I observed an E-level Writing class in Boston University’s CELOP. The teacher is about 50 years old and a very nice woman. And the students of this class consist of 4 Chinese students, 2 Japanese students, 6 middle- eastern students and an Italian student. And the class has 3 parts: talking about reading journals, students teaching new words and lab writing. Each of them takes 1 hour.
The class should have begun at 9 o’clock, but there were only three fourths of the students sitting in the classroom. According to the teacher two middle-eastern students and the Italian student were late. And interestingly the teacher told me Chinese and Japanese students are always more punctual than students from other countries. The teacher doesn’t apply any late policies in the class. I think it’s improper because students would think being late is totally acceptable in class and as a result there would be more and more students late for school. Moreover the students who arrive school punctually would be interrupted again and again by the late students. That’s not fair.
The first class is talking about the reading journals which they had handed in two days ago. I found the teacher is quite skillful organizing class activity especially group work. She got 3 or 4 students into a group. And she made sure that no students with the same mother tongue were in a same group. I think this kind of organization is quite efficient for both students and the teacher. Students would get plenty of practice using English expressing their opinions. But there was also a problem. Some students talks too much but some talks little. I saw a middle-eastern student kept talking and a Japanese student kept silent during the whole process. So as far as I am concerned the teacher should have also taken this situation into consideration and avoided setting these two kinds of students into one group.
The teacher kept walking around in the classroom in case students have questions or no one talks in the group. I think this behavior is really necessary especially when some students who feel uncomfortable asking questions in public have problems, they can ask the teacher when she is walking near them. And I think the teacher could use this moment to deal with the dilemma mentioned in the last paragraph, but unfortunately the teacher seemed not find that.
After the group discussion the teacher repeated what she had taught last week about writing the first paragraph of an essay. She asked the students who didn’t raise