Classroom Instruction & Interaction
“Instruction and interaction: effective routines and directions in the EFL classroom.”
1. Introduction:
a. Call to attention:
 “After I clap, you clap.”
 *CLAP!* (Make sure everyone does it, and does it together.)
 If some people don't do it, say: “Let's try again.” Or: “Everyone!”
 “However I clap, you clap.”
 *CLAP CLAP!* (Various numbers, different rhythms, above your head...)
 “After you clap, be quiet.”
 *CLAP!* (Wait for silence.)
 “Good job!”
b. Teach yes and no gestures and procedures:
 “When I do this [extend arms to the class], you answer.”
 “When you say yes, do this [thumbs up].”
 “When you say no, do this [arms crossed].”
c. Practise yes/no hand gesture procedure:
 “Are you feeling good?” (Get class to answer – yes!)
 “Is it too warm in here?” (No!)
 “Are you bored?” (No!)
 “Shall we start?” (Yes!)
 “Nice work!”
 *CLAP!* (Wait for silence. Repeat if needed.)
 “Thank you.”
d. Introductions and greeting:
 “My name is Matthew Millar.”
 “Please call me Mr. Millar.”
 “I'll call you, 'class'.”
 “When I say good afternoon, class, you say good afternoon Mr. Millar.”
 “Good afternoon, class.”
 “Good afternoon, Mr. Millar.”
 (Wait for their responses. Repeat as needed.)
 “Well done!”
 “Today, we're going to learn about instruction and interaction.”
 “The workshop has 3 parts:
 – part 1 is about instruction,
 – part 2 is about interaction,
 – part 3 is a discussion about any classroom management issues.”
 “You can ask questions and ask for advice in part 3.”
e. Set up (introduction):
i. Key terms – instruction:
 “What is instruction?”
 “It's teaching – communicating lesson content.”
 “It's also about giving directions – requests for action.”
ii. Key terms – interaction:
 “What is interaction?”
 “It is social and behavioural activity in class.” (See quote.)
 “It includes issues of gender, race, class (social status), things like that,
but I won't be going into that part.”
 “It can be between students and students, or the teacher and students.”
 “ [Classroom interaction is] ... the form and content of behaviour or social
interaction in the classroom. In particular, research on gender, class, and
‘race’ in education has examined the relationship between teacher and
students in the classroom.”
 – Classroom Interaction.
iii. Workshop content:
 “What will we cover?”
 “From brain to behaviour.”
 “Educational principles that affect classroom interaction.”
 “Specific techniques that improve classroom interaction, especially
between the teacher and his or her students.”
2. Set up groups:
a. Start:
 “This workshop has a lot of group work.”
 “When I say go, make groups of 3 or 4 people.”
 “When you make your groups, take 5 minutes to get to know each other.”
 “Are we introducing ourselves to our groups?” (Yes!)
 “How many members?” (3 or 4!)
 “How many minutes?” (5!)
 “GO!”
b. Stop:
 *CLAP* (Wait for silence. Repeat if needed.)
 “Thank you. Now we can begin.”
3. Part 1 – instruction:
a. Task 1 – Teaching videos:
i. Set up the video task:
 “The first part of today's workshop is about 'instruction'.”
 “Now, we're going to watch two short videos.”
 “The task is in your conference booklet on page XXXX.”
 “Let's check the instructions...”
 “...while watching, write notes quietly, answer the questions.”
 “...after watching, discuss with your group.”
 “...finally, share with the class.”
 “Let's check the questions before watching.”
 “Question 1: How do the teachers give instructions?”
 “Question 2: How do students respond to the teachers' instructions?”
ii. Check for understanding:
 “Are we writing?” (Yes!)
 “Are we talking while we watch the videos?” (No!)
 “Are you ready?” (Yes!)
b. Chris Biffle:
i. How to Begin Whole Brain Teaching: 1 (0:40 – 1:41):
c. Fred Jones:
i. Creating Effective Lessons the Easy way with Fred Jones (2:18 – 3:26):
d. Set up the post-viewing activity:
 *CLAP!* (Wait for silence. Repeat if needed.)
 “Now, form groups.”
 “3-4 people.”
 “Discuss the answers with your group.”
 “You have five minutes.”
 “Are we working alone?” (No!)
 “Do we have five minutes?” (Yes!)
 “OK. Go!”
e. Set and start the timer:
 *Use this timer:
f. Monitor.
g. Stop the discussion:
 *CLAP!* (Wait for silence. Repeat if needed.)
 “Are you finished?”
 “Do you need more time?” (Give more time if needed.)
 “Let's share our answers.”
h. Answers (possible answers):
i. Input – output – input – output, not just lecturing.
ii. Comprehension checking – simple, yes/no questions (or similar).
iii. Expectations – the teacher expected every student to participate.
iv. Physical actions – hand gestures (teacher AND students).
v. Teacher demonstration.
vi. Clear visuals – visual instruction plan: VIP (Compare to my Power Point.)
 Colour, steps/broken into parts, not too much information.
vii. Consistency (routine/repetition) – the teacher uses the same expression and
gestures every time.
viii. Repeated routines.
 CLEAR Visual cues – gestures, physical demonstration, text/words,
 CLEAR Spoken cues – short/succinct, loud/clear enough (EFL needs
more care),
 IMMEDIATE Student Response – action (DO something), gesture, words
(repeat commands, etc.), silence, eye contact, etc.
 Check – What are the students DOING?
 Procedures – how things are done (must be taught)
 Repetition – consistent repetition = routine.
 Exact words don't matter, just stick with it – make it a routine.
x. Note:
 they were not EFL classes, so the speech and instructions were faster
and longer than should be used with EFL classes.
End the group work – get attention
 *CLAP* (Repeat as needed).
Task 2 – application.
i. How can you use these techniques for specific purposes in your classes?
ii. Make some procedure plans.
iii. Make:
 Gestures (for teacher AND students)
 Visuals – VIPs for sentences (pictures, diagrams, signs, colours, clines,
scales, time-lines, etc.)
 Words (instructions) – teacher's and students' responses
 Action (tasks, gestures, movement, words, clapping, singing, etc.)
iv. Brainstorm and discuss in groups.
k. Group demonstration:
 *CLAP* (Repeat as needed).
 “Now groups can demonstrate their procedures.”
 “Who wants to go first?”
Groups demonstrate
m. Get feedback/discuss:
 “What do you think?”
 “What was good?”
 “How did they demonstrate the principles we learned?”
n. Thank and move on.
 “Thank you.”
4. Part 2 – interaction:
a. Introduce part 2:
 “Now, we'll start part 2 – interaction.”
b. Get 4 volunteers to help demonstrate BAD interaction:
 “I need 4 volunteers to help with a demonstration.”
 “There is a script.”
 “You just have to act, you don't need to say anything difficult.”
c. Prepare the volunteers:
 “Just follow the script and act like children.”
d. Do the demonstration.
e. Thank the volunteers:
 “Well done!”
 “Thank you!”
f. Task 3:
i. Set up the task:
 “Complete the interaction diagram.”
 “Write what is happening in the interaction.”
 “Just write the main activity at each stage – summarise.”
 “Check and discuss with your groups.”
 “You have five minutes.”
 “GO!”
ii. Check for understanding (as before).
iii. Monitor.
iv. Give more time if needed (as before).
g. Stop the task:
 *CLAP*
h. Get groups to share their answers:
 “Please share your answers.”
Discuss the answers:
i. Possible answers:
 “Teacher ignores misbehaviour.”
 “Teacher fails to act effectively – just stares.”
 “Teacher gives unclear warnings.”
 “Teacher begs/pleads with students.”
 “Teacher sends students out of the room.”
Check answers with Power point:
 “Here are my answers.”
 (Read answers from Power point, if different from group answers.)
 “What do you notice about the teacher's role in the interaction?”
k. Thank the groups who answered (as before).
Task 4:
i. Set up the task (as before).
 “In groups, answer and discuss the 4 questions.”
 (as before)
ii. Stop the task (as before):
 *CLAP*
iii. Get the groups to share their answers (as before).
iv. Sample answers:
 “Here are my answers.”
 “1. The teacher allows the students to misbehave, because he doesn't
give clear instructions for how to behave.”
 “2. The teacher ignores the misbehaviour, and then doesn't give a clear
message that they MUST STOP.”
 “3. None of the instructions were clear... except when he told them to get
 “4. The students stopped misbehaving when the teacher took action that
affected them directly.”
 “The action at the end got the desired result.”
m. Look at the Power-point:
 “The first part is just inaction and talk.”
 “There's nothing there the students understand as a message to STOP.”
 “Only when the teacher gives consequences does the misbehaviour end.”
n. Summary of key issues:
 “There are some key issues to remember.”
 “The example shows ineffective instruction and interaction.”
 “Less talk, more action - “Children's brains are different from adult ones.”
 “Children learn in a concrete way – (not good at abstract thinking)...”
 “Research by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget on children's
intellectual development has shown that the thinking and learning of
children are qualitatively different from that of adults. Children think and
learn concretely. For younger children, immediate sensory experience
plays a greater role in shaping their reality than for adolescents or adults.”
– Robert MacKenzie, p. 63
 “In short: children learn from what they experience.”
 “Your words only have meaning if they know action will follow.”
 “Better talk, better action –
 “We need to give clear instructions (including consequences for not
obeying), check them, and follow through with consequences if
 “Tell, check, act.”
o. Demonstration 2:
i. Set up the demonstration (as before).
ii. Get volunteers (as before).
iii. Do the demonstration (as before).
p. Task 5:
i. Set up the task:
 “I made an interaction for this interaction already.”
 “Analyse and discuss the 4 questions with your groups.”
 (Continue as before.)
ii. Get groups to share their answers (as before).
iii. Check answers:
 (Read answers from Power point, if different from group answers.)
 “Instructions are clear and specific – stop, now.”
 “The teacher doesn't argue, that just makes things worse.”
 “The student accepted the choice, because the choice and consequence
was known before the choice to act.”
 “The teacher should ignore attitude, not misbehaviour.”
 “Note: there is a limit to this, and the teacher must decide where it is.”
q. Task 6:
i. Set up the task (as before).
ii. Exaplain the instructions:
 “1. Think of a specific interaction that you have had once or often.”
 “2. Write the steps.”
 “3. Analyse your interaction.”
 “4. Discuss your interaction with your group.”
 “5. Share with the class.”
r. Stop the task and get groups to share (as before).
s. Discuss key issues:
 “What are the key issues?”
 “Give clear instructions and clear messages.”
“What is OK? What isn't?”
“What happens if rules are broken?”
“Be respectful when talking to students and children.”
“Don't get personal – separate the child from the misbehaviour.”
“Don't get emotional – it will negatively affect your decisions.”
“Check for understanding, and check in again if needed.”
“Give consequences immediately.”
“Give consistent consequences.”
“Give fair, natural, logical consequences – ones that are directly related to
the problem behaviour.”
 “Give a clean slate, but repeat as needed.”
5. Part 3 – group discussion:
a. Whole-group discussion.
 “Now, we move to part 3 – the group discussion.”
 “We can talk about any issues we have with instruction and interaction.”
 “Feel free to share both your problems and suggestions.”
6. Final summary/conclusion:
a. Summarise key points from the workshop:
 “I have some final questions for you to think about (don't answer now)...”
Clear messages:
 “Are your messages clear?”
 “When you say stop, what does your student EXPERIENCE?”
 “Do you just describe the behaviour?”
 “Do your students know that this is a problem... and one that you'll act
 “Do you only complain or nag?”
 “Do you plead, or make suggestions?”
 “Do you say exactly what you want and when you want it?”
 “STOP.”
 “NOW.”
ii. Learning styles:
 “Do you consider how learning happens?”
 “Do you know about learning styles?”
 “Have you heard of VAK?”
 “Learning can be Visual, Auditory, or Kinaesthetic (physical).”
 “That means to learn, we ALL must: SEE, HEAR, and DO.”
iii. Bloom's taxonomy:
 “Do you know about Bloom's taxonomy?”
 “Bloom's taxonomy of cognitive domains:”
 “Here it is...”
 “But did you know it was updated in 2001?”
 “It was revised by Anderson, Krathwohl, in 2001.”
 “Notice the difference?”
 “The words are now VERBS.”
 “Verbs mean ACTION.”
 “Whose action are we concerned with?”
Key words:
 “What are the key words (verbs), and what do they mean?”
 Remember (retain – recognise/identify and recall/retrieve),
 Understand (connect new and prior knowledge/convert to new form),
 Apply (execute familiar, implement unfamiliar – solve problems),
 Analyse (break into parts and understand them),
 Evaluate (judging based on: quality, effectiveness, efficiency
 Create (using/reorganising parts to make a [new] whole: generate, plan,
produce) (link).
ii. Support:
 “Factual knowledge precedes skill.” (D. T. Willingham)
 “Proficiency requires practice.” (D. T. Willingham)
 “Learners are more alike [VAK/say-see-do] than they are different.” (D. T.
iv. OTHER taxonomies/domains:
 “Learning includes – SKA: Skill, Knowledge, Attitude.”
 “There are more learning domains – not just cognitive.”
 “Cognitive domain (Knowledge).”
 “The psychomotor domain (physical skill/dexterity).” (Simpson, 1972)
 “Affective domain (emotion/attitude).” (Krathwohl, Bloom, Masia, 1973)
v. Emotion:
 “Don't let emotion rule you.”
 “Fright (freeze) – flight – fight” ('acute stress response')” (Walter Bradford
Cannon via Fred Jones, Joe Navarro):
 “Stage 1: Fast – muscle tension (eyes, breathing, blood vessels, heart)
 Stage 2: Slow – adrenaline.” (“It takes roughly 27 minutes for adrenaline
to clear the blood stream.” (Fred Jones, 172-4))
 “Some psychologists believe that the brain shuts down when a person is
 “They say that when you get upset, your higher brain stops working and
becomes more like an animal.”
 “So give yourself, and your brain a break.” (Show 'good' brain.)
 “Cool down, restore [emotional] control.” (MacKenzie, 222)
 “Don't become like this.” (Show Homer Simpson's brain.)
 “If you lose control, take a break, and apologise later.” (Show slide.)
 “Give students time to cool down, too.”
b. Points to remember:
 “Remember:
 Learning is all about – seeing, hearing, and doing.”
 “And that's for all of us.”
 “Make sure your instructions follow these principles.” (Show last slide.)
c. Farewell:
 “Thank you for coming and participating.”
2. Notes:
Interaction diagram
Teacher behaviour
Student behaviour
– students disrupt
ignores misbehaviour –
– continue, disrupt more
looks at students, nothing else –
– pause, then resume disruption
gives unclear message –
– continue disruption
gives another unclear message –
– worse disruption
pleads with students –
– worse disruption
sends students outside –
– disruption stops
Procedure task (task 2) cue cards:
1. Students distribute handouts.
2. Students hand in completed worksheets.
3. Students listen to the teacher and repeat the word.
4. Students stop working and listen quietly.
1. Students distribute handouts.
2. Students hand in completed worksheets.
3. Students listen to the teacher and repeat the word.
4. Students stop working and listen quietly.
Task 2: Answers:
1. The teacher does nothing to stop it. 3. All of them, except: “Get out!”
2. The teacher ignores the disruption. 4. The teacher finally acts: consequences.
Task 3: Completed interaction diagram:
Interaction diagram
Teacher behaviour
Student behaviour
– students disrupt
ignores misbehaviour –
– continue, disrupt more
looks at students, nothing else –
– pause, then resume disruption
gives unclear message –
– continue disruption
gives another unclear message –
– worse disruption
pleads with students –
– worse disruption
sends students outside –
– disruption stops
Task 5: Analysis of the improved classroom interaction diagram.
Discuss these questions:
1. Specific: 'stop... now.'
3. The student knew the choices
2. The teacher stays calm, doesn't argue, available, made one, and accepted it.
and continues to give clear messages.
4. The teacher would ignore it.
Chris Biffle, How to Begin Whole Brain Teaching: 1 (0:40 – 1:41):
Fred Jones, Creating Effective Lessons the Easy way with Fred Jones (2:18 – 3:26):
Matthew Millar's blog, EFL in ROK. (You can download handout, plan, Power-point, etc.):
Chris Biffle's Whole Brain Teaching:
Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching:
Online stopwatch . Com:
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