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The problem with: Teacher Talking Time (TTT)

The problem

In the EFL universe, you sometimes hear reference to the idea of TTT or Teaching Talking Time. The concept is used to explain to teachers that talking incessantly at learners might not be a good idea. Therefore, teachers ought to be mindful of the balance between how much time they spend talking versus how much time learners spend talking.

Why is this a problem?

I have always been surprised that any teacher would need to have this explained to them. What kind of person goes into a classroom thinking that talking more than learners would be a good idea? However, in reality, there are quite a lot of teachers who do this. I won’t forget a teacher at Coleg Gwent who did nothing but talk throughout the entirety of lessons with zero student participation or engagement. I often hear this happening in EFL classrooms as well – this seems to be a profession made up of people who really do like the sound of their own voices and who do have a tendency to go on a bit.

The solution 

Teacher Talking Time is never an issue if the learners are your primary focus in the classroom. If, however, you are in the teaching game because you like holding authority over other people and you do love the sound of your own voice, then I can imagine someone might need to explain that you should change your approach.

I think the solution to thinking about Teacher Talking Time is to adopt a person-centred approach to your teaching. This makes it impossible to talk more than your learners in the classroom.

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