Timing in the Classroom

This blog is for me to reflect on my teaching, as any learner would, and recently I became more aware of how important timing is in the classroom.

The lesson in mind was a 60 minute speaking lesson, but I felt my timing let me down so much that the students had little time to actually do much speaking.

Time management makes for good classroom management and in my next classes I want to improve my timing. Here I will examine what went wrong and what could have been done differently to make the class more successful.

For this class I think I let some activities take longer than they should have. I let a 5 minute activity run on for 15 minutes. Something that should have been brief ended up costing a quarter of the lesson.

One thing I usually do is break my lesson up into different parts. As a new teacher I like to note down how long each part should take. In a lesson I will have 5, 10, and 15 minute activities. I would rarely do one for 20 minutes. I realistically think about how long something should take including the time it will take to set up and complete. Moving forward I will be more strict with my time frames. I will think about where I should be by a certain time and not let things drag on for longer than necessary.

Another thing I did for the class was to try include everything that I had on my plan. I spent too long on explaining something that the students already had a lot of knowledge about. In this instance I should have prepared concept checking questions that would have helped check students understanding quickly to be able to move onto the next task more effectively. I should also know where to drop certain tasks that I feel are not as important as others. For example, a speaking lesson should have had more speaking in it then say writing.

After searching for more information about timing in the classroom I came across Scott Thornbury’s blog, T is for Time. I would definitely recommend this to anybody else who might think they need to improve their timing a little. I especially like the ideas around developing classroom routines so that students get into a rhythm of knowing what will come next, and also setting homework activities for things that take up a lot of time in class such as reading.

For now I will continue to improve and reflect on my timing. I will be strict with the times of activities, not let shorter activities eat into the time of longer ones and know when to drop activities when things are not going quite as planned.

Thanks for reading,



1 Comment

Filed under ESL, Teaching English

One response to “Timing in the Classroom

  1. So true! I had the same problem a couple days ago when I was doing a listening activity based on Dumb ways to die. First, I shouldn’t have wasted about 10 minutes on asking Ss to pair up the dumb ways to die, which I had cut in half. For one thing, it spoilt the novelty of the song a bit, and wasted a lot of time. I like your approach better: guess 4 dumb ways first based on pictures, thus increase their engagement, and activate their expectations and vocab, then watch it.
    Bless up, Kisdobos (http://islcollective.com co-founder)

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