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Can Someone give me some help?

 
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Soldier



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Can Someone give me some help? Reply with quote

Hi, I am teaching at 3 MS's. It's my first time, and I have just a 100 hr TESOL with a degree. I just got feedback from my boss. They're bored.
The students are relly roudy and it was hard to teach the material. I had some help from the co-teacher but only some translation and discipline.

As I said..I got feedback: Teaching for the textbook at boring. The students are tested from that book, however. What she said was that it is my job to figure out what teaching method is appropriate for the students. I asked what the previous teacher did, and she wouldn't answer, I had to find that out on my own by asking the students. One school might like one method of delivery, but another school might like another. Likewise...the grade levels.

The problem is that they are not terribly fluent for me to ask such a question.

I found that after playing the games, the students were still bored. I did test to see if they understood what they had to do, and checked that they were at the proper level as well.

My boss said that it is fine for the Korean teachers to teach from the book, as the students accept it and it is easy as the instruction is in Korean. However, I have to come up with other teaching methods.
Furthermore, I still have to teach the related material, it has to be done covertly, etc.

I feel that my 100 the TESOL course didn't cover that enough on delivery.
I got lots of psych info on the kinds of learners, visual, audio, hands on, etc; effects due to internal and external factors. There's other things too.

I have surveyed the books and teacher guides, I have found a few games and activities throughout each grade level.

I have tried to ask fellow teachers for advise, but it is vague and very and to a minimum. I kind of get the feeling that they were quite cold and it seemed like I was "cutting in on their 'turf.'" It's nice to get the 'rundown.

Can anyone give me some advise on teaching methods. I mean real advise beyond internet sites like Barryfunenglish and Waygookin.

What I want: knowledge on delivery techniques, not just the material itself. The current problem is my delivery.. of the class, the students are bored. I feel that the boss doesn't want to help me at all and wants me to figure it out on my own. I am getting work done but it would be nice to have some guidance.

My concern is preparing mountains of material, and the students still not liking the classes. I have ample time to teach each unit in the textbook. I know that I can supplement it with other activities.

Please give me helpful advise, not snide remarks like you're in the wrong field, you shouldn't be teaching, you're too lazy, etc. I believe anyone can be a good teacher, proper technique is key. It would be nice to know what it is for Korean MS students. What usually moves them? These students are rural kids, not urban.

As I said again, I am looking for delivery....I will take some suggestion of activities as well...there are never enough of those.

Cheers.....

Thank you in advance for your advise.
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JustinC



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Location: We Are The World!

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advice, Advice, ADVICE, ADVICE

Verb vs Noun. There, now I've got that off my chest;

"My concern is preparing mountains of material, and the students still not liking the classes." -

I'd be much less concerned about this, try different activities, each one slightly lower than your students' ability, to see what they warm to. Keep on trying different activities and don't fret if sometimes one bombs. Even the best students with their favorite activities have the odd bad day.

Just keep plugging away with different stuff, experiment, think on your feet, have fun, vary the speed of your delivery, tone of voice, sometimes walk around the class and sometimes stay at the front. Basically make it an interesting and engaging class (you can do this even with dry materials). Just get creative or plagiarize like crazy.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice above.

Also, do you organize the classroom into small groups/teams? You can do so much more with that configuration. Peer interaction, competition, etc, can really lively up a class.

Do you give them stuff that makes them think? A common shortcoming I see in native teacher classes I observe is nothing challenging on offer. These kids' thought processes tend to be several grade levels above their english ability. If they feel patronized, they clam up or act out.

You dont have to act the clown, but the kids do respond positively to humor, broad gestures, & kindness.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
These kids' thought processes tend to be several grade levels above their english ability.


If you make it challenging, then the other students complain. Students should be encouraged to challenge themselves and try to volunteer positively to the lesson. I have seen 2nd graders (7 year olds) and even 70 year old grandmas (who don't really speak well but are smart) who have displayed this.

If the class is run like a dog routine, then the students will sit like a dog waiting to do the next trick. Instead you need to give them room to contribute their own ideas.
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Squire



Joined: 26 Sep 2010
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Activities that offer some scope for creativity are good. Ask a class to do something that involves any kind of illustration and there will be some that just draw a stick figure and say '끝' and others who think up something interesting and put lots of effort in. Same with any creative use of English. The best thing is to set a simple task that lets all (or almost all) levels of student write something basic, but also gives the high level kids the chance to embellish a bit and use the more advanced language they've learned.

I must say I don't envy being at a school where they expect you to go beyond the requirements of the Korean teachers and both entertain and educate at the same time. Once the students are used to the idea of a foreigner there's only so much you can do to get their interest in English. I see no reason a Korean English teacher can't be expected to do this too. Your school are having a laugh if they think bringing in a foreigner will make all of the students super enthusiastic about English.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If the class is run like a dog routine, then the students will sit like a dog waiting to do the next trick. Instead you need to give them room to contribute their own ideas.


Quite true.

You need to figure out a way to engage the students so that they actively contribute to the lesson. They will learn far more this way.
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ArgentineDreams



Joined: 09 Sep 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long have you been in Korea?

I know when I first started, I got the bored compliant too. I didnít know much about the culture, k-pop, what they were saying while speaking in Korean (during breaks,) I didnít know how to read their faces, it took me a while to understand some students heavy accents, etc. Of course, I was still trying to get used to class timing, and the books I had to teach from. Also not to mention getting used to living in Korea.

However, I learned from my mistakes. It took me a rough 3 months, but after that hump, I honestly could say that I really did enjoy my work and Korea altogether much more. I learned how to really engage my students, and try to make class a fun, good and comfortable learning environment.

After I learned my rhythm or teaching style, I saw each new class as an egg. Once you figure out what the class needs (like breaking their egg,) then you can deliver, (or know how to cook it up lol.)

I had to figure out what worked best with them, for example: A lot of jokes? A loud voice? Independence? Talking very slow? More strict style teaching? Constantly pushing and challenging them? Babying them through the activities? There is no one formula for each class.

For example, I was once called the ďfunny teacherĒ let me explain. I could joke around, act silly, draw a small simple funny looking drawing at the end of a notes section. I joked about Korean/ American food, current actors in America/ Korea, got them to tell me about their favorite new game for their phone, and discuss their scores( saying big numbers I noticed was also something I could teach them in my classes) I also got them to tell me how they liked or didnít like a new K-pop song. I mean, of course I still had a text book to teach them and my hagwon was big on following the curriculum, but I always stopped here and there to make them smile or laugh, or relate it to their lives somehow just to make sure they were listening and paying attention. Relating it to their lives is big, I always asked how they would feel if they were the main character in the book going through that story? What they thought of it? What would they do instead? etc.

Each of my lessons had one story, or article to read, so for example if the reading talked about something strait from American culture that most young Korean students wouldnít fully understand, then I compared it to a Korean culture equivalent that they could understand.

My school also had bonus points. I would give them bonus points for all sorts of things from getting good scores on activities, perfect scores on homework, winning games, etc. Enough bonus points for them would get them candy and other small snacks form the Korean desk teachers. This reward system motivated a lot of them.

If I noticed the students didnít understand at all, I would draw a quick picture on the board of what was going on and explain it in basic terms. (I usually dealt with short stories, and other non-fiction materials.) So if they were struggling with the reading, then they could at least understand that. The way I saw it, taking 5 or even 10 minutes to really explain the story before, during or after a lesson so that they can know what is going on, is better than spending the same amount of time on a lesson and having most of the students not understand it.

Being a teacher is like being a captain of a ship, you have to get them all to a certain place, and you must gauge the best route there.
Very Happy Very Happy
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Soldier



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:30 pm    Post subject: Great Ideas Reply with quote

Thank you for some great pointers. Yes, my writing isn't the best, as I wrote the post in a hurry, and I was stressed, to boot. I still am, yes, I am trying to relax. It's not easy when you are constantly being judged.

I have put my students in small groups, pairs, and trios. That said, there is a huge noise factor,and the challenge is policing the Korean language. I found that after a few seconds, the students reverted back into Korean. That was the extremely noisy part. So I wonder, how to keep that part in check w/o being angry or loud myself.

I love the part of setting competitions, I hope my students too will warm up to it, and be stimulated.

I have been in Korea for a couple months now.

I am going to stick to the book for only 10-15 min, tops; in each class. I think I will add several activities; some writing, even though word finders, crosswords, etc. I will add videos, should make for interesting listen activities. I will have questions that will suit their abilities. I will add many games, this is where the competition part will come into play.

I like the idea of changing the tempo of my speech, the volume and intonation. I'll try to be a bit more self aware. I'll even try to see if I smile more. I like the students participation, have them come up and draw stuff. I'll ask them about their interests, see if I can expand on these. Perhaps someone might know a K Pop song sune in English.

Do Korean students really have any creativity?

I have had the bad experience of the students 'shutting down' on me. It was really hard to re engage them. I feel that sometimes you can loose credibility fast. Yes, I have multiple levels in each class.

The problem is also with the boss. How do I get back a good working relationship. She seems to be doing a lot more whispering, even though it's in Korean, these days. Also, she now doesn't even say hello or make eye contact with me now. There seem to be lots of telephone calls going on, to boot. Am I perhaps over reacting?

Thank you for your advise, advice, lol. Yeah, I am trying to calm down. I am feeling a lot of heat these days. Some people complained of my accent, I can't seem to change that.

What do you think folks? One other ting, lol, how do I ensure that I don't patronize my students. What should I watch as it may seem easy to mistake talking down to them apart of trying to speak in a manner that they will better understand what I am saying.

Cheers
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blm



Joined: 11 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Great Ideas Reply with quote

Soldier wrote:


The problem is also with the boss. How do I get back a good working relationship. She seems to be doing a lot more whispering, even though it's in Korean, these days. Also, she now doesn't even say hello or make eye contact with me now. There seem to be lots of telephone calls going on, to boot. Am I perhaps over reacting?


The best thing to turn it around is act like you have turned it around i.e. show some confidence.

They don't have perfect knowledge of what's going on in your classroom so if your moping around, tentative around the kids and reluctant to go to class they will pick up on that.

If you dress well, look comfortable in your environment and the kids are at least behaving (even if bored) then your pretty much there in the eyes of most Koreans as being a "good" teacher. It's not like the Korean teachers will be wowing them.

Keep trying different things, once you have built up a repertoire of activities that work for you (different for nearly every teacher) you will feel a lot more confident and you will enjoy it more. And that's when you start becoming an actual "good" teacher.... but it's easier and faster to fake it and doing so will give you some breathing space.
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Soldier



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:27 pm    Post subject: Really? Reply with quote

So, let me confirm...this is just about acting and being confident? Acting that the working relationship has repaired itself already?

Yeah, I get the other part, many activities, try them, keep the ones that work, hopefully leading to well behaved kids; look the part all the time; keep showing interest, etc.

What I think happened is that my boss has shut down on me. There are walls around her. When she talks to other people, there is a light, jovial, humourous, easy interaction environment. When I try to say something, even as same, she gets her guard up and is super cold, serious, etc.

Now, I tried to consider what could have offended her, I have asked those type of questions to remedy dad relationships before. But, I sometimes get, nothing, nothing, nothing. Even with probing, it makes the situation worse. Guess it's like a bad actor in the view of someone'e eyes.

I will try the everythings all right approach, and minimize social interaction with her to see if that helps; only polite, essential conversation.

What do you think I could do besides that?

Cheers.
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Soldier



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Some New Ideas Reply with quote

Well...I've got enough shit to carry me thru to spring, early mar. I found more ppt's games on other sites. I will have a further look at this site too. I have to teach roughy three classes for each school and grade level over jan and feb. That will take me up to four complete months. Now I need to find at least some more games and activities to carry me thru another two further months...worst case scenerio is that I get fired at that point..not have to worry about repaying the plane ticket then...I can at least try to find another school and start anew,,,with lessone learned and more activites and games in my back pocket. Better case scenerio is that the students will endure my activities and teaching for at least another six months further than that six month point...at least I finish the term...and can look something else for teaching....again I will start anew. Even better than that case scenerio..best case...is that the students like the teaching...activities..etc. and I renew for another year, two or three. I prefer at least some stability. Anyway...things seem to look better today...thanks for some tips folks.
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