I try to minimize lockstepping my students in the classroom. However, some lockstep activities engender an esprit de corps, thus reinforcing retention.
Here's my whole class/guided practice routine for using a required grammar textbook in the classroom:
- The instructor models and the students imitate chorally any warm-up text at the beginning of a unit. The instructor models both slow articulate and fast blended speech production. The fast speech drills must continue until students all demonstrate improvement in their ability to speed up their speaking and blending correctly.
- The instructor models and the students imitate chorally any set of grammar rules. No fast speech drills necessary here.
- The students read the rules to each other while the instructor writes their mnemonics on the board, for example the first letter of each word of a rule.
- The students close their books and attempt to chorally recite the rules given the mnemonic prompts. At this point, the lesson may be expanded for completion of this activity: Rule with Rules
- The students independently or with partners attempt some sets of exercises that check for comprehension and mastery. The instructor circulates, checking for student comprehension and mastery, indicating errors, guiding in error correction.
The independent practice stage of this routine:
- The instructor assigns the students to produce found or created examples of the grammatical structure being learned.
- These examples can be shared on the chalkboard or online forum.
The assessment stage of this routine:
- Students are graded for their ability to correctly apply the grammar rules in context.
- Students are informed of whether or not they have demonstrated sufficient mastery. Students are redirected to self-study activities for remediation.
Note: When students demonstrate improvement in rote memorization, the class advances to this activity: Rule with Rules