Help - getting large chinese classes to talk

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Help - getting large chinese classes to talk

Unread postby roseanna » 27 May 2009, 05:35

Hello! I realise this post may be a bit irritating - why don't i just dig in and read all the old posts that answer related queries? the answer is that i have just arrived in china and my internet connection is very slow, so please be indulgent!

i am a totally new teacher and i have just got a job at a language institute here. my job includes teaching middle school classes of about 32 students. I expected to learn by watching the other teachers at work, but i've been made to observe the guy i'm replacing all week, and he just stands at the front and drones through a powerpoint presentation trying to elicit the word 'taco' and similar, then complains when the students get bored, so i feel a bit out on a limb. the students have separate english lessons given by chinese teachers, and their understanding and reading skills are really impressive, but like language students everywhere, they're reluctant to talk. the native english-speaking teachers are here just for oral practice, so the students don't have any textbooks in our classes and we aren't expected to make them write anything. I really want to get the students talking and practicing with games, fun activities and lots and lots of pair and group work, but they aren't used to this sort of teaching, and they tend to chat in chinese a lot. i have taken the initiative and spoken to some of the chinese english teachers about what topics they want us to teach and what to focus on, and i've planned my first lesson, but as i have no experience, i'm pretty apprehensive, and it would be incredibly helpful to hear any tips at all on working with large groups, chinese students, encouraging speaking and keeping students' attention. games and activities that work? anything!

thanks for reading!


Peter Easton
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Joined: 02 Mar 2007, 14:06

Re: Help - getting large chinese classes to talk

Unread postby Peter Easton » 27 May 2009, 14:46

You should try to trigger reactions from students by making deliberately provocative statements then just acting dumb and milking the responses. Students are always so eager to put you right and let you know that you are wrong or that you have been outrageously misinformed. I sometimes tell new students in all seriousness that Chinese people eat noodles because Marco Polo brought spaghetti from Italy. This is at first met with a few murmurs which quickly turn into disagreement and it always gets a few laughs. Phrase your language and questions to encourage them to voice their disagreements with you. Getting students to play Devil's Advocate is good too - you can put them in teams and get them debating.

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