto) we had a Repeating course. I loved it! The attendance rate is a wee bit low but students (most) are motivated and mature (no wonder though since most of them are juniors and seniors, which makes them just 4-3 years younger than me, lol). Apart from refining my adaptation and improvisation skills (teaching a 1.5-hour discussion lesson to a pair was exciting), I had an extremely enjoyable experience of team teaching with one of my amazing colleagues (M.).

It was a Review lesson aimed at us teachers familiarizing with the students. A funny part: 6 out of 8 students appeared to be those we taught in part 1 (first 5 lessons) 😀 Nevertheless, the other 2 were newbies so we still needed to get to know them.

The outline was as simple as ever:

  • Fun part
  • Review (aka boring) part
  • Discussion on hobbies and managing free time (fun or boring, depends on students’ perspective I guess)

For the fun part, we decided to use team teaching. We adapted an activity called ‘2 truth, 1 lie’. Since we had 8 students, we decided to split them into 2 groups, one teacher taking over one group. Both I and M. wrote 3 facts about ourselves, two real and one made-up. To make it more exciting, we chose some amazing and hard-to-believe facts. Mine were:

  1. I’ve been to 27 countries.
  2. I used to have a dog.
  3. I can speak 9 languages.

Each group had to come up with follow-up questions for their teacher’s facts. Then we teachers joined our groups and were questioned by them. We had to lie, of course. The obvious aim for students was to figure out which fact we lied about judging from our facial expressions, gestures, and tone. (Apparently, I am a bad liar since my students managed to detect the false fact.) The hidden aim was to practice follow-up questions (something students struggle with and can’t always fit into their discussions). Students were really engaged and bombarded us with tons of questions! At the end, since students weren’t 100% sure, we let them ask one final question, and my students asked me to say ‘Hello’ in all those 9 languages I claimed I could speak – isn’t that amazing? I really didn’t expect them to test me like that!

Presenting activity and wrapping it up together with the co-teacher was a real fun! We did it in a really natural way without even discussing in advance who says what and ended up making a pretty good team. It was my first experience of team-teaching the same stage of the lesson (before I would only team teach a set of lessons united by one topic where one teacher teaches one lesson). And you know what? I want to do it again! Actually, I’ve been thinking since then that in the future if I open my own school I’ll definitely implement co-taught lessons in the curriculum because it can help to improve time-management (like what we did dividing the class and working with 2 groups at the same time) and make monitoring more effective (two pairs of eyes are better than one, right?). And it’s fun.

BTW, which of these 3 facts about me do you think is a lie? 😉

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