Minimizing teacher (or tutor) talk is a best practice, but why does it matter so much?
English learners have a limited capacity for listening comprehension. Think of it as a language jar. Once the jar is full, they can’t take in any new information. Even in an advanced class where students have deep jars, if students spend more time being passive, they are missing out on a learning opportunity. The more students interact and use the language, the better they get at it.
When does a teacher (or tutor) need to talk?
Of course a teacher (or tutor) needs to say some things or not much will happen in class that day. What types of information does a teacher need to convey?
The challenge is to accomplish these tasks without getting carried away. What does it actually look like when the class discusses how to inquire about a rental, for example? Who does most of the discussing?
What are alternatives to monologues and explanations?
But what if the students aren’t saying anything?
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