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students at HCT
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: students at HCT Reply with quote

Ok, so I made it here and was thrown into the classroom with a bunch of Arab young men. Now, what to do about teaching? For the first week or so the students were marginally behaved, but now several weeks later they are getting progressively worse. Some will listen and work, but many talk over you, play in the back, use the cellphone all class, watch soccer on their computers while you are trying to teach, etc... My question is-should I bother stressing myself out to get them under control, or is it a useless battle. I tried to charm them into submission, and this worked on some, but others could care less about the teacher or studying. The culture and college being what it is......(not sure what it is).........what is worth it?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12303
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear vamanos12,

I'd say it may be too late to do anything about the situation. The old maxim of "Start tough, relax slowly" seems to be especially applicable in the Middle East.

Regards,
John
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 346
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"be careful what you wish for.

Try changing activities every 20 minutes or so. Get creative and produce some entertaining materials. (If you are using Keep Writing, PM me, I put the whole series on powerpoint, with sound and pictures, I also produced lots of supplementary materials, If you're ADM, ask around for the "Bridge Year Companion" that I wrote). Don't sit at your desk, get up and keep circulating. Arrange their desks in a "U" shape instead of traditional rows. Place the "no hopers" in the back, tell them to be quiet and watch their football games, texting allowed, but no talking on the cellphone. (Never admit this to the administration).

You might set up a table to commend them and give them black-marks for attendance, lateness, no homework, cellphone use etc. This sometimes works to shame them, (even though most are shameless). I project this on the smart-board daily.

Assign some kind of homework every day, and check it with a big red/green marker. BIG red "X" for no HW, small green "check" for completed work. You need to document everything, so when you fail them, you can defend it, especially when you get called into the supervisors office, and their daddy is there and wants to know why his little Abdullah is failing. Those red "X"es and the black-mark table go along way. People have been sacked for lack of documentation.

One teacher had a cellphone blocking gadget that disabled all cellphones within 20 meters or so. Students were frantic about the lack of signal. (Never admit this to the administration).

Nobody said it would be easy. That's why you're getting the big bucks

"Endeavor to persevere."
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:03 am    Post subject: Rules Reply with quote

It's always best to come in with your rules, hand them out, go over them and enforce them. I don't know if HCT will support you and on this. Fortunately, I work in a situation where you can lay down the rules and follow through with throwing kids out of class if they don't bring a textbook and you can confiscate cell phones. Most students have two, so they rarely panic.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12099
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take in a glass of drinking water and "accidentally" drop a couple of mobile phones into it.
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vamanos12



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the advice. My sanity strategy is to fight for the minimum (don't talk while I talk or horse around) and let the "no hopers" create their own destiny. At least this way the ones who want to learn have a chance.
and yes, now I know....big bucks='s big pain in the butt.
(not that I wasn't thoroughly warned on here.)

It's an interesting social observation on what happens to youth that are guaranteed everything: free education, job, house, etc...
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Gus Barkley



Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Start tough, relax slowly" may be an old maxim but I'd never heard it.

But, wow, is it good advice for teaching here!

Last week I was talking with 3 newbies and one of them was talking about how many serious problems her students had - illnesses, car accidents, etc. They all had such legitimate reasons for missing class. I started laughing. She said, "You think they were lying to me?"

I replied, "Lying is harsh. If you view it as a game they will push on to you as much as they can until they see you won't take it anymore. So you can view it as lying or you can view as 'I got played.' Neither is good but you can recover from getting played."

So start tough and relax slowly. If you've been walked on get tough NOW (in the first month) and simply don't relax. Strict enforcement will make your life much easier than any attempt to be nice.
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Middle East Beast



Joined: 05 Mar 2008
Posts: 836
Location: Up a tree

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:39 am    Post subject: Re: students at HCT Reply with quote

vamanos12 wrote:
Ok, so I made it here and was thrown into the classroom with a bunch of Arab young men. Now, what to do about teaching? For the first week or so the students were marginally behaved, but now several weeks later they are getting progressively worse. Some will listen and work, but many talk over you, play in the back, use the cellphone all class, watch soccer on their computers while you are trying to teach, etc... My question is-should I bother stressing myself out to get them under control, or is it a useless battle. I tried to charm them into submission, and this worked on some, but others could care less about the teacher or studying. The culture and college being what it is......(not sure what it is).........what is worth it?


Welcome to HCT.

Just fulfill your responsibilities.

Focus on the ones who respect you and desire to learn. I had a few really good ones who were grateful for my efforts.

Tolerate the ones who are there 'cause they don't have anything else to do.

Press administration to punish the ones who disrupt the class and don't respect you. Good luck with that. HCT tends to coddle the students, as some have wasta but regardless each warm body in a classroom is worth megabucks to the college.

MEB Cool
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Solar Strength



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 560
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vamanos12 wrote:
big bucks='s big pain in the butt.


I'm forced to deal with several idiots regularly in each of my classes, mainly 19 - 22 year old males.

In recent years, when I find myself about to come unglued with these goofs, I just start thinking about my bank account and seeing it grow each month that I'm at this job.

It helps bring my heart rate down and I just smile and move on with the lesson and try to focus on those who are engaged.
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Tom Le Seelleur



Joined: 27 Dec 2007
Posts: 242

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi
It is never too late to impose your rules. Arrange the students into groups of four, put the students who are less engaged near the door to avoid time wasting if you decide they should leave, however it could be your teaching technique or your lack of experience in dealing with students who may require more attention than others. Good advice from those on this posting about changing activities, focusing on those who want to learn but I don't agree in marginalizing some who are trying to test your boundaries. be clear about your rules and expectations and follow through. All mobiles switched off or they are taken. Come to class prepared or don't come at all, no lateness or throw them out, no homework - no entry. You can still be tough but fair and they will respect you eventually.
Tom (khalifa University)
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12303
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Tom Le Seelleur,

"It is never too late to impose your rules."

Never say never - it all depends on the individual. I've certainly known some teachers who started out as "Mr. Nice Guy," and discovered too late that they were unable to gain control.

And a lot depends on how much the administration backs you up - some places, if you start "throwing students out" or "no homework, no entry." you're the one who ends up in trouble.

Regards,
John
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 346
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Press administration to punish the ones who disrupt the class and don't respect you. Good luck with that. HCT tends to coddle the students, as some have wasta but regardless each warm body in a classroom is worth megabucks to the college."

You need to be careful with this.

I had two deadheads, who, by the midterm were in a position that was mathematically impossible to pass in ANY of their classes. They were also disruptive in class. I relentlessly pushed them to leave the college now instead of prolonging (my) agony until the end of the semester. They finally did, and as a result the ENTIRE class went to the director to complain. (They did go to the student counselor, who, being the lazy, sycophantic, anti-western middle easterner, did not notify the supervisors). As a result, once again, I was in the snoopervisors office with the "close the door" introduction. When this happens, we all know how this usually ends.

Fortunately, these were Baniyas boys without any "wasta", both my supervisors backed me on this and I came out OK, but it could have gone either way.

Bottom line, HCT doesn't like to lose students for monetary and statistical reasons.

Document everything!
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Middle East Beast



Joined: 05 Mar 2008
Posts: 836
Location: Up a tree

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2buckets,

Excellent point to document everything, but you'll be required to do so by administration anyway.

You only had two deadheads? You were lucky. Deadheads, even outright provocative. disrespectful students, were the norm at Fujariah Women's College. Decent students were in the minority. It was chaotic there. I stood up to them, even walking out of class on several occasions. My supervisor babysat them while I refused to go back to the classroom. I never got in trouble for it. I did not get fired, I resigned because I was sick of the environment there.

HCT is a business.

MEB Cool
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 346
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deader than the average deadhead.
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secretsquirrel



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 60
Location: Next to Dick Dastardly!

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, welcome to The Gulf, guys! Baby-sitting and crowd control are two of the most important classroom management skills you can have here.

As for the pedagogy, forget it - it's not necessary. The UAE is after all a benevolent dictatorship, and the government sends its young citizens to 'college' to help pretend that there's (i) full employment and (ii) a wealth of opportunities for the educated. So just being in college is synonymous with being educated - and much simpler too!

But there's no crock of gold in the UAE. Just a great big crock of (bull)shit!
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