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Re: Is oral English with 58 students per class possible?

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  • fshdt
    Large Classes, Rob Nolasco and Lois Arthur, Prentice Hall 1988 is quite useful though it s a long time since I read it. There isn t an easy answer. Some local
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 31, 2002
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      Large Classes, Rob Nolasco and Lois Arthur, Prentice Hall 1988 is
      quite useful though it's a long time since I read it.

      There isn't an easy answer. Some local teachers go for choral drilling
      but I don't see this as helping students to converse. One answer is
      group work, but you have to spend some time demonstrating the worth of
      group work. Many learners do not want to listen to their classmates.
      They feel that they are bad models for English speaking and they have
      come from an environment of transmission teaching where only the
      teacher has anything useful to say.

      You could explain in short simple words, using short simple sums
      concerning student speaking time per lesson with a class of 58 (46.5
      seconds per student provided the teacher keeps their mouth shut) to
      the administration that this class size is not conducive to learning
      to speak and that as the news leaks out, this will eventually affect
      the school's reputation. A threat to withdraw might get you a better
      deal. It might lose you the job but with 58 in a class, would you be
      losing too much?

      Some classes in Macau are around 60+. The results are inevitable and
      clear for all to see. 12 years of wasted time.

      Dick
    • dk
      David Kirkpatrick asked about how to do class discussions for 58 students for 15 45-minute classes per week. You must check Roger s TEFL-China website. URL
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 31, 2002
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        David Kirkpatrick asked about how to do class discussions for 58
        students for 15 45-minute classes per week.

        You must check Roger's TEFL-China website. URL listed at the
        bottom of this message. The website is one of the best
        collections of ideas and materials that I've found on the
        Internet. The problem with Dave's ESL Cafe is that there is too
        much on that site. There is the (1) the good, (2) the bad, and
        (3) the ugly. So that equals only 30% of usable material.

        Lecturing or even conversing with such a large group is not
        really difficult. The real challenge is to get them ALL talking
        for most of the 45-minutes. If you have 58 students and if each
        one spoke with you they would talk less than one-minute.

        So the answer is group and pairwork. And this sort of activity
        should be either fun or interesting or both. There are a lot of
        boring pair work activities, don't do this to your class. Being
        boring is the AIDS of English teachers. It is the worst thing
        that can happen to you. Practice 'safe' teaching and keep your
        class alive.

        In a following message I'll offer a groupwork activity using
        playing cards. And if you want, I can send you a PowerPoint that
        is sort of a stock-trading game that my students went crazy about
        and students in other classes were begging for.

        I also suggest that you develop a routine. I learned this from
        watching David Letterman and I've talked about it so much on this
        list that I think most people are tired of it. So to put it
        briefly, David follows a pattern everynight, he just varies the
        content. People like varity. You can make a general plan of a few
        things you do every class. For example:

        1. Story. 5-10 minutes. Tell a story about something that
        happened to you last week, something in the news, a story from
        your country or when you were a child. Everyone likes stories.
        This is a good way to begin because they don't have to do
        anything, just listen.

        2. Idiom. 5-10 minutes. Students really like to learn idioms.
        Teach the 2 or 3 of them. Then they could practice with their
        partner. (Please do me a favor and teach them to NOT say, "The
        coin has two sides..." or any variations of this coin idiom. It
        is comically overused in China.)

        3. Textbook. 10-30 minutes. Some textbooks are very boring but
        some schools require that you use them. Some textbooks are great
        and interesting but I assume you don't have one and that is why
        you are asking this question.

        4. Game or discussion group/pairwork. 10-30 minutes.

        Something like that.

        Figure out your own routine. Then each week you have to fill in
        the four blanks. "Let's see, I can tell them the story about...
        and we'll do the next idiom on the list... and then the next two
        pages in the book... and I'll choose a game from the website."

        If something doesn't work, change the routine.

        Keep the class moving. Keep yourself moving. If someone is
        staring out the window or reading a book during class don't
        correct them. Correct yourself. How can you get that guy's
        attention? Make that guy your challenge. Talk in a whisper and
        watch everyone put down their distractions and lean forward to
        hear what you say. Stop in mid-sentence and stare into the
        air...boy, do they want to know what you're thinking. Bodily
        demonstrate what you are saying. If you are talking about riding
        a bike then pretend there's a bike underneath you and you are
        pedalling. (My students love to see me do this.)

        The challenge is to make your lesson so engaging, so interesting,
        so alive, that she doesn't want to daydream about her boyfriend
        and he doesn't want to read that basketball magazine, all they
        want is you and your class.

        Best wishes,

        Dave Kees
        Guangzhou
      • Roland David
        dk wrote: (Please do me a favor and teach them to NOT say, The coin has two sides... or any variations of this coin idiom.
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 1, 2002
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          dk <davkees@...> wrote:
          (Please do me a favor and teach them to NOT say, "The
          coin has two sides..." or any variations of this coin idiom. It
          is comically overused in China.)

          Hi Dave,thank you for your wonderful incite and suggestions.One observation I would make about the coin idiom "there are two sides to every coin".I have discovered by having my students interpret each word in a phrase I am trying to learn in chinese is, that they do not construct there sentence the same way we do in english.However there meaning and intent are exactly the same.

          dave r
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