Re: (teach) Games and ESL
- Richard sez: "I too am a fan of John Taylor Gatto. But
is the Chinese education
system and its students responsive to alternative
First of all, Gatto is as famous as he is infamous.
His enemies are many. But he considers himself a
subversive, a saboteur. Experimentation, cutting edge
methodologies and even the new worldwide commonly
accepted techniques (ie: communicative approach, task
based lessons, etc.) can easily meet opposition in
China. If you want a good excuse for not implementing
something new just ask permission. They will certainly
tell you 'no'.
Secondly, we can understand that the administration
would have problems with deviating from the status
quo, but what is surprising is that even the students
can object. That is because they've been drilled one
way: grammar -- multiple choice quiz -- more grammar.
Don't get me wrong, it's also surprising that they can
learn in this way.
But if you want to do something differently you do
have to explain to the students, and anyone
immediately involved, what you are doing and why you
are doing it and how it is going to be better for them
than what they are already used to.
Although many Chinese talk openly about their problem
of lack of creativity when it comes down to teaching
the students they simply teach them for exams. They
have to do this so students can have the best
opportunity for a good university. Teachers have to do
that so students can have the best opportunity for a
good job. The whole thing is a horrific and vicious
cycle that seems almost impossible to break out of.
Change is difficult and whole books have been written
about 'change management'. So I don't want to fault
anyone on an individual basis. But at the same time
I'm not sure I want to be one of the links in this
chain of bondage.
If we can offer lessons that allow or even challenge
the students to create using their knowledge and
skills and personality then we may be helping them in
a good way.
Sent by ePrompter, the premier email notification
Free download at http://www.ePrompter.com
Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes
- I hope you don�t mind me chipping into this discussion. I`m back from a
month in the Uk and back into old habits.
�Experimentation, cutting edge methodologies and even the new worldwide
commonly accepted techniques (ie: communicative approach, task based
lessons, etc.) can easily meet opposition in China.
This is very true. The ironic thing is that after years of learning using
the grammar-text book approach the communicative approach is exactly what
they need. I`ve seen students going from being afraid to speak any English
to being chatter boxes in a few weeks. Their heads are full of English -
they just don`t use it to speak. Chinese students, generally speaking, think
that if they read English for years then one day they will magically emerge,
like a butterfly from a crysalis ( spelling? ), talking perfect English. As
we all have seen it does not work that way.
Games: I think this is a question of degree depending on the age of the
students. The younger the students the better the reaction to them. I have
noticed however that many Chinese students associate learning with the pain
of hard work. If the pain is not there they often think they are learning
nothing. As far as I can tell, the older the students the more marked this
It`s also a general Chinese characteristic that they see learning as them
listening and the teacher talking. Often this manifests it�s self as a
desire to obtain information from foreign teachers ( whether this is
culture, spoken English or what ever ) but also, interestingly, sometimes as
the belief that just listening to a native speaker talking will greatly
improve their English. This is true but not quite to the extent I feel some
students ( and administrators ) feel it to be true. However it does tend to
give us quite a bit of latitude, no matter what approach we take to
teaching, just as long as they get the opportunity to listen to us.
Kids, however, are just kids and most of them would be happier outside
playing if they had the choice. Games in those circumstances do go down
really well. And it�s what they need!
Conversely I don�t feel that laughter in the classroom with no substance,
from the Chinese perspective of learning, necessarily means the older
students appreciate my teaching style. A relaxed and humorous atmosphere is
conducive to learning, and the Chinese recognise this themselves, but to be
thought of as a good teacher I do need to conform, to a certain degree, to
the teaching style they have been used to all of their lifes. Explaining why
you are doing something does go a long way but I do remember that by the
time they get to University they have had roughly 16,000+ hours of the
Chinese style of teaching and that I`m probably the first foreign teacher
trying to use the communicative approach they have ever met.
Since I switched over to a more lecturing approach ( and trying to meet the
students more in the middle ) the student assessments I have obtained have
improved greatly. This is at a University and I do realise that the focus of
teaching at a University and at a Middle school should be very different.
Send and receive Hotmail on your mobile device: http://mobile.msn.com