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Where are the laziest students?
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dmb



Joined: 12 Feb 2003
Posts: 8397

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 8:49 am    Post subject: Where are the laziest students? Reply with quote

I know we shouldn't sterotype. But in general where are the least industrious students. I think they are at Industrial training centres in the Gulf. What do you think?
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richard ame



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 319
Location: Republic of Turkey

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 11:17 am    Post subject: lazy students Reply with quote

Hi
I think a more specfic definition of this word lazy needs to be clarfied as many will agree there are numerous levels of laziness ,from the 1st level where they turn up and do sweet F.A and expect rewards for said non-participation to the ultimate form who just don't turn up at all except when a quiz or exam is scheduled.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 12:07 pm    Post subject: lazy students or boring teachers? Reply with quote

Dear dmb:

The problem, in my mind, is not that students are lazy per se, but that their teachers may be boring them to death. Rolling Eyes

Trying to 'spice up' a grammar lesson on the future perfect tense is a daunting task, but it can be done. When you have finally achieved that level of teaching Nirvana, you'll have understood what I meant. Cool

Your truly,
kEnT
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richard ame



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 319
Location: Republic of Turkey

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 12:32 pm    Post subject: Lazy students/boringlessons/teacher Reply with quote

Hi again
I think Kent touched on something here that may lead to another thread by bringing the G word into the open ,students for the most part tend to sit up and take notice when grammar becomes the focus and this is usually conducted by a bi-lingual teacher from the host country,the amount of g style lessons I have done I can count on the fingers of one hand ,primarly because I am a LANGUAGE teacher and that includes all the other skills reading writing listening and speaking which for the most part are taught apart,therefore the scenerio Kent describes does not arise .Am I the only native speaker who feels that teaching grammar is best done by the host country's English teacher and that the cultural / language aspects of the language is best left to us ,any comments ??
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 1:06 pm    Post subject: different country-different system Reply with quote

Hello Richard:

Good point you raised. I have also worked at schools where the co-teacher system rules, and in which grammar is taught by 'the other' teacher. Mostly in Asia.

Here in Russia, however, I'm flying solo in the classroom. In fact, with the exception of pure beginners (who do have a native Russian teacher) ... I teach ALL the grammar.

So, as you can see by my example: different schools do have different teaching strategies. To be honest, I'm sort of thankful for this Russian-style do-it-yourself-approach because it has without a doubt made me a better teacher.

Regards,
kENt
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 1:06 pm    Post subject: Native speakers teaching grammar Reply with quote

Years ago the grammar-translation approach to teaching a foreign language was the way it was usually done. That approach has mostly fallen out of favor, of course, and for good reason. However, at some point along the way, students need to have an understanding of the grammar of the language, and few if any approaches completely ignore grammar throughout the course of language acquisition.

I believe what you stated about bilingual native/local teachers teaching grammar and English-speaking teachers focusing on other aspects of language instruction may be true in some countries, but I don't believe that's universal. In many countries all EFL teachers are expected to teach reading, writing, listening, speaking, and learning to learn (with grammar incorporated into all of those aspects,) whether the teachers are bilingual locals or native English speakers. Administration expects it. Fellow teachers expect it. Students expect it, especially those hoping to do well on TOEFL or on the First Certificate or Advanced Proficiency exams.

Best wishes!
Smile
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "lazy" students I come across tend to be students that are disinterested in the subject(s) that their country's authorities have declared "compulsory". Whenever bureaucrats make a decision it is a flawed decision.
I do not, therefore, blame my students for their lack of interest in English; I do, however, blame some of them for their wayward behaviour, playing truant, deceiving, cheating, wanting to pass exams by hook and by crook without making adequate efforts, and always passing the buck when someone points out their shortcomings.
These character shortcomings are typical of a system - such as in China - that does not stimulate people's curiosity and cultural awareness.

BOth the teachers here are not well motivated. After all, teaching is a job, nothing more. And studying is a student's way of life, nothing more. Normal school students dream of becoming businesspeople, not English teachers, yet their hometown governments fork out money in a relatively big way to secure the country's next crop of English teachers. 90% of them never stand in front of classes! Yet, an astonishing 90% or more pass final exams - although rarely more than 20% can teach English or communicate in this tongue!

Therefore, I don't subscribe to the notion of divorcing expat teachers and local teachers. Grammar is too important for local teachers to teach on their own; and, no, there is no need to use the local language in explaining grammar (except, perhaps, at the beginners' level, and only for the first two to three years).

In countries where studying is done by responsible students who stake out their future, an educated choice is often made by young people: Some study English, some don't! Those who don't will study other subjects in which they excel better.
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Sunpower



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 256
Location: Taipei, TAIWAN

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Students are lazy and are immature at the junior colleges I've taught at in Tokyo and Taipei.

Good teachers or Bad teachers - it won't make a difference.

And I'm sure the reasons are numerous as to why this and I have some of my own theories but I don't see it changing anytime soon.

I focus on the 3 or so students out of 25 that are interested and hope that what I'm doing helps them.

But some days it's definitely frustrating.
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guest of Japan



Joined: 28 Feb 2003
Posts: 1601
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2003 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunpower's post raises a question that's been running through my mind. In American education we are taught to try not to "let students fall through the cracks." This means that at the very least we should give equal attention to all student, and quite often extra attention to the weaker disinterested students. This need was reinforced for me after a rather rebellious and lazy student made a comment that the teacher only gave attention and support to the "smart kids." I was a little taken back by the comment at the time because I the teachers he was talking about were amazing teachers. Since then I've begun to see his point a little more clearly.

Fast forward to present time. I'm working at a private Japanese high school for weaker students. The classes are huge. Many of the students are abominable, and the English ability is low. Many students cannot read simple sentences. For example: What are your hobbies?

I have some students who are eager to learn English conversation, but they are the minority. Should I focus on the minority or keep banging my head against the wall trying to engage all students? I know the correct answer is to engage all students, but I'd be interested to have answers which come from experience.

To make matters worse, I'm forbidden to use Japanese in the classroom and it is letting the Japanese teacher assist in this way is discouraged.

And no, I don't lecture or amuze myself with the sound of my own voice in case someone is wondering. Thanks for your advice. Mark
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 12:21 am    Post subject: In My Experience,In Saudi Reply with quote

Remember, I am only saying in MY experience.I am not saying all students in Saudi are lazy.In the seven countries I have taught in,in MY experience, the Saudis were the laziest.Also the most demanding.Granted,maybe I just got into a bad situation. Rolling Eyes
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reality



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 1:26 am    Post subject: What do you expect Reply with quote

Given the fact, that the majority of Students are forced to study English rather than choose to study English. It doesnt surprise me, that there is always a degree of laziness in every Classroom.

I always think the most active Students are private Students, paying for their own lessons.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12452
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 3:01 am    Post subject: In general Reply with quote

I think I'll reply to this " general " question with a " general " answer. In my experience, wherever I've taught, student ability ( covering many areas, including laziness versus initiative ) in classrooms almost always breaks down nearly the same: about 10% serious, motivated students, around 10% hopeless, could-care-less ones and the rest falling, pretty evenly distributed, along the spectrum. OK, this wouldn't work too well with " tracked " classes, where all the " good " students are separated from the others, but otherwise it seems to be the case. There are, of course, almost always a few who don't fit the pattern: the hard worker who just doesn't have what it takes and the bright one who is downright lazy. But, on the whole, it's what I've seen in 25+ years of teaching in various places. This, despite the fact that there can be so many different variables, such as the types of programs, the reasons the students are there, the location, etc. One inference that MIGHT be drawn from this is that, statistically speaking, people are pretty much the same all over the globe.
Regards,
John
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Sunpower



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 256
Location: Taipei, TAIWAN

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are, of course, almost always a few who don't fit the pattern: the hard worker who just doesn't have what it takes and the bright one who is downright lazy.

I have a fairly hard working student in one of my classes. She attends every class and asks questions. However, she just failed her Mid-Term exam the other day.

Then, I have this young guy who puts his head down on the desk and sleeps through the whole lesson and often doesn't even show up to lessons - I think he no=showed the last 3 or 4 lessons prior to the mid term but he still got 100% on the exam.

It drove me crazy to have to give him 100% but he had all the correct answers and never missed a question.

Fact is, he spent many years learning English in Singapore schools before moving back to Taiwan.His English skills are pretty good. But he is incredibly lazy and unmotivated and doesn't attend class.

This gets really frustrating from my point of view, as there are a lot of other students that put in much more effort to their studies than he does.

What do you do?

At this school, attendance accounts for 40% (Sounds kind of high, don't you think?) and he'll get dinged pretty good there for not coming to class whereas the other students will get 100% for attendance.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 6:53 am    Post subject: follow-up to my first reply Reply with quote

Hello People:

I stand corrected. In my first reply in which I pointed the finger at 'boring' teachers, I failed to take into account Reality's EXCELLENT observation that students who are forced to study English can be very, very lazy. Somehow I forgot about that little reality.

I have been lucky, I guess. In the past 14 years, I've only ever taught at one school where kids were forced (by their parents) to attend class. This was at a 'hagwon' in Korea, and I did have to struggle to get and keep them motivated and attentive. Some days I was successful; some days I thought about commiting suicide. Cool

At the other schools I've worked for, students were paying the bill, and with almost no exceptions, laziness was not a real issue. I think Johnslat also hit the nail on the head when he described the average 'ratio' of motivated vs. unmotivated students in any given class. He's right about that.

I still think, however, that it is the measure of a good teacher, as Guest of Japan stated, to "reach out" to everyone in the class and do what it takes to find that special 'something' that makes them tick.

Granted, this is often easier said than done, but in my warped way of thinking, this is what really separates the men from the boys ... the women from the girls ... the professional teachers from the backpackers.

Best wishes,
KEnT
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12452
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 7:12 am    Post subject: Trite, but tried and true Reply with quote

Dear Sunpower, Kent et al,
" What do you do? "
The best you can with what you've got. Sounds trite, I know - IS trite, probably. But it's the only answer I've found. And follow that old maxim: Aim for the middle. Of course, that way you risk boring the bright ones and losing the hard cases, but it seems the best compromise.
Regards,
John
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