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Inexperienced teacher looking for advice

Discussion in 'Classroom' started by Templeton, 15 Oct 2016.

  1. Templeton

    Templeton Thread Starter Member

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    Hello TTA....

    I am posting here as requested by a "senior member." I'm not a troll but clearly my sarcasm makes some feel as though I am. This is most disappointing because I am a serious poster who is not taken seriously.

    Here's the deal, I live here in Thailand. I took the CELTA course because most people on AF said that was the route to go. Then, after getting the cert I was berated for not understanding the Thai school system. Wow, very strange as I was/am new to the Thai school system and I wasn't a teacher before.

    Moving forward: I have a job with a language school (just hired). On certain days I'll be working 6 hours straight with clients in the hospitality business. Clearly their clients are farang; aka white tourists. I am asking a real question here. The question is simple: do you have experience teaching one class English for 6 straight hours? If you do, please share your experience and knowledge.
     
  2. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    I once had the pleasure of teaching the local tax office and had 2 groups but some from group 1 would be in group 2 also (from memory pre-intermediate and intermediate) ... so content obviously differed. So a handful would study 6 hours.
    Broke the time down:
    9am to 10.30 am, 15 minute smoko, 10.45 to 12.00.
    1.00pm to 2.30 pm, 15 minute smoko, 2.45 to 4pm.
    So the actual study for those few came to 5 and a half hours within a 7 hour run.
    It worked and did this for 4 weeks straight.

    As for your groups, there are plenty of resources out there and look for 'Hotel English' ....sorry have loads of books on this but nothing from online (did this at Uni level 12 years ago). Also depends on their level and their job ....maybe an idea to find out first where they are at and go from there ....are they tour guides, receptionists, restaurant staff etc. ? and how good is their English to start with? Try to tailor the course to their needs and don't go in too deep straight off the bat ....if it is ongoing for a long period of time then you will have to plan well.

    Good luck, I don't envy your task ....6 hours one single group... ouch.
     
  3. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    We don't need to target or exclude each other. We are all in the same boat, more or less, and there is some respect underneath the banter. Everyone appreciates that.

    Teaching for six hours straight does not work well. It is too long. Studies done at the Defense Languague Institute in Monterey, California have shown beyond doubt that 4 hours of instruction per day is the best length of time for adults to sit in a classroom, especially one-on-one, in order to acquire a second language. One can teach the same students for more that 4 hours, but after that limit you get diminishing returns. Keep in mind that the student will do homework--that time is not counted in the 4 hour limit. You should teach for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. They did a lot of research into that too.

    Start yourself on the road to professionalization. You have come to the right place to find out how to take the right steps.

    Sabaii dee
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2016
  4. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    Without seeing the curriculum or the "book" I don't feel that I have enough information to comment. How is the curriculum set up?(let's focus on the part which we can move forward - positively and not the baggage.)

    6 hours may seem a lot but broken down into tuition, group work, presentation, whole class discussion, individual work it really is not a lot of time.

    Perhaps if you share the content of the curriculum, members would be more informed to comment.
     
  5. Templeton

    Templeton Thread Starter Member

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    I should get the book and actual schedule soon. I agree with David about the 50 minutes and then a break. Plenty of studies have shown the brain can only handle so much in 60 minutes. The class in question is for hotels so basically hospitality is the focus. Also, I was told that the level of English is extremely low. This is always troubling for me because I'm not sure how to set up any activity (game) when the students don't understand my instructions. Anyway, I'm not trying to be negative or say it can't be done. I'm just saying I don't feel experienced enough to handle the situation.

    By that I mean, how can I do a good job? I'm perfectly capable of not caring so I don't need advice there. I'd like to do a good job and help the people that want to learn.
     
  6. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    1. You can make cards with English on one side and Thai on the other for the classroom language. Repeat until just about everyone gets it.

    2. Speaking slowly and clearly, use simple words that you accompany with a gesture. Writing those words on the board might be helpful.

    3. You can use TPR (Total Physical Response). You tell the students what to do, and then they respond physically.

    4. Having fun is an important part of any Thai classroom. You are going to have to figure out how to have sanuk. Have fun and learn.
     
  7. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    I am confident that the more serious members will be able to help when you do.

    you can do it, have confidence in yourself!
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2016
  8. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    What you didn't mention is if you've got a whole group, or only one on one lessons to teach.

    It's nearly impossible for them to study six hours straight, so you'll have to split your time up into different sections and activities and keep all you're doing fun for them.

    If one starts to quit, the others might follow. If you can come up with a few more details, I'm sure that you'll get the right advice.

    Best of luck.
     
  9. gungchang

    gungchang Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised if there was a very long lunch and a break at the end of the class, ie, go home early.

    One might even prepare some dialogues and some games. I've been surprised by childlike behavior in Thai adult classes.
     
  10. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    Right! That is true, and it is also true in Monterey at DLIFLC, but you almost never sit in class for six hours. At DLI East you can only have four hours of class, maximum. All of the students only learn for four hours no matter what.

    At DLIFLC a lot of time is spent in the lab doing exercises, or otherwise outside of the formal classroom. Some days it was 50-50. Like I said, you can have more than four hours of instruction in one day, but you get diminishing returns. Most people can only learn and absorb so much at one time--there are exceptions. They actually have a graph which shows learning efficiency against time, and it falls off steeply at some point after four hours of classroom work.

    DLIELC and PLTCE, which is in Germany, have a lot of hours, but those students are pros. If you have professional linguists with enough brains to learn Pashtu or Mandarin, and they already have another language under their belt such as Farsi or Russian, then yes, let them sit in class for a long time. They eat it up. It is as if they were professional students. PLTCE is an exception. They are not acquiring a language; they are polishing what they have already gained. We always sat in class for six hours a day, but it was a cram school for professional linguists. DLIELC is mostly the same. They are getting people ready to take the DLPT, an extremely tough test in one's target language or secondary target language. I went to PLTCE (used to be FLTCE) five times. Best days of my life.

    If I were running a school for second language acquisition, I would go for 4 to 5 hours of instruction per day plus one hour in a lab. 8:00 to 11:00, lab from 11:10 to 12:00, class again from 1:30 to 2:20. Some days have an extra hour of class or lab (speaking, reading, writing, or listening) from 2:30 to 3:20. Lots of listening practice. Tons of homework. Work five days a week, but Saturdays are laden with homework. Sundays are for rest. Encourage the students to do physical exercise in the mornings or after class.
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2016
  11. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    Someone once told me that the whole point of the Thai education system is to make sure that no one grows up. That is pretty harsh, but there is perhaps some truth to it. On the plus side, childlike is better than childish, and childlike is much better than cynical, angry, sardonic, vindictive, brutal, aggressive, scathing, disappointed, argumentative, impolite, or any of the other adjectives that Thai people are not. Be honest about it: taking breaks, going home early, not taking things too seriously, that all seems to be working. Right? Well, in a way, sometimes. But I hope my physician learned something in school, and my airplane mechanic too.

    You can have students who are on time, who like to work, who want to learn, who are responsible, who have high standards, who refuse to cheat. I have seen it in Thailand, and a lot depended on the parents, especially the mother.

    A caring and smart mother will see the difference between dee and mai dee.
     
  12. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    You can have students who are on time, who like to work, who want to learn, who are responsible, who have high standards, who refuse to cheat. I have seen it in Thailand, and a lot depended on the parents, especially the mother.


    I think it's not only the relationship to the mother, a healthy family and successful people who understand that education doesn't occur when sleeping on an English book.

    In my humble opinion there're between three and five students in each classroom who fit in your raster.
     
  13. Dubarry

    Dubarry Active Member

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    Having taught in the hospitality center in different hotels part-time and full time it would be very unusual to teach the same students for 6 hours in one day. Usually different levels come in their own time-slots for 2 hours at a time. That being said it could be that the hotel sees this as a training day and want to bombard their employees with knowledge rather than going through the logistics of staff redeployment over a prolonged period of days or weeks.

    Breaking up the day into segments would be the only way to keep interest and not cause brain overload or boredom. Lesson planning is critical in order to ensure the smooth running of the schedule. Take each segment as a separate entity and plan accordingly. You will have to plan according to your student’s ability but initially, go with basic elementary as you have been informed and if the class is to be repeated you can amend according to how your first day panned out.

    Take a 8:30 start as a starting point.

    8:30 – 10:00. Comprehension – Start with introductions and getting the feel of the class. Set the ground rules on phones and taking of leave. (I always treat adults as adults and allow them to keep their phones on silent and if necessary for work to take any calls outside where they don’t disrupt the class). Give the class a passage which they can read and have them take note of any vocab that they need clarification on. Have grammar related questions after this on the passage related to their English ability. Have one set of questions that you can score separately and you will have a grammar score that you can keep if the client’s employer requests such.
    ability
    10:00 – 10:15. Break.

    10:15 – 11:45. Writing. Give the clients a writing assignment. (Something simple like: “The difference between your present mobile phone and your first one”). Give directions on how much you expect them to write and if bullet points are allowed. After they are finished you can go through them individually to correct their errors so as not to embarrass. If you have time get them to present their essays to the class. Keep the essays as this will give you a means of giving a writing ability score to the clients employers.

    11:45 – 13:00 Lunch.

    13:00 – 14:30 Listening. I have found that everybody likes music and I have sought out the lyrics of songs that are popular and put them on paper leaving out various words here and there. I have then played a YouTube recording of the song to the clients where they have to fill in the missing words (make sure you request them not to look up the lyrics on their phones). This can take several plays. Next, you can go through the lyrics asking the clients to identify vocabulary such as verbs, adjectives, pronouns, etc. The next stage would be to go through what the clients feel is the message of the song and whether this message is portrayed well or how it could have been better done. Finally, the clients could have a karaoke session which is always good fun. Give clients a listening score and you will also have a score for the client’s employers.

    N.B. As this is a sensitive time in Thailand it might be better to use a poem as music might be considered inappropriate.


    14:30 – 14:45 Break

    14:45 – 16:15 Speaking. Set up a scenario where for example you have a waiter serving a customer or a receptionist welcoming a guest to the hotel. Write the script or get the clients to write it and then get the clients to act out the story. You might start by going through the script with the clients first so that they can be clear on the vocab and that they can put in any amendments (They might, for example, have a standard welcome that they have been already told to say and it would be better to stick with this) . Next get them to act. You may need to get the ball rolling by taking one of the roles yourself with the most vocal student (there’s always at least one) and then getting them all involved. Take not of the client’s speaking ability and you will have a score for their employer.

    You will, of course, have to take time planning the stages and getting the material together which I'm sure you are not going to be paid for but it will make your time in class more productive and give structure to the course.
     
  14. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    A great one. But I would let them speak as much as possible. You as the teacher only correct mistakes and help with words that are essential for their job.

    I did plenty of role plays with Thai English teachers and the difference to your students might not be very huge.

    Thais feel safer when in a group. So why not creating a customer and a clerk at a hotel desk and let them do their conversation, starting with greetings, polite, impolite, and once the vocabulary is understood they're good to go and practice the check in.

    From there you can continue and add more and more phrases that are needed for their job. Don't be serious about the outcome, nobody is able to learn English at a weekend seminar or in your six-hour lesson.

    Just act as a professional and all will be fine. Good luck.
     
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  15. spidey

    spidey Well-Known Member

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    Six hours per session with the same class??? That isnt going to work, you'll have their attention for the first two hours at most, then it will become unbearable for everyone involved. What is the class size? Can it be broken down into smaller groups, each getting a good quality two hour lesson? There is a reason that my adult evening company work is in two hour stints with a 10 minute break....It WORKS! It actually feels like just the right amount of time. Teach the material, roleplays etc then the workbook.....break...continue workbook (basically finish up) and end with some kind of game/activity. This system has worked for me for years and I wouldnt want to change it. If there is NO way around it and you are stuck with the same group for the whole six hours...Goodluck!
     

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