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huge classes with no motivation....

 
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7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5682
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 1:16 pm    Post subject: huge classes with no motivation.... Reply with quote

i have about 25 different classes a week at several schools. 14 of them are in one huge high school. these 14 classes have about 45-50 students each and at least half of them are a real headache. i have been completely unable to motivate 6-7 of these classes and they just sit and give me the thousand mile stare during the class.

i've taught esl in korea at a hogwon and never had this problem, smaller classes for one thing and easy to get to know the students and keep them busy and supervised. but this scenario is new to me.

does anyone have any ideas on how to motivate large groups of students? any websites with activities that are appropriate for a group of this size? they do have some skill in english, they're just frightened to speak. it's like pulling teeth. i have no idea what to do next with some of them..... i can just tell my boss i don't want to teach them any longer and go soemwhere else, but i don't want to give up the ship yet. this is proving to be a real challenge.
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TaoyuanSteve



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 1028
Location: Taoyuan

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you allowed to bring in your own materials? One thing that works, depending on their level, is song lyrics from their favorite western bands. You can write down lyrics, blanking out select words as you do so. Play the cd and they have to listen and write in the missing words. Teens love this stuff.

Are you allowed to rearrange the seating? You can rearrange their seats into groups instead of rows. This makes the room seem smaller and allows for group work, which is the best you can do with a class as large as you're teaching.

Get them to do lots of group work and pair speaking practice. The Side by Side series lends itself well to this scenario. There are lots of sentence patterns and grammar practices in these books that they can work on in small groups.

You're not going to be able to do alot of speaking work with them because of the size. One thing you can do, however, is assign Q and A s to the groups. Give a question to the groups and most members formulate responses. One individual stands up and reports to their group's responses to the class.

You're in a pretty tough situation. Good luck!
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TheyCallMeTrinity



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 44
Location: Taiwan, at the moment

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:47 pm    Post subject: IT's not just HS students Reply with quote

Taiwanese are the most listless nationals I have had the (sometimes) displeasure of teaching. Unmotivated, creatively (and occasionally ethically) bankrupt, and subscribers to some Confucian confusion about "there are no bad students just bad teachers" (it cuts both ways, IMO. Speaking three languages outside of my mother tongue; it's clear that what you put into it does ammount to what you get out of it - and if they're not trying they won't be "flying" through it - yet locals subscribe to this notion that all personal failure in education is the teacher's fault: you'll learn that this is a VERY CHINESE behavior - blame others for your shortcommings but take all of the credit when you succeed; even though someone else did mosto f the work).

There are exceptions: children show more signs of life. They are not yet corrupted by their parents, school system, and the national i. d. Once Junior High sets in the deterioration of individuality, the desire to do anything other than route memorization, and sense of humor starts to sink. As adults they recover part of their sense of humor and start to do things their education system robbed them of opportunities to do because of their archiac, perpetually collapsing standardized test system.

The children give me hope (and sometimes, a headache, but I can forgive them for that). Adults suck my hope away and cause me to see this as a doomed island. It's quite manic...

In Korea I found the people better to teach but worse to live with. In Japan it was similar, but the people were decent to live with. In Taiwan: the people are borish and listless and while easy to live amongst them (so long as you don't drive) I find I can no longer stomach teaching adults, and make it through high school classes because the kids really want to have fun while learning. Adults want a "yes man" to tell them how "nice" Tawianese are and how wonderful life is here. Basically they want a stepin' fetchit. I pay taxes here, so I'm NO guest. I have EARNED my right to be honest (but diplomatic - which is hard to be sometimes). Teach them in small doses and you'll have no problems. I made the mistake of making them the brunt of my bread and butter and it's been a headache. Back to kids next year, with adults being the supplemental income. Might give me more hope for this reckless island too.


Good luck and as they say here, "jia yo!"


Last edited by TheyCallMeTrinity on Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TheyCallMeTrinity



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 44
Location: Taiwan, at the moment

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: IT's not just HS students Reply with quote

oops
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7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5682
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 3:10 am    Post subject: thanks... Reply with quote

for your advice guys. the biggest surprise i've had since being here is that my youngest students are my best, by far. i really wanted to stay away from younger (6-8 yo) kids as i saw them as a bit more uncontrollable, but now i wish i had more of them. they really put the 15-17 yo students to shame here in my town. on the bright side, i only spend two days a week at this particular school so i think i'll manage to adapt and survive somehow. if not, i'll move on....
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taiwan boy



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the other posters have given some good advice. I'll add a bit of my own.

The standard Taiwanese high school classroom in Taiwan is run very differently to an ESL classroom. The teacher basically stands out the front and lectures the students and the main objective of "learning" is for the students to pass tests for which they dutifully study.

With 45-50 students you have got a really tough job no matter what you do. Here are a few suggestions anyway.

### Tell the students that you will not give them a test and nobody will fail. This will help the students to relax and once they stop worrying about passing a test they might be able to actually learn something. (You can also then threaten them with a test as a disciplinary measure).

### Get the students out of their desks. The classroom is designed so the students can focus only on the teacher and not interact with each other. Get the students out the front with or without their chairs. They might need a pen and paper, but that's all. You can then start to get them interacting with each other (in English hopefully) and take the attention off yourself.

### In a big class try to use activities where the stronger students teach the weaker students. There is bound to be a big range of abilities in the class.

### A few activities that might work well. (1) a board race to elicit vocabulary. You could split a large class into 4 or 5 groups for this. (2) Information gap. If there are so many students such an activity would force them to talk to a lot of different people.

### You also need to think of ways to solve the boy/girl problem. For some strange reason most 15 year old Taiwanese boys are yet to develop the slightest interest in the opposite sex. Try forcing the students to work in mixed groups or pairs. Tell them every second partner they choose must be of the opposite sex. Give them a survey where they can only find out the opinions of the opposite sex.
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