After watching the video-recording of my class through the eyes, equipped with a bit more theories of teaching children, my discovery was nothing to do with my focus, teacher's feedback. I found that giving a certain task to children as a pair or a group work increases the active participation, motivation, sense of ownership and learner to learner talk without the teacher's intervention. Lots of laughters and interactions between learners have identified and the post- task presentations seemed to make a clear goal for them. In order to achieve the task more successfully, the stronger or the faster learners help the slower ones without any instructions from the teacher. Learners discussed and came up with better strategies to achieve the task on their own. They looked more involved and interested when they work in pairs or groups rather than in a teacher-innitiated activities. In other words, more student-centered and self-regulated class was evident in a group or pair works, at least in this particular class with 3 of 6 graders, 2 of 4th graders and 2 of 2nd graders. The level gap among them due to the age differences has become one of clear decisive measures in grouping or pairing children. The age differences between students also give unique dynamics in the class rather than obstacles. Elder students are more forgiving and supportive with younger ones who are not their siblings and this interesting tendency among elder students make the group or pair work more harmonious and effective for enhancing learning. Moreover, by stepping back and observe their work, I could see what kind of supports they need in order to achieve their tasks in a short term and improve their English proficiency in long term. These findings would help me to plan or revise the next tasks and lessons.
In spite of all the positive outcome of the pair work and group work, excessive usage of L1 has been apparent and troubling me ever since. Almost 100% of student's interactions during the task were conducted in L1 except some moments when I gave them some clues to use phrases that they have already acquired. My dilemma: How can a teacher maximize students L2 usage in group or pair practice in monolingual language class without depriving of their spontaneous interactions and learning opportunities through the work?
I would ask teachers in various settings how they deal with L1 usage in their classes via Survey Monkey and find more research papers on the subject.
I feel like running in a circle chasing my own tale. But my partner who is an experienced researcher says, "It is a part of research and that's how you find your own path."
With this inspiring and encouraging words in mind, I shall start seeking my path again :-)