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Conducting non-standard course- need help!

 
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Loara



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Location: warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:00 pm    Post subject: Conducting non-standard course- need help! Reply with quote

Hello Everybody here:)

I'm new to the forum and need some help with the course I was asked to conduct.

The course is aimed at professionals at B2/C1 levels of proficiency- business conversations.
Although I've taught a lot of standard BE courses to adults, I feel lost with the character of the course.
The strange thing (as for me) is that each and every lesson should be taught with almost no materials- the atmosphere during the classes should be really "relaxed", and, at the same time, I'm expected to teach them a lot of vocabulary or grammatical structures.
I fell really confused- how to teach people and make it interesting and involving without materials?!? Confused What I can only give to them are handouts after each classes with the grammar or vocabulary covered during the session.
I cant imagine teaching all these without the proper input in a written form :/

Maybe those of you who have more experience in theaching BE to adults could give me some suggestions? I'd be really grateful:)
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1372
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't imagine why you can't use any materials. I understand if they want to focus on conversation or discussion, but there are a lot of things you can do that still require materials.
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1313
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like your bosses have been reading some literature about the best way to teach English and have rediscovered something done in that area of the world many years ago. I have been trying to remember the name of the method but can't recall it right now.

The classroom was made as comfortable as possible with calming colours, as I remember some version of pink that allows you to be calm and accept information, really nice chairs, music, refreshments and lots of oral input from the teacher and not too much demand on the students.

I think they tried that in the French classes for English Canadians and it was eventually discarded because adults really want to be able to refer to what they know already, see things down in print as well as be able to take notes for themselves.

My husband took a few weeks of a course that promoted comfort like that and said that he fell asleep most mornings it was so comfortable and so did the other students. He wasn't impressed.
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Loara



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Location: warsaw, Poland

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah,I think it's a nonsense. Generally, the boss said that they can be given some materials but it must be very limited- let's say 1 page per 90 min classes. The main objective is to talk a lot but 'talking for talking' doesn't make sense if they want to gain some new knowlegde like grammar or voc.

I can't imagine teaching everything in the air and giving a handout with the vocalubaly covered at the end of the classes. The handout could be a good way to summarize all the most important aspects covered,but as I said, how can I implement new voc. without giving them it in a written form during the classes so they can practise it for themselves when speaking in pairs or sth.

What would do in such a situation? How would you teach such classes?
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1313
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps they have been burned by a teacher who only taught by the book and wouldn't take into account the abilities of the students. I would try to find out more about the history of their request.

Do the bosses come into the classroom? Do you have to worry about them dropping by or dropping in unexpectedly? Otherwise, I would just do as you always have done and if they do come by, have the students ready to defend you and your methods. Or you could defend them yourself before the class starts if you feel comfortable doing that and don't need the job.

I used to have a discussion about teaching methods and find out what the students expected, had experienced before, wanted during the class. It makes for a great discussion about their best classes and teachers and what they did and gives you valuable input about where they are in their experiences. Over the course of time, I expanded their experiences to the way I wanted to teach and defended it with research if necessary or did some of our own research. The students usually wanted grammar, grammar, grammar but fell asleep or were bored and the grammar they were learning didn't carry over to their written or spoken work. They wanted drill, and tests and I wanted them to think. But all this was done in English and provided many hours of conversation. They got all their grammar but through Systemic Functional Grammar and not through drill and fill in the blanks, rather through actual composition and oral expression.

The bosses didn't say that you couldn't create materials with the students so I would propose to the students that this is a new course and needs new materials and the students and you are going to design them. They can have a portion of the profits when you sell them to a publisher. Since they are business people it might be interesting for them.

They would have to devise a way to test themselves or make up a questionnaire of what they would like to study and how. They would then fill out the test or the questionnaire and study the results. Then they would design a curriculum based on the results and design exercises to reinforce their learning and for homework. They can decided topics or projects and you can give them an idea of what has been done before or just let them make up their own completely.

This is a method in Co-operative Learning and works wonders with adults. They feel really invested in their learning, planning and the results.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1372
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sally--was the method you were thinking of Suggestopedia? I never did try that one. Wink
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Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1313
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked up various methods and thought it might be Suggestopedia but they didn't mention the comfort of the students and in this method, the comfort of the students was everything. I had the impression it was done in Russia or thereabouts. I guess it is too long since I did all this to really remember the details. I am sure we all try our best within our means to make our students comfortable and I have even put one or two to sleep.
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