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Need advice on teaching large, adult classes.

 
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tyrn



Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 1:39 am    Post subject: Need advice on teaching large, adult classes. Reply with quote

I need advice on teaching large, adult conversation classes. The classes will be from 20-30 students and no materials will be provided. How does one teach conversation to classes of that size? Does anyone have any experience with this? I don't know what the level of the students will be, but I expect that most of them will be from high-beginner to intermediate. I'd appreciate any advice or suggestions that anyone can give me.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1366
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will be noisy, but the best way to get the students talking is to have them work in pairs or groups of 3. They can have some questions to ask each other, or different kinds of information gap exercises (where one person has some information and the others have to ask to find out what it is.) You can also do different kinds of "Find Someone Who" activities (Find someone who has studied English for more than a year. Ask how long.) etc. I also have used a set of questions cut into strips and put in different envelopes (I have at least 13 envelopes of at least 30 questions each with no duplicates). Students take turns pulling out a question and asking the other two people in their group the question, and then follow up with another question.
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tyrn



Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:49 am    Post subject: Thanks Lori. Reply with quote

Thanks Lori, I may have to resign myself to pair or groupwork although I find it very inefficient and even frustating to use. Inefficient, because students seem to learn very slowly; not much faster than they could learn on their own. Frustrating, because while I am monitoring one group, I keep overhearing students in other groups making egregious errors without correction or even a challenge from their group members.

Most games also appear to be a great waste of time, so I am wracking my brains for something different that I can do. It seems that I may be stuck with pair work though. C'est la vie, I guess.

But, thanks again Lori.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1366
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my view of adult conversation may be different than yours. While I might be pleased to hear students speaking with no errors, the chances of that happening are slim. My goal is for students to be comfortable speaking English, and not to be afraid of trying to make themselves understood. If they work in pairs or threes, they can overcome some of their shyness and get used to speaking English, as well as getting practice in making themselves understood. You can also go around while they are talking and makes notes of the errors you hear, and then discuss them on the blackboard after the discussions are over.
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tyrn



Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:42 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks again Lori. In smaller classes, I have no difficuties in giving my students confidence to speak in English and in fact, they are usually so eager to speak that a greater problem is to get them to shut up and give others equal time. I'm trying to formulate some ideas on how to do this with larger classes and I'd certainly like to hear from anyone who's had some success with this.

I have taught some large classes of two dozen or so students before, but the lessons were all very directed, with all of the students working very hard to achieve similar goals. In this case, I was not even actually required to teach English, as the students were expected to already possess good skills and if they did not have them, to get them elsewhere. Of course, I did help them; a fact much appreciated even by my stronger students.

However, that was a very different situation. What worked well then would not work well, if at all, in a general conversation class.

So, I'm still looking for ideas.

Anyway, thanks again Lori, I apprecite your response.
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Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1366
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh two dozen isn't a large class to me. That's what we usually have. Very Happy
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surrealia



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 82
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have put together a page of links to articles on the subject of teaching large classes. The first few are for teaching ESL/EFL classes, the others address teaching large classes in general. Take a look:

http://sites.google.com/site/eslarticlessite/largeclasses
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shelleyvernon



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there,

With lower levels pair work can still be v. effective but you have to make sure it is well guided and demonstrated before hand and even do some language drill-type games to embed some of the key language first. This increases the students chances of doing well and responding more enthusiastically to the task.

For plenty of ideas to use with adults in all class sizes check out the free samples that you may receive by email on this page:

Enjoy! Very Happy
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/adults.htm

Some of the ideas are for whole-class participation, others for small group work; so with 20-30 students you can make 6 group of 5 for example, and others for pair-work.

Kind regards
Shelley
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