Help! Teaching large classes in China

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Help! Teaching large classes in China

Unread postby jordan » 06 Sep 2010, 05:59

Hi everyone, I have a problem I hope someone can help me with.

I've just started teaching in China and have very large class sizes (between 55-75) to myself. The students are grade 9 (15/16 years old).

I've been told to teach the students pronunciation; I have been given no lesson plans and am told that the Chinese teachers will teach all the students everything from the textbooks - I'm just there for oral lessons. This is where I have a problem... The students are very good at English (but a little shy) so if I'm not teaching them anything new I'm just going over stuff they already know and they look a little bored. Furthermore, I teach 14 different classes a week, once each, so it's over 700 different pupils each week so I'm finding it near impossible to learn any names and also means that printing out 700 different resources like wordsearches or fill in the blanks each week will probably be frowned on.

I suppose my question is, has anyone else been in this situation and how do I teach so many Chinese pupils, who seem to be very good at English, anything if their pronunciation is already very good and I'm not to teach them anything new until the Chinese teacher has done it first.

Thanks for any suggestions!
Last edited by Jo on 06 Sep 2010, 06:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help! Teaching large classes in China

Unread postby markc » 08 Sep 2010, 09:02

It's not possible to give a comprehensive answer here, but it sounds like you need to learn how to give conversation/discussion classes. If the students are shy, even if they aren't with those numbers, you will need to devise tasks for them and divide them into pair or small groups. You won't be able to listen to every student every class, but over a period of time you will be able to rotate between them. After they have discussed whatever task you give them, have some pairs report back to the whole class on what they said.

Search on the internet for teaching English conversation. Penny Ur's book 'Discussions that Work' is quite good, and has some ideas on how to go about planning discussion classes.

Good Luck!

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Re: Help! Teaching large classes in China

Unread postby RobJames » 17 Sep 2010, 23:05

1) Lesson plans are not so common in China.

2) Don't worry about learning the names, it's just not practical, and yeah photocopying 700 sheets a week - once the photocopying machine jams and breaks down - will take up a whole afternoon (in my experience anyway!!!)

3) Pronunciation - I am sure they can't be that good, because they tend to learn a lot of reading and writing at school. Just experiment, you ll find that they can't say everything. Split them into groups. Sometimes you can split them in half, groups or even threes. . Try teaching them one word, two words, a whole phrase, sentence and then tongue twister. Think about syllables, phonetics.

Large classes are standard in China I am afraid...A high school in Beijing can have as many students as a town in the UK =).

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