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Often overlooked aspects of lesson obs in EFL. And hamsters
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8612
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooohhhhwaaaaahhh...! My aching head... Oh, dear, focus is still... blurry. Hope nobody was hurt with my midnight forklift escapades. Sorry, Fluffy, I didn't mean those things I said - it was the vodka talking. Have another Pravda broadsheet to keep yourself warm, and I'll fix us a fur of the dog that - ahem! a hair of the dog that bit us.
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 2535
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Not quite a badly off as this lad, though....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stDWNam7RtE


Shocked

Holy moley!

When I saw him quickly veer off, I thought he was just going to take out a few crates on the lower level at most. Naw, everything in that section of the warehouse went down.

No end-of-year bonus for that guy.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8612
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No more than out-of-control EFL teachers, he should have been kept under strict observation at all times. A vodka tragedy...one which could have been prevented. Just like so many EFL disasters - gotta keep an eye on it all. donchaknow?!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And here's a thought: if it were a requirement to actually demonstrate more than sufficient preparatory research had been done, by furnishing a plan with book and/or online references, short quotes with key examples etc, how many teachers would be able and willing to do so?


Hmmm. This is considered entirely normal, and not a particular burden, in my world...

Quote:
Lesson plans may be useful between colleagues actually collaborating on or sharing something, but I'm not sure why a teacher would continue producing them privately just "for their own benefit".


I'm currently teaching a writing course which is new to me, and of course I'm creating a plan for each lesson, ensuring that it will all contribute to the desired end result...how else can anything be done in a focused way?

Perhaps some of the distinction is between the type of classes (general English, general academic English, English for specific purposes...) and the level of the students.

I mostly teach high-level, specific purpose classes and without fairly comprehensive plans and references (which I also make available to the students) I'd have no credibility.

Maybe it's different when goals are either less defined (definable). Or when one is meant to be teaching The Book (whatever tome that may be in one's particular situation).
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 2535
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
No more than out-of-control EFL teachers, he should have been kept under strict observation at all times. A vodka tragedy...one which could have been prevented. Just like so many EFL disasters - gotta keep an eye on it all. donchaknow?!


Hear, hear! Indeed, indeed!

Cool

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2558
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Quote:
And here's a thought: if it were a requirement to actually demonstrate more than sufficient preparatory research had been done, by furnishing a plan with book and/or online references, short quotes with key examples etc, how many teachers would be able and willing to do so?


Hmmm. This is considered entirely normal, and not a particular burden, in my world...


Well, as you've told us many times, your world is now quite far from the TEFL average, but it's that mythical average that certainly I had in mind. (For example, I've not seen many teachers really do much if any serious academic preparation, even when teaching quite complex areas. Some in fact appear to rely on intuition and winging it, making examples up off the top of their heads, or settling for whatever they can find in the nearest exercise book almost regardless of its quality. Or they even cast around on the internet pleading for all manner of language-related help one year, only to announce often the very next that an MA is almost in the bag, and possibly a PhD now in sight. Surprised Laughing (Joking somewhat, as sometimes the linguistic questions that get posted can be quite interesting, and lead to good discussion. It's more just the really too-easily-answerable ones that I'm having a tiny go about here)).

Spiral78 wrote:
Quote:
Lesson plans may be useful between colleagues actually collaborating on or sharing something, but I'm not sure why a teacher would continue producing them privately just "for their own benefit".


I'm currently teaching a writing course which is new to me, and of course I'm creating a plan for each lesson, ensuring that it will all contribute to the desired end result...how else can anything be done in a focused way?


Well, the writing course new to you is a collaboration of a sort, and/or you're very conscientiously making exacting lesson plans to help ensure it will all even out nicely. Consider this mere mortal impressed!!! (Slight irony alert Wink Laughing ). My equivalent would be calculating roughly 5 minutes of class time elapsed per fluffy animal or silly picture drawn and paraded. (But seriously, one at least develops a pretty accurate feel for how much time activity A versus B and C etc will take. Desired end results may however be less tangible, more "in the mind"...though exams at certain points will help provide at least some sort of indication of how things have been going. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah Smile ).

Quote:
Maybe it's different when goals are either less defined (definable). Or when one is meant to be teaching The Book (whatever tome that may be in one's particular situation).


Tell me about it! Some of the operators I've worked for have clearly had only one goal: to cream off the maximum amount of money whilst paying their teachers as little as possible each month. (That these types continue to be awarded government-funded contracts in breach of official regulations in Japan is quite scandalous, because it is ultimately the parent-taxpayer and their children who get short-changed due to high foreign teacher turnover. Sure, the JET programme provides the necessary stability, where it still exists, and those without PGCEs perhaps don't deserve to be treated well, but guess who we can thank in the UK for abolishing PGCEs with any focus on TEFLing right around the time I was graduating? Yup, that's right, the Tories LOL. I guess it was Labour who eventually saw the need for a PGCE ESOL, especially given the apparently quite large rise in immigration that they oversaw).


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:23 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8612
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hic, I'm not sure I'm following you, Fluffy. Are you saying that because school owners are unscrupulous louses, unprofessional rip-off artists, that this is a justification for teachers to cry off professional development in the form of observations? Hic!

Jes' asking, as my poor brain is still muddled from sleeping rough on the bench last night...
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2558
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lousy bosses may not justify completely crying off professional development (and I'm still not sure that observation qualifies enough as personal CPD), but they can't then act surprised if there seems to be a lot of ill-feeling and foot-dragging from their workers. (Not from me though - I'm a star! Rolling Eyes Laughing Very Happy Cool ).
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Hic, I'm not sure I'm following you, Fluffy. Are you saying that because school owners are unscrupulous louses, unprofessional rip-off artists, that this is a justification for teachers to cry off professional development in the form of observations? Hic!

Jes' asking, as my poor brain is still muddled from sleeping rough on the bench last night...


Hi Sasha. Splendid indeed to resume our jousting on the subject of observations. Methinks Fluffy is suggesting, as would I, that as language mill owners are often "unscrupulous louses" (nicely put!) it follows that the quality of their observers/observations should also be called into question.

This aspect is indeed the central plank of my objection to some observations. I see nothing wrong with observations per se, when they are genuinely aimed at improving the teacher and the quality of his/her teaching. But I suspect that in the lower levels of the TEFL profession observations often do not have the best interests of the teacher in mind, and are more about snooping on the teacher and/or a power trip by the dodgy owner or DoS.
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cmp45



Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 1336
Location: KSA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
Sashadroogie wrote:
Hic, I'm not sure I'm following you, Fluffy. Are you saying that because school owners are unscrupulous louses, unprofessional rip-off artists, that this is a justification for teachers to cry off professional development in the form of observations? Hic!

Jes' asking, as my poor brain is still muddled from sleeping rough on the bench last night...


Hi Sasha. Splendid indeed to resume our jousting on the subject of observations. Methinks Fluffy is suggesting, as would I, that as language mill owners are often "unscrupulous louses" (nicely put!) it follows that the quality of their observers/observations should also be called into question.
This aspect is indeed the central plank of my objection to some observations. I see nothing wrong with observations per se, when they are genuinely aimed at improving the teacher and the quality of his/her teaching. But I suspect that in the lower levels of the TEFL profession observations often do not have the best interests of the teacher in mind, and are more about snooping on the teacher and/or a power trip by the dodgy owner or DoS.


Too many assumptions create false ideas!
Any teacher that willingly works at a "language mill" and then complains about their observers/ observations, needs a reality check!...kinda like expecting the Rollex watches and Gucci bags sold in the open air markets to be the real deal!
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cmp45



Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 1336
Location: KSA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
Sashadroogie wrote:
Hic, I'm not sure I'm following you, Fluffy. Are you saying that because school owners are unscrupulous louses, unprofessional rip-off artists, that this is a justification for teachers to cry off professional development in the form of observations? Hic!

Jes' asking, as my poor brain is still muddled from sleeping rough on the bench last night...


Hi Sasha. Splendid indeed to resume our jousting on the subject of observations. Methinks Fluffy is suggesting, as would I, that as language mill owners are often "unscrupulous louses" (nicely put!) it follows that the quality of their observers/observations should also be called into question.
This aspect is indeed the central plank of my objection to some observations. I see nothing wrong with observations per se, when they are genuinely aimed at improving the teacher and the quality of his/her teaching. But I suspect that in the lower levels of the TEFL profession observations often do not have the best interests of the teacher in mind, and are more about snooping on the teacher and/or a power trip by the dodgy owner or DoS.


Too many assumptions create false ideas!
Any teacher that willingly works at a "language mill" and then complains about their observers/ observations, needs a reality check!...kinda like expecting the Rollex watches and Gucci bags sold in the open air markets to be the real deal!
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cmp45 wrote:
Too many assumptions create false ideas!
Any teacher that willingly works at a "language mill" and then complains about their observers/ observations, needs a reality check!...kinda like expecting the Rollex watches and Gucci bags sold in the open air markets to be the real deal!


I don't follow your logic cmp45. Surely it's just as much an assumption to presume that observers/observations at language mills are in the teacher's interest!!

OK. let's not use the pejorative term "language mill" - I don't like it either. Let's call them private language schools. Surely they shouldn't be dismissed as copy Gucci bags and Rollex watches. Private language schools are where many of us learn our trade - this is the TEFL front line sir!
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cmp45



Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 1336
Location: KSA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello??? you just stated yourself that these types of schools are at the low end of the TEFL industry...not to mention most are profit oriented, so the linear logic follows ...they would only be interested in teachers that are able to bring and keep warm bodies in the classroom...therefore the observers' agenda is more likely to be driven by this need...so...perhaps quality observations are not on the table for most of these places...can you sing and dance??? is more like it...

of course the sterotypes are rife within this category of school and do recognize there are levels of quality within...

Yeah maybe I am biased, I have never worked at a private "language" school nor have I trained at one.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cmp45 wrote:
hello??? you just stated yourself that these types of schools are at the low end of the TEFL industry...not to mention most are profit oriented, so the linear logic follows ...they would only be interested in teachers that are able to bring and keep warm bodies in the classroom...therefore the observers' agenda is more likely to be driven by this need...so...perhaps quality observations are not on the table for most of these places...can you sing and dance??? is more like it...

of course the sterotypes are rife within this category of school and do recognize there are levels of quality within...

Yeah maybe I am biased, I have never worked at a private "language" school nor have I trained at one.


Methinks we just got our wires crossed but basically agree i.e. many private language schools are bad therefore the observations that take place within them are also bad.

My point is essentially that this should matter - it's not good that bad observations take place. Rolling Eyes
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8612
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh dear, oh dear... Where's the evidence that many language schools are bad, really? And what do we mean by 'bad', exactly? Low pay? Crappy infrastructure? Poor staff room resources? Teachers who can't teach for toffee?

I'd say that even if a school is 'bad', no matter how it is defined, then this is all the more reason for a DoS to give support to his team of teachers - including proper observations. It is simply not good enough to shirk all teacherly responsibilities because one thinks the school is 'bad'.
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