Teacher Talk Analysis Survey

Last November I posted a description of a ‘teacher talk analysis’ assignment that teacher trainees complete as part of their Second Language Acquisition for English Teachers course. The following results and feedback were collected in the Spring 2014 semester. Though only 10 students completed the survey (the last few weeks are intense!), it’s pretty clear that having trainees analyze their own teacher talk is a GOOD thing. My comments follow each of the results below.


Summary of Responses

Check the box that best describes your initial reaction to the assignment.

positive 4 44%
negative 2 22%
no reaction 3 33%

We’re not surprised by this result here. When the assignment is initially presented, most students are excited at the fact that they can discover their own mistakes. Those who immediately understand that it involves transcribing their own teacher talk aren’t so anxious. 

Provide some details about your initial reaction to the assignment.

  • I have no confidence.
  • I was embarrased because I didn’t know how to do and what to do. I didn’t think that I would improve my teacher talk at first.
  • Honestly, I guessed it might be so hard and annoying. In addition I worried I feel frustrated.
  • I knew that I made a lot of mistakes in microteaching, but I didn’t know how to track them down. So when I was asked to do teacher talk analysis, I welcomed it but I was sure that it would take longer time than my expectation.
  • just wrote down my script and hard to find ways to improve my problems but during the time, I had time to think of solition…but still hard:{
  • I was embarrased so much.
  • It was a little embarrassing since I first thought there must have been countless errors in my teacher talk. But I also thought that it was a good way to analyze and improve my English. Having reviewed my video, I realized that I had committed many errors, but not as many as I had worried.

Do you feel that your English proficiency has improved so far during the semester?

My English got worse. 2 22%
I haven’t noticed any improvement. 1 11%
My English has improved a little bit. 5 56%
My English has improved a lot. 1 11%

It’s nice to see this. The majority of students feel that their English is improving. Considering the fact that we expect those who say their English got worse to eventually improve, the results are encouraging. After all, we base this whole assignment on the fact that noticing a mistake is the first step in fixing it. 

List any errors that you know you make when using English.

  • -phonology: the [ðə] instead of the [ði] – syntax: agreement of the singular-plural/ this is regular verbs–> these are the regular verbs – syntax: article (the) was usually missing
  • I always makes many mistakes when I use English in the class. Especially grammatical problems always make me embarrassed. I tried to use correct grammar during the class, but I tended to speak first before thinking about grammar.
  • Pronounciation,utterance problem, not that creative
  • I have a lot of problems on my grammar and pronunciation
  • – missing articles, a/an -missing a main verb ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
  • It’s really different when I talk to my friends and talk infront of the class. In class, we have talk about academic things which I have to explain things in a logical way and I think I am really lack of at doing that. I sometimes get quite nervous when I have to say my opinion out loud, but I think I am improving.
  • Grammar was the biggest problem.
  • I made mistakes when I said the plural noun. I was very confused, so I made lots of mistakes. I had to focus exclusively on the plural noun during the whole class. I used the singular noun when I said like “these” and “among”. Sometimes, I forgot to add –s at the end of the word automatically.
  • Usage of articles is always a problem. Saying this, I am not sure “usage of articles” is correct or I should have said “the usage of articles”, “usage of the articles (?)” or any other combinations of articles including no article.

Did you discover errors in your English classroom language while doing the teacher talk analysis?

Yes, I did. 9 100%
No, I didn’t 0 0%

This is what we expect. 

Is there one area of language that you struggle with more than others?

Phonology 2 22%
Grammar (includes morphology) 6 67%
Vocabulary/Word Choice 1 11%

We expect this as well. Odd though, it is, that grammar is the area of language that Korean students spend the most time studying – something is wrong…

How did analyzing your own teacher talk make you feel?

Proud 0 0%
Embarrassed 5 56%
Motivated 3 33%
Demotivated 1 11%
No feeling – I am numb from all this work 😦 0 0%

We were happy to see this too. ‘Embarrassed’ leads us to believe that the error is something the trainee did not notice. At the same time, it’s quite problematic. Errors are part of the acquisition process that should not create feelings of embarrassment. 

Please describe your feelings in detail.

  • Because I was conscious of my pronunciation problems which teacher corrected while analyzing teacher talk, I couldn’t help finding a lot of my utterance mistakes and I was frustrated and was afraid of teaching speaking lessonㅠI am struggling to find ways to improve my weakness..
  • Actually, I feel embarrased but I don’t demotivated. Because I feel I can fix it~!!!
  • I am studying English because I want to be an English teacher but I still make a lot of mistakes in speaking. It was really embarrassed and demotivated by my mistakes.
  • I had many chances to teach my students in English, and I had no idea about my proficiency. This assignments, however, helped me reflect myself more specifically. After the teacher talk, I try to use correct grammar and think more deeply before talking.
  • If I hadn’t analyzed my talk, I couldn’t find any errors in my teacher talk. I repeated the same mistakes unconsciously. However, I could correct my errors through analyzing teacher talk.
  • My English got better a little bit.
  • I would like to restore my confidence on English
  • At first, it was really embarrassing to listen to my own voice and also how I way things. But when I got used to it, it was interesting and I noticed how I need to analyze my teacher talk to fix the mistakes I often make.
  • Teaching is difficult, and, as a foreigner, I think teaching English in English is more difficult, almost impossible. Teacher talk analysis made me realize that how poor my English was. It still is, of course.

Do you think that reflecting on your own teacher talk will improve your English classroom language?

Yes 9 100%
No 0 0%

It’s nice to see this as well. This rids us of the guilt we felt assigning a challenging task at the end of an already challenging semester. 

How will you make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes in future microteaching presentations?

  • Yeah, after this assignments, I try to check my grammar during the mircoteaching, and I also check my grammar during the microteaching. Before this assignments, I had no idea about my grammar. However, I try to make less errors by using self correction during the microteaching.
  • What I did was to keep myself from making the same mistake was I took notes of how I felt during microteaching. Because during the microteaching I noticed the students’ feedback and if they have negative feedback, that means that they are confused with the task. Self reflection helped me a lot too.
  • It is important for me to pay attention to plural nouns when I use them. I have to practice which vocabulary takes the plural noun. I should keep in mind that the noun must agree with the noun in number.
  • I think if I am constantly careful not to do same mistakes in my mind, that can be the alertness in my real presentation ,which I believe is a one step to correcting. I usually use visualization to remove my nervousness.
  • pratice a lot to improve my English compedence
  • I need to memorize moere perfectly. When it comes to making a presentaon, memorizing all teacher talks helps to make my English look more natural. Because of the pressure and feeling nrevous English gets break down.
  • Practice, practice, practice. There is no other way. I also think that the only way of effective practicng is to communicate with native speakers. Long’s interaction hypothesis also supports this as far as I understand. One question in this regard is if interactions between non-native speakers have any effect.
  • Before the class, I will make script for my teacher talk and practice a few times not to make mistakes in the class.
  • I’m not sure. I just wanna not to fossilize that kind of error. I will try to not to make same error consciously. I believe practice makes perfect.

Mixed reactions here… Positive because some students get the fact that more practice will lead to better language use. Negative because some students still believe that a microteaching presentation should be scripted and memorized… 😦

If you can think of a way to make this assignment more effective, please make some suggestions below.

  • It would make the students more miserable, but how about asking the students to make two teacher talk analysis, one after the second microteaching and the other one after the fourth or fifth microteaching for the students to assess their improvement?
  • I think not just putting the “what patterns of speaking”? question, but also add how the teacher felt and how the students reacted question as well. Also, I think having the teacher talk assignment sooner would be better for the students, so that they could do this assignment when they made more mistakes.
  • To me, it’s too hard to recognize errors I made, especially, phonology. Plus, I’m not sure which words are more proper ;;;; It’s so tricky… ;;;
  • Give little more time Explain how to do it a bit more
  • It is a good tool to have students analyze and improve their own ishEnglish.
  • Instead of finding my problems and solution by myself, I think good achivements which were selected by teachers or students and took place in other classes to lower enbrassments can be a good source to discuss and learn. If we anayaze them compared to my own, I could understand my problems and assess my presentation more objectively and easily.
  • I think it is a good way to discuss with their group members about their analysis. They can give feedback each other. I believe that analyzing teacher talk should be done as many as possible.

Points taken!

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