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8 Students 'walk out' of Intermediate class - absenteeism
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 8:05 pm    Post subject: 8 Students 'walk out' of Intermediate class - absenteeism Reply with quote

Yeah folks....Date Thursday 18 December...a teacher at this school teaches a class from 6-9pm.

Tonight was the 4th lesson with the students and out of 11 students at the start of class, 8 of them left after the second break at 8pm (when one hour of class remained).

Some of the students mentioned that there was an important football match this evening (Fenerbahce with another team). But still - 8 students leaving before the end seems uncalled for and a slap in the face.

Other teachers at the school mention that there is a lot of absenteeism in their classes. One South African teacher had a delegation of students from his Elementary section go to the principal to complain about the way he was teaching. The students claimed that the South African teacher was giving them too many 'other materials' (like crosswords etc...) and they were very unhappy. The South African teacher also reports high levels of absenteeism from his classes. Seems to be a Turkish phenomenon.

Another teacher at the school reports that the Turkish students are 'unable to think in a creative way' - that is to say...if the students are asked to voice opinions on anything out of the ordinary, they are unable to do so. In short they lack imagination and insight. Stereotypical thinking one might say.

Having taught previously in many Latin American locales, one did not see these things happening.

We are using the Headway Series...and presently doing the pages to do with National characteristics. Pages 37-42.

When teachers prepare diligently for the classes and get the above results it really makes them question why they should bother.

Just want an opinion from others teaching in the language schools on the general subject of absenteeism and motivation in general. Some of the students here just sit there with blank faces. The South African teacher reports the same depressing attitudes. And one student ran out of his class berating him because he objected to being told to stop chatting in class. Remember these are University students at one of the Turkish top 10 Unis. ...they are the future leaders of the nation?

No smart alec remarks please...
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dmb



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Posts: 8397

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What sort of remarks would you like?
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FGT



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 761
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was teaching tonight from 6.30 to 9 pm. None of my students left. We use Headway. All students were involved. I encourage them to chat in English.
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yaramaz



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 2345
Location: Not where I was before

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't teach last night so I can't comment on the game and its effect on attendance. However, in my evening course, 2 hrs a night, 3 nights a week, I have pretty consistent attendance. My students are business men and women, most in their 20s and 30s. After a lot of shuffling during the first few weeks- people coming and going and sitting in to see if they were interested- it has settled down to exactly seven very happy students who are only absent due to illness or business trips. It is a 2 hour conversation class at the end of a usually very long business day and my students are often exhausted but they put in a lot of effort and so do I because I know how hard it is for them to be there. We have no text book so all the material is my own, pulled from all sorts of sources. We have great discussions and often very engaged activities (they were particularly enthusiastic about one last week where I had them pose as journalists and their choice of historical figures in a press conference... George Bush, Sultan Mehmet, Tarkan, and Sophia Loren were a hoot!!!!)

I don't think Turkish students are any lazier or stupid or uncreative than my students from other countries (though admittedly, I loved it when my Mexican kids used to compose 4 part harmony songs about a reading passage we covered)... I mean honestly, it takes creativity and humour to somehow decide that GW Bush is a direct descendant of Sultan Mehmet and to weave a great story around it.... and it takes non traditional thinking to talk about my subject from earlier this week: ghosts, ESP, the unexplained, etc. It was so popular that we spent 2 days on it. Brilliant stuff.

And I live in a city infamous in Turkey for its conservatism, materialism, and narrow mindedness.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 11:52 am    Post subject: Foreigners at a disadvantage Reply with quote

Today a veteran teacher (a Turkish guy) at the 'Amerikan Kültür Dernegi' in this city told us that if students come unprepared for his KPDS classes (advanced English) - he sends them home. The Turkish teacher further recognized that it is easier for him to be authoritative because he is Turkish, but that his brand of discipline would be difficult for foreign teachers to apply because the students in Turkey view us differently to the Turkish teachers. One may infer from the above that they (the students) respect us less.

Further - the Turkish teacher of English (KPDS classes) told us that his students are learning every word in the Dictionary by heart...yes you read it.....EVERY WORD....This teacher usually makes the students learn the words by telling them to learn all the words under 'A' for one week. Then the next week they move on to 'B' and so on. These students might know more words than we (natives) know at the end of the course. But this is further proof about the soul destroying, boring, methodology prevalent in this country.

The Turkish teacher further informed us that there is little we can do about the absenteeism because the students are paying for the classes and it is their call. He does not tolerate it....but we foreigners have to put up with it. All of this is ufortunate for us.
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FGT



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 761
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Burcu (a student) says: We respect foreign teachers more than Turkish teachers because we can learn the difference between Turkish thinking and foreign thinking. And it helps us to learn about a different culture and it's more fun. For that reason, we don't want to miss more than a couple of lessons in a six month course. Also, our teacher, doesn't let us come into the class if we are late. This shows that he (a foreigner) can use discipline. "if you have no authority in class, it's your fault."

First part was semi-dictated to me. The part in quotes is verbatim. FGT
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 9:21 am    Post subject: what should one do ? Reply with quote

One wonders how long a certain poster with spooky appearance will last in Turkey. His days are numbered one would think.

After all one does not have to stay in a place one finds uncongenial.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 12:34 pm    Post subject: TOEFL no preparation Reply with quote

Teacher was also given a TOEFL class to teach.

Unfortunately no accompanying tapes have been provided for the listening sections. Yet....

A Turkish teacher of English in this city thinks that TOEFL should be mainly taught by Turks because they (the Turkish teachers of TOEFL) are able to explain key grammar points and other aspects of the English language in Turkish. This is sometimes necessary. Most foreign teachers do not have mastery of the Turkish language.

Any comments on TOEFL teaching in general and what preparations and methods you use for teaching TOEFL courses? Do you also 'team teach' with another Turkish teacher who teaches the same course?

The Turkish students often engage in 'back stabbing' the yabanci teachers behind their backs and comparing them (the yabanci teachers)
with the Turkish teachers. This is a sad aspect of teaching here.

One particular teacher here is seriously considering resignation before end of contract and a job opening will be available in this city of 500.000, with a heavy student population. One of the highest University student populations in the nation. If this happens (watch this space for updates) here are the details.

General conditions: 28 hours a week. Some mornings and mostly evening classes between 6-9pm. Weekend work finishes at 6pm.

Perks: Free teas at school.

Salary: Between 1 milyar to 1.200.000.000 depending on experience.

Teaching: Teach Elementary to Advanced levels including TOEFL and KPDS. Mostly using the Headway Series.

Days off: One day off always during the week.

Accommodation: Free accommodation in a flat with bill sharing. Or subsidized accommodation in a Hotel or Pansiyon. The flat share has Digiturk cable t.v. system with all the usual channels (CNN., B.B.C., Eurosport, M.T.V. etc.....). Bills in winter about 100.000.000 (cold city with snow). Bills in spring and summer - about 50.000.000. Bills to be shared between the students and the school.

Student profile: 95% University students.
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dmb



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Posts: 8397

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any TOEFL student who needs a turkish explanation of the grammar shouldn't be in the class
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FGT



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Posts: 761
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm 100% with dmb on that.
We vet our prospective toefl students and if they are not ready, suggest they do a general language course before they start to prepare for an exam course. Toefl prep is taught in an English medium by a native speaker.
This week had a student who took the level test and had an interview, both of which showed he was a false beginner (he understood some basic questions, could reply with one word answers, had zero production of past simple etc) he needed to get 5.5 ielts in February. He was prepared to pay any money for intensive/one to one or whatever. We just told him it wasn't possible. I wish other schools weren't so willing to take money off gullible students - Turkish teacher for toefl! I ask you??!!
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Byzantine



Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Posts: 55
Location: Southwest

PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2003 10:41 pm    Post subject: TOEFL Reply with quote

Teaching TOEFL is difficult. At least I thought it was. I'm convinced two of the best things to teach students are:

1) learn to look for the wrong answers and eliminate them (you can usually knock one or two off pretty quickly

2) on the Listening section, eliminate just about anything from the answers that sounds like something they heard in the text

Good luck.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 5:04 am    Post subject: Am or Br ? Reply with quote

I have been in schools where ONLY US CITIZENS were allowed to teach TOEFL ! You see the idioms are too difficult for the Brits.

It is a bit like the looney notes on some books by US authors translated into German . "Translated from the American"

As if American were a separate language - as Webster the dictionary man wanted !
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Byzantine



Joined: 19 Sep 2003
Posts: 55
Location: Southwest

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:05 am    Post subject: Toefl and Yanks Reply with quote

Scot, I was always suspicious of that! Very Happy

Seemed more like a convenient excuse for getting out of it, at least at my school. I don't want to teach it. Don't look at me. Let's give it to the Americans, it's their test.

a stupid test
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 9:05 am    Post subject: toefl is oyfil Reply with quote

I agree that it is a pretty awful test - for teachers and students.

I have lost count over the years in Saudi how many eager fathers have asked if the TOEL can be completed by a student with zero English after one month.

Now that US colleges are not so popular with our Saudi students the popularity of the TOEFL has fallen somewhat.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 2:49 pm    Post subject: TOEFL Reply with quote

Yes - one has to agree with the posters who say that only those students who have the required level (advanced?) should be eligible to take the TOEFL course. And later the exam.

All the posters' students in this school are Intermediate. Some of the students have trouble stringing a coherent 'error free' sentence together. Have hinted that this is not the way things should be done to management to no avail. Out of a class of about 10 students only 2-3 appear to have some chance...the rest - a lost cause at the moment. They would need to spend the next year reading extensively in English and noting and remembering new vocab. to stand any chance. As most (if not all) the students confess to disliking reading as an activity - hard.

Doing the reading comp. passages at the moment, and it is a bit of a joke, because in each short passage there are many words that the students don't know.

The whole thing is even more difficult - because most people now take the TOEFL by computer, and this means that once they (the testees) have taken a question on the computer, they cannot go back to the question for later correction (as was the case with the paper version in the past).

One poster stated that it is nonsense to differentiate English between British and American variety. He is wrong, one thinks. Because the two varieties are different. For us (native speakers) the differences are not glaring. But for a non native speaker the differences are more obvious.

Did you know, for example, that prospective British students (who wish to study in American Universities) who take the American S.A.T. test in Britain (this is a test for entry to American Universities) typically have substantial trouble with the verbal portions. Why? - because of the idiomatic American usage on the test.

Further - British students who take the G.R.E. and G.MAT. tests (entry to American Graduate schools) also have problems on the verbal for the same reasons.
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