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Re: Saudi students

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  • efling1980
    Thanks for all your advice on this particular problem. The situation is rather different from normal I think as the guys I m teaching are there for a 30 week
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 3, 2006
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      Thanks for all your advice on this particular problem. The
      situation is rather different from normal I think as the guys I'm
      teaching are there for a 30 week course beginner to fluency; and as
      some of them have stated they maxed out after a month and since then
      everything has simply been flying over their heads. 'whipping a
      dead horse' has never been used more appropriately. Since these
      guys are in a level way too high for them (because of the system) I
      thought dogme may be just the thing for them. Although it worked
      quite well to a cetain extent; it doesn't work in the fact that 'you
      give an inch they take a mile'.

      I am starting to think that Dogme can only be used in a situation
      where students are self-motivated and used to such situations. At
      the moment we have reverted back to a much more controlled situation
      because giving too much freedom ends in bedlam.

      What do you think about that?

      James
    • Dennis Newson
      James, My first thought is that it is fascinating to think of someone trying out a dogme approach in Arabia. My second thought is that I d much rather hear
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 3, 2006
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        James,

        My first thought is that it is fascinating to think of someone trying out a
        dogme approach in Arabia.

        My second thought is that I'd much rather hear others from the dogme list
        commenting on your experience than write much myself.

        My couple of sentences are that the teacher/instructor must accept that
        local systems and attitudes are going to prescribe what he/she can do in the
        classroom.

        It sounds crucial that you say or imply that your leaerners are not very
        motivated to learn.


        Dennis


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      • Gary Harwell
        As someone who is currently teaching in Saudi Arabia I can give a couple of insights into the Saudi Students. Many people assume that because the students are
        Message 3 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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          As someone who is currently teaching in Saudi Arabia I
          can give a couple of insights into the Saudi Students.

          Many people assume that because the students are
          different and don't speak English that they are not
          bright. This makes them easy targets. Incorrect
          Assumption!

          The more enlightened the students are the easier they
          are to teach. My current class is composed of ALL
          University Graduates. Bright, intelligent and can
          carry on a conversation about almost anythig with
          their own ideas and opinions.

          An example.... I asked the class what the weight of
          Fire was. A student voluntered and got up and gave a
          presentation on finding the weight of Fire. His
          language was good and very adequate for the task and
          he did a great job.

          It all works differently but you have to see them as
          people and friends as well as have the general feeling
          that they are not bad people. This helps.

          Gary L. Harwell
          International House-Jubail

          PS... Oh yes, the weight of fire is .0066 pi.
        • Jkmoliver@aol.com
          May I suggest something which works for my Arab students as I too have similar problems. I know that whilst most are used to more formal grammar training, it
          Message 4 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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            May I suggest something which works for my Arab students as I too have
            similar problems. I know that whilst most are used to more formal grammar
            training, it doesn't really work with them because they don't like it. I have
            written a whole load of simple scripts to suit every imaginable situation which
            they role play in class. The scripts can be cut up, used for substitution,
            used for jigsaw learning, and built upon the better they get at the language. I
            take the grammar as it comes.

            I find that they love playing games and this is something which most of them
            find absorbing and useful. Dialogue scripts are essentially the springboard
            to further language use. Just remember to make your scripts personal to
            them and their lives - and add some humour.

            This works for me - you can but try to see if it works for you!

            NB: you can add a further dimension by recording them!

            Best wishes,
            Kathy.


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          • Dennis Newson
            Kathy, That approach sounds good to me, and if your learners enjoy it... I ve got my parchute on, so do shoot me down , fellow and fellowin dogmetists if you
            Message 5 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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              Kathy,

              That approach sounds good to me, and if your learners enjoy it...

              I've got my parchute on, so do shoot me down , fellow and fellowin
              dogmetists if you must, but it seems to me that the original dogme approach
              was predicated on (to use a clumsy phrase) certain cultural attitudes to
              learning foreign languages that are not worldwide i.e. universal. Surely
              classical dogme assumes that learners have interests and opinions that they
              want to articulate in public, with the help of their mentor. Isn't it true,
              though, that this is not universally so?


              Dennis


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            • Diarmuid Fogarty
              A.S. Neill used to say that students at Summerhill needed time to get used to the idea of freedom. In the meantime, they often ran amok. Of course, they were
              Message 6 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                A.S. Neill used to say that students at Summerhill needed time to get used to the idea of freedom. In the meantime, they often ran amok. Of course, they were young children, but maybe the idea holds true for all ages.

                I think it's important to set some sort of parameters and to use your position to structure the conversation that takes place in the classroom.

                Diarmuid

                >>> "efling1980" <efling1980@...> 07/03/06 8:07 pm >>>

                Thanks for all your advice on this particular problem. The
                situation is rather different from normal I think as the guys I'm
                teaching are there for a 30 week course beginner to fluency; and as
                some of them have stated they maxed out after a month and since then
                everything has simply been flying over their heads. 'whipping a
                dead horse' has never been used more appropriately. Since these
                guys are in a level way too high for them (because of the system) I
                thought dogme may be just the thing for them. Although it worked
                quite well to a cetain extent; it doesn't work in the fact that 'you
                give an inch they take a mile'.

                I am starting to think that Dogme can only be used in a situation
                where students are self-motivated and used to such situations. At
                the moment we have reverted back to a much more controlled situation
                because giving too much freedom ends in bedlam.

                What do you think about that?

                James




                ----------



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              • Diarmuid Fogarty
                I won t shoot you down, but I have yet to come across a culture where people don t have SOME interests or opinions that they are happy to articulate in public.
                Message 7 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                  I won't shoot you down, but I have yet to come across a culture where people don't have SOME interests or opinions that they are happy to articulate in public.

                  Diarmuid



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                • MCJ
                  ... Personal rapport is very important with Arab students. Relationships are everything and it is really a very good idea to learn all your students names and
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                    Gary Harwell wrote:

                    >
                    > It all works differently but you have to see them as
                    > people and friends as well as have the general feeling
                    > that they are not bad people. This helps.
                    >
                    > Gary L. Harwell
                    > International House-Jubail
                    > .___
                    >

                    > .
                    >
                    >


                    Personal rapport is very important with Arab students. Relationships are
                    everything and it is really a very good idea to learn all your students
                    names and use them constantly. They love to hear you call their name and
                    ask them things. It sounds like really pedantic advice but I know lots
                    of teachers who don't know their students' names.

                    The other assumption that you can make about Saudi students, in
                    particular, besides the fact that they like you, is that they all know
                    English. Every one of them comes to you with at least six years of EFL
                    instruction behind them. If they cannot speak, then you have to uncover
                    the reason for this. Usually, it is because of a poor understanding of
                    what they are being asked to do. Find something that your student can
                    do, and ask him to do that. Then extend it. Treat them like people, like
                    individuals. Praise everyone and promise them easy exams! Let them write
                    their own exams. They are so exam focused, exam writing always interests
                    them.

                    Acknowledge difficulty. If they cannot distinguish between /p/ and /b/
                    invite them to teach you to tell the difference between /daad/ and /dal/
                    - it isn't easy.

                    Omar in Riyadh
                  • Jkmoliver@aol.com
                    As a post script to my earlier suggestion about the use of scripts, I think it s important to add that since learning has to come from the learner, in a class
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                      As a post script to my earlier suggestion about the use of scripts, I think
                      it's important to add that since learning has to come from the learner, in a
                      class which is proving to be difficult have you tried a learning-styles
                      approach? Have you also tried asking them what they like and don't like about
                      your classes so that you can fit in with them more? I have often changed whole
                      courses based on what my students liked and didn't like about my classes.

                      If you can find out what motivates them I think you will have success.

                      Best wishes,
                      Kathy


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                    • mary saunders
                      Hi I m new and have been following the posts. I too think that building on scripts works! Although it seems artificial by dogme terms the
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                        Hi


                        I'm new and have been following the posts. I too think that building on scripts works! Although it seems 'artificial' by dogme terms the pseudo-artificiality can lend some bravado to some ELLs.

                        Mary


                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Jkmoliver@...
                        To: dogme@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Tuesday, July 4, 2006 7:52:19 AM
                        Subject: Re: [dogme] Re: Saudi students


                        As a post script to my earlier suggestion about the use of scripts, I think
                        it's important to add that since learning has to come from the learner, in a
                        class which is proving to be difficult have you tried a learning-styles
                        approach? Have you also tried asking them what they like and don't like about
                        your classes so that you can fit in with them more? I have often changed whole
                        courses based on what my students liked and didn't like about my classes.

                        If you can find out what motivates them I think you will have success.

                        Best wishes,
                        Kathy

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                      • Dennis Newson
                        Kathy asks: Have you also tried asking them what they like and don t like about your classes so that you can fit in with them more? I think there are two
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                          Kathy asks:

                          "Have you also tried asking them what they like and don't like about
                          your classes so that you can fit in with them more? "

                          I think there are two difficulties with this approach, though it has to be
                          said that the importance it gives to the learn voice is crucial.

                          1. In some cultures the very idea of telling the teacher what was wrong
                          are anathema.
                          2. Students are not necessarily good judges of what they need and don't
                          need in language learning terms. Students should most certainly be asked
                          what they like and dislike, but their answers need handling with a degree of
                          expertise.

                          Dennis


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                        • Jkmoliver@aol.com
                          I wholly agree, but needs are different from likes. I mean, you can address their needs, which the teacher may decide for them, in a way that they like. I
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jul 4, 2006
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                            I wholly agree, but needs are different from likes. I mean, you can address
                            their needs, which the teacher may decide for them, in a way that they
                            like. I also think that you can find out what they like perhaps not through
                            direct questioning but through experimentation with different techniques. It
                            becomes obvious that they then respond to things they like.

                            Kathy.


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