Does using “one-to-one-in-a-group” help overcome embarrassment at performing in a group?

Does using one-to-one-in-a-group help overcome embarrassment at performing in a group?

This is a short piece, continuing the topic of “one-to-one-in-a-group” addressed in Jim’s long piece yesterday and Adrian’s own earlier article.

In a recent conversation between Adrian Underhill and teacher Louise Guvett, she said:

LG:

I find that some learners get really embarrassed when I try to help them with pronunciation, especially if they have difficulty making a specific sound.

I think when one learner has an individual problem they become shy. Perhaps, by helping this student individually to begin with, but then including the rest of the class…. I find that the other learners are keen to get involved, but the learner who’s making the error becomes shyer.

Is this the wrong way to do it? Am I causing their embarrassment?

Maybe it’s that they are disappointed because the other learners can make the sound effectively.

AU

Well, what I try to do is
…

1.         Not to ‘fix’ the student, nor to see their thing as a ‘problem’, but to see this as an opportunity for a learning journey together

2.         I work with them for a moment one-to-one in front of the group, not to fix the problem but to help the learner approach it and discover for themselves what needs to shift

3.         While doing this I hook up the others with my look, as if to say “Hey watch this… there is something pretty interesting happening here…”, and for a half minute they are touched by some real one-to-one learning going on in front of them. And I also get other students to have a go.

BUT even if they get it correct (which they might) I push them for a higher challenge (e.g. faster, or louder, or more connected, or more interesting or slower, or less energy, or clearer, or refine the sound, or check the word order etc. ) so after just half a minute everyone is individually challenged, no one is hanging about waiting for the first student to get it right “so that the lesson can continue” and I go back in the midst of all this to the initiating student (the one who gifted us the mistake in the first place) and work further with them.

4.         I do not see the mistake as a nuisance which ‘suspends’ the lesson while we stop and deal with it. It IS the lesson! A mistake is a gift. It tells us exactly what needs doing now.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Does using “one-to-one-in-a-group” help overcome embarrassment at performing in a group?

  1. Pingback: ‘Does using “one-to-one-in-a-group” help overcome embarrassment at performing in a group?’ by Adrian Underhill & Jim Scrivener | English Teaching Daily

  2. great tip. i got directed after being on our #AusELT #dhelt chat from @ElkySmith – thank you!

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