Some Advice on Large Classes

<b> Forum for discussing activities and games that work well in the classroom </b>

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Location: South Korea, Montreal,Ottawa,San Francisco, Washington DC, Dar es Salaam, Caribbean.

Here in Korea --- the pairing and making of teams works

Post by Rawgreenpower » Sun Nov 13, 2005 12:23 am

As the society respects teachers --- especially foreign - that works wells.

However --the largest classes are about twenty at most ! in sometimes very small hot humid conditions.

as all of our classes follow regular school hours - the kids are really tired and under enormous pressure to compete.

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That sounded like me!

Post by bigjohnox » Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:45 am

Govt school in china, Middle school, 2,000 kids aged 13-15, 27 x 40 min classes a week. I do a lot of Penny Ur stuff. And Boys v girls. Kids can't move about at all. I tried asking for a spare room to be converted into an English room. They agreed then said no. Maybe others will have better luck. One room, 80 stools, no desks, maps and posters on the walls...the kids come to you. What a dream.

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Location: South Korea, Montreal,Ottawa,San Francisco, Washington DC, Dar es Salaam, Caribbean.

The classes here are a lot smaller

Post by Rawgreenpower » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:26 am

the demands are really different ---
as they have been minimising expenses - and cutting both foreign and korean teachers - i do everything myself o h well :?

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Space Race with India?

Post by Bann_Me » Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:49 am

Anybody wondering why they can put a chinese person in space but can't make more schools so children can learn properly?

I am in a similar situation, I teach small classes compared to what it seems like a lot of you are teaching. I have at the most 36 kids. Which I don't have much problems with.

You know DIVIDE AND CONQUER. Teams, let the kids police themselves. Works for Governments and it works for teachers in the classroom too!!

Vietnamization? Iraqiazation? CHILDRENIZATION! Make the kids into cops! Let them Opresss the Masses! That is if you can't get them all Chocolate flavored (American Spelling guys that way you won't correct my spelling) Riddilin.<-----------------(French Spelling)

Yeah serioulsy works for me. Don't want to say too much more. Since I am sure you Super teachers already know.
But honelty dont you get angry that they are shoving their kids into a classroom packed like a bunch of Jews off to the Auchuwitz Condominuims?

That is sick. Depriving a Child of an Education because you don't want to build more schools.

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Teach a big class

Post by gongqin » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:20 am

I am a Chinese English teacher. i often visit this website.
it is a practical situation that there are lots of students in a class. So it's hard to activate students' interest of learning enlish by useful teaching activities.
In my teaching , i often change the way of placing the desks or preparing a Activity room.
look forward to someone' s good suggestion on it.

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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:03 am

Large classes

Post by clarer » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:27 am

I have just stumbled into this site, what a great find...I'm so happy I've found some collegues in the same situation. My classes are between 60-80 kids and on average I teach 1500 a week too. The chinese english teachers are very supportive and feel the same way as I do. They are frustrated with the class sizes and lack of interest from some students. I have kind of teemed up with the teachers and try to mirror what they teach in their method english classes. I usually make a dialogue with the students and they volunteer their ideas or I have the students come up and write a line each. I usually ask the student monitor of the class to point out some of the students with poor english to me and then I haul them up to write too and of course help them. I do the same thing when it is time to read out the dialogue. I have had some great success with this in some classes and then other classes they are not too keen. I am planning to try and come up with some good ideas for all the classes for the next term. By the way have any of you been given "Crazily Speak English" to use as a text book? It's not appropriate for school children in my opinion and I have tried to avoid using it. Teaching these huge classes is very draining. I spent my first month and a half bellowing at them, but now I don't bother. I now have a student write the offending names on the board and usually they are pretty quiet, or as quiet as 70 muttering kids can be. The standard of english is tough too, about 10 of each class have great english skills then the other 50 or so are okay and then there are 10 or so who haven't a clue, so trying to find a balance in keeping everyone happy is a challenge

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Time to share

Post by gongqin » Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:46 am

Glad to find your reply! I am happy to hear that you can let students open their mouth to speak english. the students i am teaching haven't learnt english before. that means they have no english basis.
It's a challenge for me because they are too young:6 years old. no english basis and large number in a class. Anyway i am trying my best to help them learning english. It's been better than before.
I think we can teach well as long as we learn their psychology and activate their interest of learning english.
As to crazy english, i think it's better for the people who have arrived a certain english level. Just as a way of practising speaking english.
look forward to share with you on any topic.

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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:46 am
Location: Xi'An China

Large classes

Post by wctman » Sat Jan 21, 2006 10:13 pm

Wow, and I ever glad I have come across this forum. I am in my first year teaching in China, in Xi'An actually. My situation is very good compared to some of you here in that my classes include only 40 kids, with much room to walk around etc. Of 21 classes/week, 16 are in primary school and the other 5 in middle. I am the first FLE ( you know, foreign language expert ) hired by the school, and have been given carte blanche to do whatsoever I please in class. No textbooks, no curriculum, just oral English. And so, it is all about games and activities.

Here are some things that I have learnt:

1) with primary kids, Gr. 1 and 2, I provide each student with a blank piece of paper to draw on each class. It keeps their hands busy, it keeps them in their seats ( for the most part ). I will draw something on the board ie elephants, rabbits, Snow White, and then walk around and see how the kids are doing. Some are on topic, some are drawing rockets, it doesn't matter. We talk about their creation in English.

2) Gr. 3 and 4: team work. Teams by rows, which means teams of 10. Spelling games, vocabulary games, drawing on the board. The kids are very competitive, and to keep discipline in check, all I need do is erase a point from their team total.

Gr. 5 and 6: also, team work. Usually groups of 10, sometimes smaller. Games that require quick thinking. Example: with a representative of each team at the board, they must write a short sentence including the word Kangaroo, or apple, or whatever word you think of. Or, I would say Kangaroos are found... The correct answer ( Aust. or zoo ) earns a point.

When things get out of hand, which happens often, I sit everybody down and we try to cool off a bit. The activity will not restart until everyone is seated and reasonably quiet.

Middle school is a bit different. Still, lots of games, little competitions. As for discipline, well, the kids discipline themselves for the most part. But, here is what has worked the best. I merely walk to the door, open it, and suggest that whoever does not want to participate is free to leave. Of course, any student seen standing out in the hallway is an open target for passing Chinese teachers or administrators, and they are thus very noticeable. No one wants to get sent out.

And, as for classroom activites, I take a few minutes each class to ask them what they would like to do next time. I then have a week between classes to come up with some ideas that can carry the 45 minutes. Sometimes you win, and have a great class, sometimes you lose, and you left wondering how such great ideas went down like a lead balloon.
So long as the wins exceed the losses...

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Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Post by Brian » Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:16 am

Dear god! 80 students crammed into a classroom? It sounds terrible. I'm amazed anything at all can get taught in a situation like that.

I thought of one possible solution for when the weather is warm enough - maybe something that could be tried once in a while as a break from the norm...

Identify ten or so of the strongest students.
Take the kids outside - somewhere open with plenty of space.
Put them into small groups, sitting on the ground - 7 or 8 students per group.
Assign one strong student to each group as a kind of 'teacher's assistant'.
Spend a minute or two briefing your strong students, and have THEM teach their little group.
You move around from group to group, monitoring.

The work you could ask these 'assistants' to teach might be...

dialogue to drill
spelling lists
vocabulary - opposites, comparitives, adjectives ... whatever
songs to practice

To make it work, it might need you to spend five minutes teaching you assistants at the start, so they know what you expect them to do. But then you could move around, joining each group for a few minutes at a time and overseeing.

I've really no idea if this would work - it's just a thought. I'm spoilt rotten with maximum class sizes of 20, and often only 10 or 11 in my class. Sorry!


grammar comics for you and your students...


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Location: Xi'An China

Post by wctman » Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:17 pm

I like the idea of changing the classroom routine by going outside too. I've done it a couple of times now, and the middle school students really like it. I did it during exam week, as kind of a breather for them. Here is what i really learnt: those who really want to speak English stick by me, the others will skip rope or sit down and relax. Those who want to talk join me for a half hour or so walk around the football / soccer field, and we talk about all kinds of things. It is these kids that I will benefit the most, and a 10/1 ratio sure beats the classroom setting of 40/1. And, you get to know these kids a whole lot better too on a more personal level. Try it. I think you'll like.

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Location: Ohio, USA

A solution for making copies of handouts

Post by hx107305 » Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:00 pm

I used to teach large size EFL class in Beijing too. Now i think one solution of making copies of handout can be using internet. If you have a webpage or blog, ask students to download. Or you can upload the handout to a discussion board like here. I'm sure the students won't mind printing out the handouts by themselves.

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Location: seoul, korea

500+ games

Post by soulmaster » Tue Feb 28, 2006 9:22 am

I really could use alot of those games you have. I have large classes of 40 high school students and this is my second year teaching them. I need some new material and games. Also, does anyone know a good student/teacher book for high school students that doesn't make them go to sleep? my email is [email protected] Thanks.

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Location: Ohio, USA

teaching high schoolers

Post by hx107305 » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:40 am

One thing i find out about high school students is they are really intereted in popular culture. The pop songs and movies are their favorite. So why don't try some of them out?

Young B
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Post by Young B » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:43 am

I feel sorry for every teacher who has to teach large classes like that!

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Post by Atassi » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:54 am

Thanks to everyone for your insight. I never thought of teaching 80 students in one class as being a good idea to take on, but Sally Olsen definitely made it seem doable...

I still believe that it is valuable for a teacher to devote all of his/her time to 10 students at a time, but Sally Olsen has really kind of opened my eyes with her ideas and with her creativity. Everyone should read her original have to respect her.

And I thought I had it bad with 45 students in a class some time ago. :shock: Good luck to everyone in that situation. :wink:

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