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Losing interest in creating interest
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8balldeluxe



Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Location: vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Snolly finally we can be sure this a topic where you are speaking from first hand experience. A jack of all trades has to be expert at something.

Let's look at this teaching method : and I agree it is a 'my way or the highway' approach.
Quote:
point to the door and say
"Thats the door- you can leave anytime you wish- I am not forcing you to stay if you dont like the way I do my lessons. I will write here on the day's follow- on sheet that you have made a complaint. If you want to complain to the management, I will write my name clearly..."



Ok what this is is a behavior technique of establishing control. Not language learning. It's not exactly Cesar Milan. What is your teaching approach?
You wrote:
Quote:
Sorry, but I can not agree with some of the observations made by other posters in this thread, but that's my perception and it works for me.
"Speaking is the last thing students should develop when learning a language."
When we were children, we learnt our native language by 1. Listening, 2 speaking, 3 readinmg, 4 writing. So I disagree speaking is the last component. Speak before read and write.
"you cant learn from another student's mistakes"Yes you can if the class is cooperative, and teacher facilitates-If we dont make mistakes, we dont nmeed to be there-right?


Let's discuss these points. Yes, normally writing is the last thing for second language students, but Vietnamese have such an aversion to speaking even in their own lives that I have placed it last , but reading is second, then writing. Why? First, we are not talking about 1st language acquisition. They are not developing infants and toddlers. This is 2nd language , and the order of acquisition is different.
How can they speak if they do not know the language? Speaking is demonstrating what they already know. How can you learn a word by speaking? If you do not know how to speak and what word to use how can you speak? Recognizing printed words is much easier and takes much less effort for a second language speaker to comprehend. Besides, you are forcing them to speak in your my way or the highway classroom. A sure way to keep students at a strict language mill in line, but not a way to learn.
In fact, putting them on the spot to speak is the surest way I know, to get Vietnamese students to be silent and afraid to participate in a classroom, so you are right it is a good behavior control technique . But not a teaching method.
Students learn nothing from speaking in class with each other. It is a total waste of time, because when students speak together all they are doing is using language they already know, and hearing each other's mistakes. And studies show that in any classroom, the level of language never rises above the level of the most proficient user. Students can not correct each other's mistakes!. They limit each other and create error ridden inter-langauges. My students learn language from music videos TV and comic books and internet. End of story. Not from the same old pairwork survey they have been doing since their first stint in language institute lockdown, my way or the highway.
How can the teacher facilitate their conversations if they do not yet know the words? Is your teacher talk filled with corrections then? . What exactly do you mean by "facilitating"?
" the teacher facilitating" as you say is not a teaching method because students can not learn from conversation or using language and it is not a developing conversation anyway. No one can facilitate. Sounds like you are just riffing with your own overdubs as rythm and bass by the way. Sooner or later someone will notice.
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 350

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Buddy, do you just sit on your ass when students do pair work? It's your job to monitor for errors and come up with creative ways for feedback.

If you're a halfway decent teacher with any rapport whatsoever, you should create an environment that allows the students to feel comfortable speaking. That's why most of them come, to speak, they learn grammar at school and want to actually communicate and correct errors in pronunciation.
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DNK



Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 236
Location: the South

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Facilitating: correct pronunciation when appropriate. Repeat incorrect phrases and collocations a few times correctly to instil proper phrasing and structures. Explain errors in grammar that they have learned but not fully understood or integrated.

Even if they're using incorrect language, I will usually catch the common mistakes throughout one or another exercises. These mistakes can be surprisingly common (literal translations being a primary culprit). That one-on-one correction, plus an end-of-activity class level correction of common mistakes, means that over the course of a course they should be able to self-correct or pair-correct more common speaking mistakes. Less common ones are just that, and saying them once or twice isn't going to ingrain them too badly, whatever they are.

Even while listening to one pair, I can usually listen to one or two more if the speaker is loud enough.
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biliana



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8balldeluxe, a breath of fresh air!

At last, someone who really knows what they are talking about.
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snollygoster



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:00 am    Post subject: Behaviour control Reply with quote

Behaviour control and teaching methodology are hardly the same thing.
AND
Its a fact we speak before we read/write. I have never met a normal toddler who could write but not speak.
Yes its good to have someone who really knows what they are talking about-there were many much more well-known and distinguished and well accredited linguists before 8 ball, who do not agree with writing before speaking.

I think I will continue to do what seems to be in demand, and continue to enjoy a degree of class-room control and learning management that has my students achieving over the average, but thanks for the suggestions.
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Jbhughes



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's excellent that there's a discussion more about actual teaching, rather than the usual squabbling and nit-picking over the usual topics.

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that Vietnamese learners are quite a homogeneous group, so discussions of how to do deal with them in general surely can be of great benefit to all. Perhaps if we tried to calm ourselves a little and avoid the personal attacks, we could herald a new era where we all actually try to help each other out a bit and get together on things. Does anyone think that other groups of foreigners in other countries are this disparate and have this amount of in-fighting and bickering?

As for the topic in hand. I don't claim to be an expert teacher and even after a few years experience, I'm still grappling with the best ways of dealing with the VN. Maybe I can form a few questions, if not comments to steer the discussion a little all the same. Assume all my comments are about adult learners.

There seems to be a lot of references to second language learning as being the same as first language learning. This seems at odds with what I learnt in my CELTA (perhaps those who have researched SLA as part of theses etc can pitch in). It also seems at odds with common sense, too. When we acquired our mother tongues, we were exceptionally young and our brains were different. We weren't particularly cognitively aware, we weren't able to apply any critical thinking to learning, we didn't have experience of other learning to fall back on, but our brains were like sponges designed to soak it all up and spit it all out. Surely these (and other) factors dictate a different approach to learning and therefore teaching?

There have been a lot of comments regarding can do this and can't do that. Surely it would be better to dicuss how to make something possible or whether a not a certain approach should be done or will be successful?

There have been several claims that students can't self-correct and won't peer-correct. I find it very surprising that we would wash some major terms in ESL/EFL just like that. In my classes, I have made activities where self and peer correction were promoted and happened. It wasn't difficult, I simply demonstrated that if what they hear is wrong, they correct their partner and if what they hear is right, they praise them. I drilled the praisal and correctional language, then wrote up the mini-dialogues on the board for the slower sts. The target language wasn't overly complicated and the activity wasn't particularly exciting, but self- and peer-correction happened. I'm sure others could write up some more creative activities that further encourage correction. Further, we can elicit self-correction from sts by prompting them (a rather obvious point, I'm sure).
A better question would now be: Should we encourage self- and peer- correction, and if so, under what circumstances and what other activities/approaches should we use?
I feel that peer- and self- correction are important, because they make sts more aware of the various features of language that they are getting wrong. I also consider them to be something which (just like teacher-based correction) needs to be handled with care, as sts can get a little carried away and too much correction upsets young VN adults (hence the inclusion of praising).

Coming back to the order of language skill acquisition question. One of the main (if not THE main) issues with VN pronunciation is errors stemming from confusion with L1, very often pronouncing the written English word using the relevant phonetic features of written Vietnamese words. It is for this reason that I believe sts should hear and pronounce new language before writing it down. Surely the main reason we are here is to promote accurate and fluent speaking. How many times have we been told now that 'VN teachers can teach grammar and writing better than foreign teachers' (not a claim I agree with, but I think most will agree that this is the area that foreign teachers are often used most for)?
I think it's very easy to compare the approaches in the classroom, find two words of similar difficulty for sts to pronounce that they don't know. Write one on the board and drill it with them. For the second one, get them to look at your mouth and drill it with them. Notice how much more they pay attention on the second example.
If anyone advocates teaching phonics to adults, I am interested, tell us how and why? Preferably not can and can't.

Come on people, let's get together a bit more and help each other out, christ, no-one else will.
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8balldeluxe



Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Location: vietnam

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

snolly wrote:
Quote:
Behaviour control and teaching methodology are hardly the same thing.

But then why are you describing your behavior control technique and saying it is your teaching method? It's a my way or the highway, here' the door like it or leave remedy to sum up your teaching, and saying that is the key to your teaching approach?
That is not methodology so you can not attribuite any teaching success to that. If you are "in demand" for that . It means schools like how strict you are. From your writing style I wonder if you even hear what students are saying at all. Do you teach English somewhere?
and he wrote:
Quote:
Its a fact we speak before we read/write. I have never met a normal toddler who could write but not speak.

You said that last time. Where were you when I pointed out in my last post that you are not teaching toddlers, and for older students who already know language the order of acquisition is different? Are you teaching toddlers? Is there any taxonomy to your understanding of language acquisition? All language development experts agree for elementary through adults the order of acquisition is very different from infants and toddlers. When you teach training to adults , do you think of their language development as being along the lines of toddler age? That is not a good solution, I dont think so at all.

Kurtz wrote
Quote:
Buddy, do you just sit on your ass when students do pair work? It's your job to monitor for errors and come up with creative ways for feedback.

If you're a halfway decent teacher with any rapport whatsoever, you should create an environment that allows the students to feel comfortable speaking. That's why most of them come, to speak,


First of all they are really not comfortable in speaking exercises in classes and building a rapport is not the same as using the resource pack material in the textbook, or doing the various la di da that goes with it. Facilitating is not rapport. Rapport is when two kids talk about the favorite football match. Facilitating is when you make them talk about their favorite football match, and wait and monitor and correct. Not gonna happen .
I do not believe that pairwork activities as written in the books actually works. You spend so much time explaining the directions, and the first things the students do is show each other their so called student A and student B parts and work together to solve them without following the order. They jump all around and answer whatever question they want, and often don't even speak they just write the answers. It's true. Using a lesson like pair work where they are told to hide the papers from each other does not work. That is not normal so how can you teach language that way? And "monitoring". What is that ? Bobbing around the room dropping in on pairs and interrupting and correcting them? What happens when you interrupt? They stop talking immediately. Great way to make them feel comfortable. If so then they are not really speaking. That is not a conversation, that is scripted talk. I don't see where the rapport is in that.


Last edited by 8balldeluxe on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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snollygoster



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:32 am    Post subject: Dont think Reply with quote

"I dont think at all."
Well said 8 ball.

It seems I must be totally wrong and I am totally confused about my methods.
I guess I will just give up what I am doing and go and eat some worms.

Someone else said ACET fell down because I can't spell classroom/ class room the way he/she does. I admit it. They went bankrupt because of that actually, and whilst I am at I have to admit I am also personally responsible for the downfall of the third reich, the Roman Empire, and the Enron debacle. Global warming is all down to me too, as are recent nuclear accidents.

I will be more careful in future, and will stop being so successful with my English teaching- I promise- Mia culpa!
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8balldeluxe



Joined: 03 Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Location: vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But you have not mentioned anything about methods. Other than explaining the exit sign and how to write a complaint letter and "facilitating" . Whatever that means. How can anyone criticize your methods when you have not named even one? Do not worry. No one will assume you are anything but a professional teacher of the highest order just because you do not answer a question, methods are trade secrets, it is a well-known fact.
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 350

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddballdeluxe - I usually stay out of these types of conversations because of certain types of English teachers; namely, ones who think they've got it all figured out and scoff and mock other people whose methods differ to their own. Everyone has their own methods so if something is working for them, why change it ? Not because such and such person did a study and found this or some geezer on the internet says I do it like this so you're all wrong in your methodology. Pity teachers are such an uptight bunch, at least on forums like these, it kind of defeats the purpose of them.

Rapport to me is getting the students on your side and creating an environment where the Ss enjoy being in class with me and with each other which results in them being confident enough to speak.

Pair work in my experience doesn't work so well with YL or teen students or immature adults but given the right class and material, it can work well.

I shouldn't have to tell you monitoring involves the teacher listening and NOT interrupting. You write down the errors and correct as a class when the activity is over. Only an inexperienced or dumb teacher interrupts fluency, keep your mouth closed when monitoring.


Last edited by kurtz on Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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biliana



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Vietnam

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When someone drops the odd Latin phrase it's usually a sign that the writer has a sound educational background.

However when it's misspelled it speaks volumes: not about educational background, but about the writer!
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TRH



Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 162
Location: HCMC

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:02 am    Post subject: Sarcasm? Reply with quote

snollygoster wrote:
...Someone else said ACET fell down because I can't spell classroom/ class room the way he/she does....I will be more careful in future, and will stop being so successful with my English teaching- I promise- Mia culpa!
biliana wrote:
When someone drops the odd Latin phrase it's usually a sign that the writer has a sound educational background.

However when it's misspelled it speaks volumes: not about educational background, but about the writer!
Not to take sides here but I think others got the intention of the misspelling in the first post. If not mea culpa. Smile
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BenE



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 271

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting advice here. I must say some of it I'll take with a pinch of salt and some of it I'll throw out the window.

I find the sort of teacher that just waffles on to Elementary/Pre-Int students pretty damn useless but maybe some students are captivated by the size of said teacher's ego. You need a mix of Pair work and group activities with some controlled speaking as well to get any kind of results. The teacher is there to also encourage as well as correct people so it's a balance of both.

I think saying Vietnamese find it hard to speak is absurd. Maybe I haven't lived here as long as some of you (since 2009) but people in Hanoi never stop talking to me in both English and Vietnamese.

As for the writing/speaking debate it depends on the learner and how they pick things up. Saying the glorious phrase 'the Vietnamese' won't get you very far and maybe will turn you into one of those teachers I see sitting on their high pedestal lecturing the primitive Vietnamese on the glorious English language.
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inhanoi



Joined: 22 Oct 2011
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's perhaps petty, but that "mia culpa" was definitely an error, not a joke.

BenE: "but maybe some students are captivated by the size of said teacher's ego..."

Very true. I'd add that some students are captivated by the size of the teacher's stomach.
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snollygoster



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:15 am    Post subject: stomach Reply with quote

"some students are captivated by the size of the teacher's stomach"
An interesting observation, but quite true.
The origin of the interest in the size of a person's stomach lies in the past when it was considered that a male with a large stomach must have enough money to maintain it, so therefore must have enough to maintain a prospective wife. So some of my Vietnamese tell me.
(I have not checked this entry for spelling as we seem to have our own spell-checker on this forum.)
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