How do I prepare for teaching Tibetan monks?

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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How do I prepare for teaching Tibetan monks?

Unread postby ninafin » 23 Sep 2007, 20:46

Hi Lucy
I wrote to you some time ago about my teaching placement in a Tibetan monastery in India, teaching young monks aged 9 - 18.
I now have more information and would welcome some advice on how I can plan my lessons.
They are of mixed ability, highly educated in Buddhist studies but have very little knowledge of the ways of the west. They have differing English abilities.
The reason for learning English is to converse with western visitors, travel to teach in western centres and generally understand western ways and psychology.
They will have one hour lesson a day with an hour's homework.
It's a wonderful opportunity for me, and I really want to be able to give them my best.
So Lucy, any ideas would be really appreciated.
With kind regards

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Preparing for teaching Buddhist monks

Unread postby Lucy » 28 Sep 2007, 19:35

Dear Nina,

I suggest that for the younger students – aged 9 to 14 – you organise classes according to age. Thus, all the 9 year olds study together, the 10 year olds together, etc. For the 15 to 18 age group, I suggest you organise the students by level. When children are growing and developing, they have very different abilities and interests; they can change quite a lot over a year. Hence the need to group them by age. The older students will have the same abilities (e.g. capacity for critical thought) and similar interests; the higher age range will benefit from learning with others of the same age. The cut off point could be 15 or 16; you’ll be able to judge this after meeting them.

Before going, I suggest you find out what materials are available and whether the monastery will pay for any items you buy and take with you (either in whole or in part). Also check how easy it is to access the internet in the town where you’ll be living. If you can get on the net easily, you’ll be able to download materials and lesson plans once you are there. This will reduce the amount of baggage you take with you and you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about materials after meeting your students.

If there are no test materials available at the monastery, I suggest you take a placement test with you to assist in placing students in levels. Oxford University Press produce the Oxford Placement test which is very good. You can check for others on the internet. For the older students (15/16 to 18) you could use an adult course book; English File can work well with this age group. The course is well structured and covers everything the students need to know (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, reading, writing, listening and speaking). Buy the cassettes that accompany the book and if possible, the resources book and teacher’s book. This will equip you well for teaching the higher age range. Of course, I’m assuming you’ll be given a budget for buying books. It’s also a good idea to take some brochures, magazines, newspapers with you. You can pick up free brochures that show aspects of life in the UK.

You can also look at the following link:

Please feel free to write in again, if you would like more information.


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