Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Friday, January 06, 2006

Video Self Assessment

by AJ

Well, there is what we aspire to (see previous post on "greatness") and then there is the present reality.

I videotaped a class this week and it was fairly painful watching... this is my self-assessment:

*Shoulders hunched over much of the time... especially while seated.

* Jerky movements, feet constantly bouncing/tapping, nervous tics.

* Over-exaggerated facial expressions.. good for stories but annoying and weird at other times.

* Too much one on one questioning of students, not enough interactive activities.

* Goofy nervous laugh all the time... almost like a nervous tic.

* Nasal voice.. high and shrill (need to learn to project).

* Interrupted students too quickly and frequently.

* Way too much talking and explaining.... not nearly enough questions.

* TPRS: Need to lead the stories more by establishing the initial scenario... and also work interactively with students to create the mini-story (rather than only them or only me doing it). Not nearly enough repetition of key words/grammar.

* Overall: Much too high strung and wired.

This was a very productive exercise. While this particular class went poorly, in some ways thats more instructive than if it had gone well. I had a chance to observe myself on a bad day and really got a clear picture of my weaknesses as a teacher.

As I suspected, presentation skills need drastic work. My body language was jerky, nervous, high-strung, and at times bordered on annoying. Sometimes this sort of thing works well, when telling a funny story, for example.

But most of the time my nervous tics and jittery demeanor detracted from the lesson... weakened my message.. bored and/or distracted the students.

Voice quality is a big part of this. Mine is fairly high and shrill... especially when Im energized/excited.

Based on what I saw, Ive got several goals:

* Pay more attention to physical presentation.... ie. body language and movement.

* Work on my voice... more variation of tone and volume... and better projection.

* Lead more when using TPR Storytelling. This is also the best time for energy and exaggeration. MORE QUESTIONS!

* Slow down and calm down at other times. Speak more slowly. Move more slowly.

Ill be taping myself again in a week or two. While one videotaped observation is helpful, I think a series of tapes is better to get a complete picture.

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