(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2kDh5RZ)
Sitting in an ESL classroom is one thing, listening in an ESL classroom is something else, but engaging in an ESL classroom is the ultimate for learning.
Sitting requires simply completing the time specified. Listening requires taking notice of what is going on, and engagement requires not only listening, but digesting and giving responses and allowing whatever happens to move you forward in your skills.
A Barometer is usually used for measuring weather conditions. These conditions are based on the measurement of atmospheric pressure.
Think about that in terms of your classroom experience. Is the barometer high or low? Meaning, is the atmosphere in the classroom full of intensity (in a positive way)? Or are some people tuning out, or distracting others? These are all factors that can either enhance or diminish the learning of English (or anything for that matter).
Engagement is usually the atmosphere people look for in a classroom setting. It starts from the teacher setting up the environment and if all goes well, the engagement from the students will be high and as a result the English proficiency will develop well.
Any Head of School that wanders around the classrooms will know that you can simply walk into one class and say – ‘wow – something is really happening here’, and other classrooms where ‘uh-oh, nothing is happening here’. This is not something to with how many students are talking, writing speaking etc, it is all to do with ‘atmosphere’.
Some teachers are excellent at setting up an atmosphere, and others struggle. It is one of the few ‘unknowns’ left in the teaching and learning experience, and often comes down to a simple principle of whether the teacher has the ‘x-factor’ or not. For those teachers who struggle with it, there are learned techniques and strategies that can guide them. But other teachers simply have it!
What do you think?