Choose relevant tasks for your students.
‘Intentions of the teacher need to be clear and the instructional activities sequenced according to a logic that the students can perceive.’ Jack C. Richards in 'Beyond Methods'
Teachers of English should try as much as possible to choose relevant tasks for their classes for each individual lesson. Each class period should have an aim and the tasks should have an order and a pacing that will ultimately achieve these aims. If the tasks are too difficult or perceived to be such, or if the tasks are too complicated for the students to complete, then the fluidity of the lesson will break down and result in little learning and a lack of motivation of students.
Classes of older students may have preconceived notions as to how they should be taught. If using a student centered communicative language teaching approach as a basis for a lesson, sometimes, older students will lose interest in the instructional activities. They will however often regain interest if a more teacher centered deductive method is used.
An explanation for this may be that the students do not perceive the communicative activities that are being presented as ‘real learning’, do not understand the goals of the lesson and as such lose interest.
Young learner students are prone to lose interest if they do not understand the instructions for participation clearly from the outset. However, younger students seem to be less interested in the long term gains of an activity than the older students.
This may be because the younger students are more focused on the short term aims of the activity (such as winning a game) as opposed to the older students who tend to focus on how the short term aims of the classroom can help them in the longer term.
Grouping of students is important, especially when a class includes students of mixed ability. A teacher must be able to use their judgement to decide whether lecturing, group work, pair work etc. is appropriate for their learners and also decide on seating arrangements within a classroom in order to achieve maximum participation from all of their students.
All of these factors may contribute to a teacher’s decisions on how to plan their lessons and which are the most appropriate methods available in order to achieve the required results. The factors, when viewed in the light of each individual group of learners, may prohibit or discourage a teacher from focusing on a singular methodological approach.