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Moving Around in a TALK Class

The way you move around in your class influences–for better or worse–the general learning environment.

In a TALK class, you either move around from group to group or stand back to observe. Let us point out a few things which we believe will help you do a better job.

As a rule, only spend a short time with each group.

The good host maintains an overview of the whole party. He or she will talk to many guests, but not for any great length of time. The situation in a TALK class is similar.

The basic procedure is to go to a group, ask some questions, explain, give advice, or simply listen. Then move on to the next group.

Respect the integrity of each group.

Once you have told a student (or group) to do something in a specific way, don’t hang around to see whether they actually do what you have said. Just imagine you were learning to type and your teacher always stood behind your back, watching as you practised. How would you feel? Not very relaxed, for sure.

When you are observing a group, it is best not to be too close because it interferes with their privacy. If you want to listen in for a while, sit down with them, don’t tower over them.

You could sit close to a group and turn your back, pretending that you’re interested in something different. At other times, when you are only around for a few moments (and your legs are in good shape), we recommend that you squat when talking to students. Being physically lower than the students (who are sitting) is especially helpful for those who are nervous or very shy. By squatting you are telling the students with your body that they needn’t be afraid.

Stand back and observe the class as a whole.

When everything is running smoothly step back and assess what is going on. Make any changes you feel are warranted then or save them for the end of the class.

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