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Is Microteaching Teaching?

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  • lifang67 <kellogg@ns.snue.ac.kr>
    (Thanks, Fiona, and to you too!) It s the morning after the night before, and London is still rousing minds to life. So, while waiting, here is a longish quote
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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      (Thanks, Fiona, and to you too!)

      It's the morning after the night before, and London is still rousing
      minds to life. So, while waiting, here is a longish quote I like
      enough to want to share, from Tharp & Gallimore,"Rousing Minds to
      Life: Teaching, learning and schooling in social context" (CUP 1988)

      'Discourse in which expert and apprentices weave together spoken and
      written language with previous understanding appears in several
      guises....it is the natural conversational method of language
      instruction. It can be the medium for teacher training. It can wear
      the mask of a third grade reading lesson, or a graduate seminar. It's
      generic name is the Instructional Conversation... The concept itself
      contains a paradox; "instruction" and "conversation" appear contrary,
      the one implying authority and planning, the other equality and
      responsiveness. The task of teaching is to resolve this paradox. To
      most truly teach, one must converse; to truly converse is to teach.
      (111).'

      Good, huh? And yet, and yet. About a year ago I had a really keen
      student; one of those thinkers who can't really talk very much. It
      was supposedly a "listening" class, but we'd dispensed with the tapes
      and the text + questions and instead concentrated on conversations
      which sequed into peer teaching, or micro-teaching activities, mostly
      conducted in groups of four.

      For example, one day I had them trying to use the events of the
      weekend to create a web in which they were connected in some way to
      every other person in the group (and then every group connected to
      every other group, sort of along the lines of "Six Degrees of
      Separation"). My thinker, In-seong, was having a very hard time
      explaining the task (because it's not really the sort of thing you
      can model T-S, S-T and then S-S), and the other students, who knew
      the task already, were being impatient. Afterwards, In-seong
      complained to me in Korean that the whole problem with the activity
      was that "Even if the teacher is a real teacher, the students are not
      real students."

      At the time, I took this as a complaint about his classmates, who
      were not terribly serious about the activity or about In-seong. (In-
      seong is an evangelical Christian and tends to be terribly serious
      about everything except the sorts of social activities that the
      others students are earnest about.)

      But now I think I was wrong. I think In-seong was really making a
      much more general criticism, of a technique that he thought I was
      over-using: Microteaching.

      Gallimore and Tharp say this:

      'Consider "microteaching", a briefly fashionable teacher-training
      stystem that soon disappeared from citation indexes, despite ample
      evidence of its effectiveness.... Microteaching grew out of research
      on observational learning; it employed modeling, one of the six means
      of assisting performance in the zone of proximal development.
      Microteaching words because it activates a fundamental, universal
      learning process. Microteaching may have lost favor, but the laws of
      human beahvior on which it rests have not changed. (Gallimore and
      Tharp, "Teaching mind in socieity", in Moll, ed. "Vygotsky and
      Education", CUP 1990: 199)'

      From the teacher's point of view, yes, it is true that teaching is
      being modeled (but even this assumes that teaching is modelable, and
      I am not convinced). But from the learner's point of view, there is
      the even more questionable assumption that teaching something to
      people who already know it, yea, even demonstrating an activity to
      people who already know the final product, is in some way analogous
      to teaching something to people who don't know it, and modeling
      things to people who have never seen the activity before. And that,
      it seems to me, is the same kind of mistake as confusing display
      questions and real questions. If we take the first Tharp and
      Gallimore quotation on instructional conversation seriously, we have
      to entertain serious doubts abou the second quotation from Gallimore
      and Tharp on micro-teaching.

      dk1
    • Jay Schwartz
      Hi! With regards to caring (Fiona s message) and sharing (DK1 s message ): Firstly the caring - Happy New Year to you all! Secondly the sharing: I would
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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        Hi! With regards to "caring" (Fiona's message) and "sharing" (DK1's
        message ): Firstly the caring - Happy New Year to you all! Secondly the
        sharing: I would imagine for the learner, in a DOGME and CLT context, the
        paradox of "instruction" and "conversation" is some what resolved because of
        the emphasis on "Contextualization"...... in the right context. And, I think
        we can agree that Vygotsky was big proponent of "context" as well. In some
        contexts instruction and conversation are very much symbiotic. I mean,
        instructions are given and often discussed. In fact, from a "quality circle"
        point of view the instructions are the end result of much discussion. I
        don't think that "planning" necessarily implies or precedes the
        "instruction". A task based exercise in context would be students actually
        discussing and then creating the instructions to be given. There is a shared
        knowledge of why the instructions are needed, but it's the "brainstorming"
        process which steer the exercise. Much like students creating or selecting
        what sort of questions should appear on a questionnaire - something I'm
        doing in a DOGME related advanced level class I have. The idea of the survey
        was the students' not mine.

        Lastly, is Microteaching really an exercise of "modeling behavior" or of
        "contextualization"? I often wonder why there forever seems to be an issue
        with teachers desperately trying to deny that there may actually be a
        "classroom" context in which we (students and teachers) all play. The
        authority of the teacher is part of that context, but it's more a matter of
        how things play out in the classroom. As in real life it's more a matter how
        you wield that authority rather than the fact that you have it by virtue of
        who you are (power corrupts yadi yadi yada...)....

        - Jay

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <kellogg@...>
        To: <dogme@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 1:35 PM
        Subject: [dogme] Is Microteaching Teaching?


        > (Thanks, Fiona, and to you too!)
        >
        > It's the morning after the night before, and London is still rousing
        > minds to life. So, while waiting, here is a longish quote I like
        > enough to want to share, from Tharp & Gallimore,"Rousing Minds to
        > Life: Teaching, learning and schooling in social context" (CUP 1988)
        >
        > 'Discourse in which expert and apprentices weave together spoken and
        > written language with previous understanding appears in several
        > guises....it is the natural conversational method of language
        > instruction. It can be the medium for teacher training. It can wear
        > the mask of a third grade reading lesson, or a graduate seminar. It's
        > generic name is the Instructional Conversation... The concept itself
        > contains a paradox; "instruction" and "conversation" appear contrary,
        > the one implying authority and planning, the other equality and
        > responsiveness. The task of teaching is to resolve this paradox. To
        > most truly teach, one must converse; to truly converse is to teach.
        > (111).'
        >
        > Good, huh? And yet, and yet. About a year ago I had a really keen
        > student; one of those thinkers who can't really talk very much. It
        > was supposedly a "listening" class, but we'd dispensed with the tapes
        > and the text + questions and instead concentrated on conversations
        > which sequed into peer teaching, or micro-teaching activities, mostly
        > conducted in groups of four.
        >
        > For example, one day I had them trying to use the events of the
        > weekend to create a web in which they were connected in some way to
        > every other person in the group (and then every group connected to
        > every other group, sort of along the lines of "Six Degrees of
        > Separation"). My thinker, In-seong, was having a very hard time
        > explaining the task (because it's not really the sort of thing you
        > can model T-S, S-T and then S-S), and the other students, who knew
        > the task already, were being impatient. Afterwards, In-seong
        > complained to me in Korean that the whole problem with the activity
        > was that "Even if the teacher is a real teacher, the students are not
        > real students."
        >
        > At the time, I took this as a complaint about his classmates, who
        > were not terribly serious about the activity or about In-seong. (In-
        > seong is an evangelical Christian and tends to be terribly serious
        > about everything except the sorts of social activities that the
        > others students are earnest about.)
        >
        > But now I think I was wrong. I think In-seong was really making a
        > much more general criticism, of a technique that he thought I was
        > over-using: Microteaching.
        >
        > Gallimore and Tharp say this:
        >
        > 'Consider "microteaching", a briefly fashionable teacher-training
        > stystem that soon disappeared from citation indexes, despite ample
        > evidence of its effectiveness.... Microteaching grew out of research
        > on observational learning; it employed modeling, one of the six means
        > of assisting performance in the zone of proximal development.
        > Microteaching words because it activates a fundamental, universal
        > learning process. Microteaching may have lost favor, but the laws of
        > human beahvior on which it rests have not changed. (Gallimore and
        > Tharp, "Teaching mind in socieity", in Moll, ed. "Vygotsky and
        > Education", CUP 1990: 199)'
        >
        > >From the teacher's point of view, yes, it is true that teaching is
        > being modeled (but even this assumes that teaching is modelable, and
        > I am not convinced). But from the learner's point of view, there is
        > the even more questionable assumption that teaching something to
        > people who already know it, yea, even demonstrating an activity to
        > people who already know the final product, is in some way analogous
        > to teaching something to people who don't know it, and modeling
        > things to people who have never seen the activity before. And that,
        > it seems to me, is the same kind of mistake as confusing display
        > questions and real questions. If we take the first Tharp and
        > Gallimore quotation on instructional conversation seriously, we have
        > to entertain serious doubts abou the second quotation from Gallimore
        > and Tharp on micro-teaching.
        >
        > dk1
        >
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: dogme@...
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: dogme-unsubscribe@...
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • Tom Topham
        Hi dkl and all, Happy ha ha etc I also iuse a lot of microteaching, and I agree that fake students who know the outcome of a task is problematic. Here are a
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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          Hi dkl and all, Happy ha ha etc

          I also iuse a lot of microteaching, and I agree that "fake students" who
          know the outcome of a task is problematic.

          Here are a couple of ways I try to avoid this problem:

          - Use it to practice very specific techniques, rather than "try to do an
          activity". So for example, the teachers will all set up a short situational
          presentation. Of course, the grammar mcnugget is one that all the teachers
          already know, but the focus of our feedback is, for example, how often did
          the teacher ask rather than tell (encourage eliciting), how often/with who
          did the teacher make eye contact, etc. Regardless of the authentucity of
          the students these are skills that can be conciously practiced and
          developed.

          - Use it to actually present / teach different activities, through use of
          team prep. So, eg, take 4 different5 interactive activities connected with
          watching video. Divide the teachers into 4 groups (in 4 rooms if the
          resources are available), give them 10 minutes or so to organise and check
          that they are clear on what they are to do. When we come back into plenary,
          the full group gets 4 microteaching slots, of which they know the desired
          outcome of only one.

          My 2cents (hey there isn't a "cents" symbol on keyboards anymore??)

          Tom








          >From: "lifang67 <kellogg@...>" <kellogg@...>
          >Reply-To: dogme@yahoogroups.com
          >To: dogme@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [dogme] Is Microteaching Teaching?
          >Date: Wed, 01 Jan 2003 11:35:38 -0000
          >
          >(Thanks, Fiona, and to you too!)
          >
          >It's the morning after the night before, and London is still rousing
          >minds to life. So, while waiting, here is a longish quote I like
          >enough to want to share, from Tharp & Gallimore,"Rousing Minds to
          >Life: Teaching, learning and schooling in social context" (CUP 1988)
          >
          >'Discourse in which expert and apprentices weave together spoken and
          >written language with previous understanding appears in several
          >guises....it is the natural conversational method of language
          >instruction. It can be the medium for teacher training. It can wear
          >the mask of a third grade reading lesson, or a graduate seminar. It's
          >generic name is the Instructional Conversation... The concept itself
          >contains a paradox; "instruction" and "conversation" appear contrary,
          >the one implying authority and planning, the other equality and
          >responsiveness. The task of teaching is to resolve this paradox. To
          >most truly teach, one must converse; to truly converse is to teach.
          >(111).'
          >
          >Good, huh? And yet, and yet. About a year ago I had a really keen
          >student; one of those thinkers who can't really talk very much. It
          >was supposedly a "listening" class, but we'd dispensed with the tapes
          >and the text + questions and instead concentrated on conversations
          >which sequed into peer teaching, or micro-teaching activities, mostly
          >conducted in groups of four.
          >
          >For example, one day I had them trying to use the events of the
          >weekend to create a web in which they were connected in some way to
          >every other person in the group (and then every group connected to
          >every other group, sort of along the lines of "Six Degrees of
          >Separation"). My thinker, In-seong, was having a very hard time
          >explaining the task (because it's not really the sort of thing you
          >can model T-S, S-T and then S-S), and the other students, who knew
          >the task already, were being impatient. Afterwards, In-seong
          >complained to me in Korean that the whole problem with the activity
          >was that "Even if the teacher is a real teacher, the students are not
          >real students."
          >
          >At the time, I took this as a complaint about his classmates, who
          >were not terribly serious about the activity or about In-seong. (In-
          >seong is an evangelical Christian and tends to be terribly serious
          >about everything except the sorts of social activities that the
          >others students are earnest about.)
          >
          >But now I think I was wrong. I think In-seong was really making a
          >much more general criticism, of a technique that he thought I was
          >over-using: Microteaching.
          >
          >Gallimore and Tharp say this:
          >
          >'Consider "microteaching", a briefly fashionable teacher-training
          >stystem that soon disappeared from citation indexes, despite ample
          >evidence of its effectiveness.... Microteaching grew out of research
          >on observational learning; it employed modeling, one of the six means
          >of assisting performance in the zone of proximal development.
          >Microteaching words because it activates a fundamental, universal
          >learning process. Microteaching may have lost favor, but the laws of
          >human beahvior on which it rests have not changed. (Gallimore and
          >Tharp, "Teaching mind in socieity", in Moll, ed. "Vygotsky and
          >Education", CUP 1990: 199)'
          >
          >From the teacher's point of view, yes, it is true that teaching is
          >being modeled (but even this assumes that teaching is modelable, and
          >I am not convinced). But from the learner's point of view, there is
          >the even more questionable assumption that teaching something to
          >people who already know it, yea, even demonstrating an activity to
          >people who already know the final product, is in some way analogous
          >to teaching something to people who don't know it, and modeling
          >things to people who have never seen the activity before. And that,
          >it seems to me, is the same kind of mistake as confusing display
          >questions and real questions. If we take the first Tharp and
          >Gallimore quotation on instructional conversation seriously, we have
          >to entertain serious doubts abou the second quotation from Gallimore
          >and Tharp on micro-teaching.
          >
          >dk1
          >
          >


          _________________________________________________________________
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        • lifang67 <kellogg@ns.snue.ac.kr>
          Tom: Yeah, I think that s it. The activity In-seong was doing (the six degrees of separation thing) was not a specific technique. And I think that your
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 3, 2003
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            Tom:

            Yeah, I think that's it. The activity In-seong was doing (the "six
            degrees of separation" thing) was not a specific technique. And I
            think that your solution (specific techniques, and working with
            different goals) is workable and sensible. Actually, I'm doing a book
            (provisional title: "Teaching Talk") and I'll work this in.

            But skeptically, because I think the inevitable introduction of the
            McNugget only points up the justice of In-seong's original critique
            of micro-teaching. The provision of McNuggets, techniques, etc.
            points to a Teacher's Book oriented approach to the lesson.

            Here's our problem. The Teacher's Book is a kind of Lonely Planet
            Guide to the Classroom; a phrase book, only instead of "shopping"
            and "getting away" you have sections like "Greeting", "Chat", "Listen
            and Do", "Listen and Repeat".

            Of course, you can understand the rationale behind doing a teacher's
            book this way, particularly for elementary school teachers who only
            did a semester or two of English in Teacher Training College (our
            teachers are tenured for life, and so there are quite a few older
            teachers who have this or less). The English Classroom really is a
            foreign country, and they really do need a survival guide. The CD ROM
            will do the rest.

            But it won't do, even at the wildest imaginable level of success.
            There is a bit of discussion on Fiona's TEA list (where our much-
            missed Diarmuid does contribute occasionally) about pie-in-the-sky
            teaching goals, and the extent to which one should demand the
            impossible in a classroom. Diarmuid the missed contributed--
            brilliantly--the observation that sometimes the impossible is the
            only thing that will do: as Debs remarked once, in the context of the
            US elections, 'Waal, I guess it's better d'vote fer wut ye want and
            not get it, then t'vote for wut ye DON'T want...and get it!@

            The issue is really not complicated--the success of the Teacher's
            Book program (Lonely Planet-style Classroom Phrasebook + audiovidiot
            proof materials) is well below the worst possible failure of a
            dogmetic one, in terms of outcomes for the learners and also in terms
            of teaching skills. Which would you rather have--a failed dream or a
            totally realized nightmare on CD-ROM?

            Unless. I rather liked Scott's emphasis on "the left wing of the
            possible" in "Grammar Uncovered". So maybe hope for changing things
            lies in that little Teacher's Book slot innocuously marked "chat",
            where the kids are arriving from the playground still red faced from
            running, warm with breakfast, and full of stories from outside the
            classroom, all different, but all shareable. Those first five minutes
            between "Hi, kids!" and "Open your books". Because those first five
            minutes are really kind of sacred to me, I tend to resist anything
            that will throttle them or cut them short or even segue them gently
            into the next forty minutes. So I really oppose things like:

            T: Hi, kids! How are you all today?
            Ss: Fine, thank you, and you?
            T: Hungry! So let's talk about food! Now today we're going to learn...

            Or even the ostentatious "seeding" of chat with the words for the day
            and the structure of the day. Let's face it, this way of presenting
            things (for that is what it is) is about as effective as the "Tip for
            the day" slot on my Outlook Express (which, after using the program
            almost daily for nearly four years, I noticed for the very first time
            today. Oh, hi, Bill!).

            I once read somewhere that the way a singles bar usually works, you
            decide within the first eight and a half minutes if you are going to
            be spending the night alone and if not, with whom you are leaving. I
            guess I rather feel the same way about those first five minutes. No
            wonder they are (according to almost every teacher I've ever talked
            to) the most fraught and tension-ridden moments in the whole class.

            dk1
          • Dennis Newson
            Dear re-named dkL, What, at the end of your ever finer re-definitions and onion-peeling, lengthy, brain-teasing idiosyncratic, ideolectual examinations of
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 3, 2003
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              Dear re-named dkL,

              What, at the end of your ever finer re-definitions and onion-peeling, lengthy, brain-teasing
              idiosyncratic, ideolectual examinations of what is and isn't going on when teachers talk - what is
              your aim? What is the holy grail you are seeking? Is there any point of contact between your
              personal search and the needs, and language, of teachers and learners of EFL?

              Dennis--
              Dennis Newson (retired)
              formerly at the University of Osnabrueck, Germany
              List Manager CETEFL-L
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