Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

help, this is kind of miserable!
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only)
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2668
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My junior level cocktail party game questions include stuff like 'Have you seen the movie Titanic?' Everyone in China has.
then
'What is your favourite scene?' Always Jack and Rose on the bow of the ship.
Also,
'Do you like the Gangnam dance?' They all do.
then
'Show me the Gangnam dance'. They all can and I can track where that question has got to in the room by the hand flapping and laughter.
South Korean pop culture is very popular among Chinese young people as I guess it is safer than Taiwanese.
So it is really the foreignness rather than Westernness that attracts.
One year there was this Korean film 'My Kookie Girlfriend'.
My students were wild about it. They wanted me to show it as the film treat but I couldn't find a copy dubbed in English.
Don't ignore fun as a way to involve students.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jjm



Joined: 11 Mar 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As to the objection to pop culture- No I would prefer to not l. Suffice to say I believe that the majority of pop culture is foul, and I personally do not want to touch it. Again, do not expect agreement or for that matter appreciation of such sentiment. I recognize that my job will be much more difficult as a result of this position.

The recommended resource seems less 'academic' than what I would normally present. Perhaps the scenario needs something like this, seemingly easier. Typically I have begun w/ light intro to a subject. Then have proceeded to vocab, ipa, choral pronunciation, and activities like pair work. I think that the concepts presented by me sometimes, though not always, are more contemplative or demand more critical thinking than normal. It is not that they cannot do the work, for even with limited they could try, but they are simply as a whole unwilling to try. So I pull teeth and usually get something out of them.

Frankly, whether justifiable or not, I think that it is an attitude issue on their end. For, they would not do this to the Chinese teachers.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
7969



Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 5681
Location: South China, by the sea.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jjm wrote:
The recommended resource seems less 'academic' than what I would normally present.

You said in another post that you thought you should "prepare little less" and "not take it so seriously" which to me at least means "less academic." Anyway that resource is only one of many out there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jjm wrote:
The recommended resource seems less 'academic' than what I would normally present. Perhaps the scenario needs something like this, seemingly easier. Typically I have begun w/ light intro to a subject. Then have proceeded to vocab, ipa, choral pronunciation, and activities like pair work. I think that the concepts presented by me sometimes, though not always, are more contemplative or demand more critical thinking than normal. It is not that they cannot do the work, for even with limited they could try, but they are simply as a whole unwilling to try. So I pull teeth and usually get something out of them.


good morning! you're getting there. soon you shall learn the secret.

pssst.....we ain't teachers in the western sense. there are a few....those
at international schools, at top-tier unis, at some mills. but most are hired
to meet some government regulation (no have link) requiring all students
to learn english, with some requirement for native english speakers.

you see, our chinese overlords, in their infinite wisdom, have wisely
deducted that native chinese teachers are capable of teaching grammar
and vocabulary, but their speaking skills are poor....or nonexistent. the
kids have had years of instruction in english......they have memorized the
grammar, more vocabulary than they could ever need, and hundreds of
outdated idioms. they can read, they can write, but they can't speak.

if you're spending most of your time on academics, then you've fallen into
the trap of taking yourself and your job too seriously. you ain't no
perfessor, perfessor! your job (i assume your position is the standard
"oral english instructor" university job) is to improve their oral skills.

that doesn't mean you can't briefly review grammar, or provide a vocab
list. they've learned all that already....which in china means they've
memorized all that in order to mechanically reproduce it on the next test.
review it, don't teach it. keep the review as short as possible, spending
more time on drills and activities. minimize the drills.......they've done it
before. spend more time on activities....role-plays, dialogs, story-telling,
and so on. get them to use the vocab/grammar in realistic situations.
the more fun and interesting, the more they learn.

jjm wrote:
Frankly, whether justifiable or not, I think that it is an attitude issue on their end. For, they would not do this to the Chinese teachers.


the attitude issue is yours. you're a stranger in a strange land. you need
to accept that some things are done differently here. you need to change.
grok in fullness.

jjm wrote:
As to the objection to pop culture- No I would prefer to not l. Suffice to say I believe that the majority of pop culture is foul, and I personally do not want to touch it.


i hope you're not passing out bibles as reading material.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP,

I understand your frustrations as this is my first year and I'm struggling with similar problems as are other teachers at my uni. There are no easy answers so don't expect them to magically appear. I've learned a lot from the posts of more experienced teachers and so can you. Take what looks workable here and adapt it to your classes.

I agree with you, to a point, on using popular culture in the class. However, I really do think you are limiting yourself. I don't use movies but I do use songs on a regular basis. Only grammatically correct ones are acceptable to me and there are LOTS of them out there. Here are two examples I have used:

1. "Top of the World" by the Carpenters. After playing the entire song, have the class translate a couple of lines at a time and then paraphrase the meaning. Listen to the song and you will see what I mean.

2. Want to do play with similes? Check out "Everything at Once" by Lenka.

Nothing vulgar here, Chinese like music, you can have the class sing it later, it's grammatically correct, they can work in groups, answers can be given orally, etc. Do you see how you can do teaching and still stay within the parameters of what you are given?

Something else to consider is to find a better job where curriculum is provided. That's what I have and I like it. Everyone understands that the course work is required by the school and I have to adhere to it. Then I try to make it more lively and bring in my own ideas to supplant the book. This approach seems to be working with me - your mileage may vary.

Regarding kids who give you problems, the solution devised by a couple of us is brilliantly simple: boot their immature butts out. Other students will thank you for doing this as they are usually disturbing others in the class who actually want to learn. I did this last week with a couple of boys who were always talking. Out they went and I told them to grow up and come back next week. The remainder of the class was a pure joy. No I'll see if this works long-term.

Hope this helps.

DirtGuy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dakelei



Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 318
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just begun my sixth term (semester?) teaching English Conversation at a university. I've tried many different strategies with varying levels of success. I do quite a bit of role play stuff and it works pretty well most, but not all, of the time. Many students have to, for want of better terminology, "like" you as a person and be comfortable in your class to totally open up and talk a lot. I'm not particularly crazy about "pop culture" and I'm not judging you by any stretch but your labeling it as "foul" says something about you.

Some of the best classes I've had came about after I veered from my "plan" when a "teachable moment" arose. One term, for example, I had the class, 98% girls, mind you, act out a scene from "Gone With the Wind" that happened to be in their textbook. I went in thinking, "This is OLD, man. There's no way they'll like this." I only wanted to use it to warm up and get some English spoken in the room. I planned to move on to something else after a quick read-through. The girls LOVED it and every one of them wanted to act out the scene. I just went with it, the class had a lot of fun with it and even now, a few years later, some of the girls in that class bring it up when I see them. You might find it too "pop culture" for your liking but many students really like acting out cheesy "English movies." (Any movie in English is an "English movie" no matter where it was made.) I've used that scene every year now and it goes over just as well most of the time.

Last year I experimented quite a bit, particularly with one class that got into pretty much whatever I did. It's remarkable how some classes are so much better than others. At one point I had all the students work in groups to write and act out a "sitcom." I gave them the situation and they just had to fill it in and personalize it. Some were really good. (My favorite involved a gay Chinese couple going to Canada to get married. The actual wedding scene dragged on a bit but it was generally very well done. One boy in the class researched what was actually spoken at a Canadian wedding service and acted as a minister.) I was quite proud and pleased with what most of the students came up with.

Some of what earlier posters said is quite true. Lots of students don't really pick their major and quite a few aren't all that interested in English in general and speaking it in particular. I had one class last year that had 3 boys. None had willingly chosen English as a major and one of them was borderline hostile about even being in the class. All 3 of them were late every class and basically poisoned the atmosphere. One annoyed me so much I used to imagine beating him to a pulp. He was little, skinny and effeminate but for some reason thought he was really something else. My blood pressure is rising even now just thinking about this. But I digress....

Teaching "Oral English" at a uni is only "easy" if you don't care if the students are learning or not. If you really do care you must be absolutely ruthless about what you'll do to get students to speak. You gotta be willing to at least try things you might find personally distasteful. (Yes, I'm talking "pop culture" here.) Unlike some other frequent posters here, I do not claim to be some sort of teaching guru while looking down my nose with disdain at others whom I dismiss as clearly inferior to me. I've had some success and some failure. I've had things work really well and others fail spectacularly. It takes a while to learn the ins and outs. Lots of educational research done at home (USA, where I taught high school history for 12 years) has concluded that it is experience more than just about any other quality that makes some teachers better than others. The "born teacher" archetype is a myth. If you hang in there things will improve. Just keep a record, in your mind at least and documented in writing if possible, of what seems to work and what doesn't. It's also not a bad thing to pull aside a particularly responsible student and get an honest assessment of what he/she (usually she) thinks. You need to be thick-skinned, though, because when you ask for honesty sometimes you actually get it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1559
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with dakelei, well the first recent post, anyway.... (ha! you found the x button!)

Yeah, experience makes a big difference. I think it's because we all have different strengths and weaknesses and over time we improve in some areas and find workarounds for the other ones. Also confidence improves so that when a student says something like: "We all think your class is boring.", you can weigh it against other experience that may argue the other way.

I also don't have much interest in pop culture, or at least modern pop culture. I enjoy recent films/movies and even some television. But a lot of it is terrible and "certainly not as good as it was when I was your age." Especially when it comes to pop music, my age bias comes out. A lot of my antipathy to pop culture is age related and a lot of it is due to my opinion that in the struggle between art and business (or show and biz), business (important for dissemination) has moved ahead too far. And I don't have much of a reverence for culture in general.

However, I'm happy to talk about pop culture in class (or in English corner). It's one of the few topics students feel confident in having an opinion about, and one of the few areas they know anything about. And if anyone wants my opinion of any of it, I'm happy to oblige. Usually, it's "sorry, I've never heard of her/him." Sometimes it's "honestly, The Big Bang Theory is boring to me because it's not realistic and not new in it's style, or structure." Or, "I used to follow the NBA but not so much anymore." It doesn't matter to the students that the old guy in front of them doesn't like the same shows or music or whatever that they do. The point is they gain a little confidence discussing cultural topics.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2668
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My biggest surprise across vocationals and regular 4-year unis was how inventive Chinese students can be if given the OK by the teacher.
I thought they would be regimented and 'group think' types.
My mid and end term speaking exercises are phrases of which the pair or trio of students choose one and turn it into a dialogue.
Things like:
'Flag raising ceremony is a waste of time' (at a maritime u).
'Help me buy a new winter coat'.
'How are you settling in to university life?'
I still laugh when I recall some of the stuff the students came up with.
In a flag raising dialogue, one kid did an imitation of the college boss making a speech at the ceremony.
'Today comrade students I want to make only two points. To make it easy, I have divided each point into 3 sub points and each sub point has 2 bullet points..'
The rest of the class was rolling in the aisles.
In summary, trust your students. Let them know that you like and trust them as a group and as individuals. Reward effort with verbal praise or treats like games.
Sweat bullets over their final marks so they can see the logic in the mark awarded and be prepared to talk it over if necessary.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
NoBillyNO



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 1762

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
choudoufu:i hope you're not passing out bibles as reading material.



And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Quote:

jjm wrote:
Frankly, whether justifiable or not, I think that it is an attitude issue on their end. For, they would not do this to the Chinese teachers.



Quote:
choudoufu wrote:the attitude issue is yours. you're a stranger in a strange land. you need
to accept that some things are done differently here. you need to change.
grok in fullness.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
choudoufu



Joined: 25 May 2010
Posts: 3325
Location: Mao-berry, PRC

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grok in fullness.

― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Non Sequitur"]EXCELLENT advice from Denin-Maniac. Love the one about writing GAME on the board.
[quote]

Fantastic idea isnt it?

Ill say again though, I didnt come up with that one, as it was shared with me from a clever colleague. I cant see a class where that wouldnt work TBH.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

roadwalker wrote:

However, I'm happy to talk about pop culture in class (or in English corner). It's one of the few topics students feel confident in having an opinion about, and one of the few areas they know anything about. And if anyone wants my opinion of any of it, I'm happy to oblige. Usually, it's "sorry, I've never heard of her/him." Sometimes it's "honestly, The Big Bang Theory is boring to me because it's not realistic and not new in it's style, or structure." Or, "I used to follow the NBA but not so much anymore." It doesn't matter to the students that the old guy in front of them doesn't like the same shows or music or whatever that they do. The point is they gain a little confidence discussing cultural topics.


Strongly agree.

As discussed in a thread in the off-topic forum ... I think I know my students very well, and Ive often had them tell me that teachers have asked them to discuss topics that hardly comprehend in L1, their own language, and so naturally have little opinion or experience in them, and pretty much no chance of discussing them in L2 English.

Im sure we'd all like to be these wonderful mentors that are freeing the minds of young people and allowing them to connect with something on an almost spiritual level, but frankly ... its rather stupid and naive to think that way. Its also of little use to most of our students, most of the time. Like choudoufu, I also hope its not some kind of religious action that is determining what material you use in class.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2668
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgive me but AMEN to that one.
If OP is a Christian well full marks, but let your students see your Christianity in what you do and how you behave.
Please do not see your contact with students as an opportunity to proselytise your faith under guise of teaching.
Many of us have cringed while evangelical teachers concoct various ways of getting to students.
Holding classes in their apartments. Introducing class materials with a Christian bias into their teaching etc.
The worst is being asked (as teacher honcho) by the FAO to explain what this type of teacher is up to.
We have a lot of freedom in our classrooms but any interactions even vaguely sexual or religious should be kept clear of.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 703
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jjm wrote:


Frankly, whether justifiable or not, I think that it is an attitude issue on their end. For, they would not do this to the Chinese teachers.


Not true in my experience. Have you observed this to be true? I have observed Chinese teachers classes, and I can assure you that, at least in my uni, the students can be just as disinterested and unwilling to participate in them as they are in mine. I watched one class with ten students, where the teacher stood with his back to the class, reading out his PPT slide by slide, while every single one of the students either used their phones or fell asleep on the desk. The teacher never once looked at the class. There are teachers for whom the students will sit upright and answer questions when asked, but I think it's more from fear than respect.

The bottom line is, whether the attitude issue is theirs, yours or a mixture of both, if you can't accept it and learn to let it go at least a little, you are in danger of damaging your own mental health in the long run. Not every bitter, angry drunken idiot of a teacher came to China that way, some were forged in the fire of the Chinese classroom.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2668
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree.
My observation of Chinese teachers at my last school is that the sit at the front with a lapel mike, and a laser pointer and drone on without interaction - mainly just repeating what's on the screen.
On days where the sun come in, the curtains are drawn which puts the classroom in semi darkness. The perfect environment for sleeping, texting and schmoozing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> China (Job-related Posts Only) All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC