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Highschool students...control and teaching methods???

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Joined: 19 Mar 2003
Location: Kwangju, Korea

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2003 5:23 pm    Post subject: Highschool students...control and teaching methods??? Reply with quote

I have recently taken a highschool job and am seeking advice from teachers who have experience teaching highschool students in Korea. My classes are mixed boyz and girls, and I teach first and second year, 35 students each class. Most of the classes are not a problem, however, two of the second year classes consist of "lower-grade" students who don't have any real conversation ability at all. I am finding these students to be the hardest to control in class...they have no real interest. What methods, if any, do you use to control the students(ei: speaking. laughing, checking their hair etc) and what sort of activities and such work well with a group such as this?

Second, I am seeking good ideas in terms of classroom activities and projects which teachers have found to be successful in motivating the better students and making the year more fun.

If anyone would take the time to lend me the wisdom of your experience, you will have my eternal thanks.

Respond here or email me directly at [email protected].


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Dazed and Confused

Joined: 10 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used Touchdown book 1 and 2, and 50/50 with this age students. Both texts have activities that are interesting and can get even the lowest level speaker talking. I've found most of the students have responded well.
A good text for activites is "An ESL teachers Activity Book" there are lots of fun activities, but they do require photocopying and preparations. Possibly even getting a Korean to write instructions in Korean.
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Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lonewolf, I have experience teaching 15/16 yr olds, maybe a similar age group to you. Having some adult sensibilities yet still behaving like 5 yr olds, they are incredibly hard to teach. And all the sexual tension between them is the underlying factor in their lessons- they all want to impress eachother. Physical punishments to keep control of them are mostly not appropriate. They're either painfully self-conscious or extrovert exhibitionists. Added to this, the high schools are not yet used to the foreign teacher system and your classes seem very large.
The ideal solution is to have a korean teacher help you to direct the lesson- giving instructions and translation. I had this a couple of times but most Korean teachers hate this agegroup.
So what works with them? Games involving intellect, personalities etc. They respect humour and wit. Use the conversation topic books a lot- get them to write up their answers before interviewing them individually. They like current magazines with pictures of fashion/ news/ etc. Bait them with games and then pre- teach and practise relevant vocab in groups first. Get them to interview eachother on different things and fill in questionnaires etc. it all has to be relevant, happening topics.
If I think of anything else I'll let U know.
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The Great Wall of Whiner

Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Middle Land

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2003 9:29 pm    Post subject: games Reply with quote

I used to have a class (albiet all boys), and we made every lesson into a battle.

I would draw a great big map of Korea, and section parts off like Risk. Every territory had a name. (January, February, etc).

Students would gain a territory when pronouncing it properly.

My students LOVED it..(boys...)
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes a song can be used to generate a theme/activities or in conjunction with other material. Playing and learning the words, cloze activities and other reading exercises, then discussion (about the song/singer) and students finding another song etc.
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Rand Al Thor

Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: Locked in an epic struggle

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know you are probably there to teach conversation, but the students won't care about that all they are interested in is passing that university entrance exam in year III.

If you want them to be interested, somehow make them see the relevence of what you are teaching. get a copy of an old exam if you can and look at the english section. Then try to use that to help you plan a lesson. Explicitly tell them that it will be useful for them and demonstrate how, using old questions.

I'm very positive that they will pay attention. It may not be the best teaching but at least you will have their attention enough to slowly introduce other activities that are more communicatively oriented.
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The King of Kwangju

Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's obvious a lot of the people answering have never taught in a K public school before. Coversation topic books? Old Uni entrance exams? You'll be eaten alive.

The Great Wall of Whiner has what sounds like a good idea.

This sounds rotten, LW, but the answer is in lowering your expectations of the students. You're teaching a huge class of students who don't want to learn in a language they can't comprehend. It's a tall order.

The best you can do is give every student a chance to speak one English word/sentence a class. Sounds easy, but say you give each student a minute of time to say something; with 35 students, that's 35 minutes.

If you incorporate the whole thing into a game, at least the students will speak a little English, have fun, and come away from the class thinking speaking E isn't so bad after all, which is the whole point.
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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 3:11 pm    Post subject: ideas Reply with quote

I teach middle school students in a co-ed school and have similar problems. I have a few thoughts to add to the matter.

You have to be pretty strict from day 1. Make sure the kids know what your expectations are. Don't hesitate to punish kids or even the whole class. Individual punishments can be holding a heavy book over their head for 5 minutes. If the kid is really bad, send them out of the room and give them some kind of punishment after class. Class punishments can be doing 50 squats or jumping jacks. I saw another middle school teacher have the students close their eyes when they are noisy. It works for me to quiet them down and I think it makes them feel like babies. You could try it for h.s. (although they might be a little old for that).

Do activities and play games that are motivational and fun. Make sure you prep the kids before the game with an activity that helps them get ready to speak. Some games that have worked well for me are:

1. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Question dice game. Make your own die and have kids roll it. In teams they must form questions with the question prompting word. Other teams can answer the question for bonus points. (Prep: Fill in the blank question word. Practice saying questions and answering them).

2. Who am I? Students must ask only yes/no questions to determine the identity of a person. Winning question would be Are you Jo Sung-mo? Yes! (Prep: changing regular questions to Yes/No questions).

3. Flyswatter game (for pronunciation or learning new phrases). (Prep: pronunciation flashcards or other flashcards).

4. Jeopardy. (This is a good game for review or for 'easy' material that the students should know. Prep: work on skills from one of the more difficult Jeopardy categories).

I've found that games that involve the whole class and are competetive keep the students most interested. And I was surprised to discover that games where they students have to do most of the talking sometimes help keep them the most quiet. The Who am I? game was a great success for me in that respect.

Check out the classroom management (discipline) ideas at the idea cookbook here. Also the game ideas. And you might try posting your question at this spot as well:
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