This week I participated in the #ELTchat session called “Effective ways to minimize TTT (Teacher Talking Time) and maximize STT (Student Talking Time)”. It moved fast, with the tweets flying fast and furious. I relied on my usual coping strategy of following the moderators as they guided the session. I was retweeting (RT) comments and remarks that struck me as worthy of repeating.
All the while I was thinking to myself: “Isn’t there a rule of thumb that teachers are supposed to speak something like a ratio of 20:80? Don’t we call this the 80/20 Rule?” From someplace, somewhere, somehow – that number is hardwired into my brain.
“Who is responsible for that?”, I wondered. Jeremy Harmer? Scott Thornbury? Penny Ur? Lindsay Clandfield? Hugh Dellar? Jim Scrivener? Shelly Terrell? Marisa Constantinides? My CELTA teacher (what was her name?) (I remember: Lise Bell, what a great teacher she was.) My DELTA teacher? (Christine Ng, also a superb teacher)
I got up and looked at the numerous “How to Teach” books on my bookshelf by these and many more authors. No, no, and yet no again.
I couldn’t find a specific mention of an 80-20 rule. So I thought, “That’s strange. There’s something hardwired in my brain, and it’s apparently something that no one has written about at any length. At least, not in ELT.”
Well here’s a question: How do you know when you’re talking too much? I turned to Ferris Buehler for help in answering this question.
See you after the video for “Part Two: The 80-20 Rule Re-Visited”…