I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Teaching ESL to adults

Moderator: Susan

I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Unread postby Chocmonster » 07 Mar 2009, 16:23

The class in question:

  • 15 Students between 19 and 50.
  • Students' level ungraded; the course has a mixture from absolute beginner (CEF A0?) (never had English in school, school was 30+ years ago) to those who passed their English Tertiary education leaving exam with top grades (CEF B2)
  • Studying a course to become qualified business people (Eastern Germany, Private training/FE college)
  • Students are to complete a ca. 1,000 word written project (in English, on some business topic of their choosing) for submission to the regional chamber of commerce
  • Students are studying a whole course (ca. 300 hours in a year, approx.80 hours is English alongside a full-time job - lessons are weekday evenings and Saturdays
  • No materials, course book provided (is there anything suitable for a class with such a range of levels?)
  • Very irregular timetable and attendance - after ca. 40 hours I still don't know all the student's names- most embarrassing

About me:

  • Trinity qualified (1 month course) June '07
  • Freelance in Germany from Sept '07 - Sept '08 (Technical college)
  • Full time employee at FE Vocational college since Sept '08
  • Modern language department of 1 (me)
  • 2nd year of teaching Business English


What happens in class:

  • Attendance issues (today 5 / 15 students, last lesson only eight)
  • Frequent departure of students during lesson time (I have mixed feelings about this, sometimes it is best for us all)
  • Extensive use of German by all
  • Written exercises typically started by 2/3 of students present, completed by 1/3 if lucky.
  • Some of the oldest students have yet to write, speak or read anything, even when placed in small groups of 'friendly' peers
  • Grumblings (though the grapevine) that my teaching style is unsound (emphasis on speaking and listening during the lesson, writing as a production task and reading for homework)
  • Listlessness, evident low motivation issues
  • English compulsory part of the course, entirely possible to avoid it in their everyday (and future working) lives if they so wish

I'd like to have my lessons engaging, motivating and well attended, with full participation by all.

I've had my greatest successes with the class in small groups (mix of abilities) to create a text-based business-themed presentation.

My greatest failures are any lesson with talking or listening (4 walked out on my lesson 'role-play on an aeroplane - introduce yourself to the neighbour seated next to you); and although some might think they need it, I cannot bring myself to just issue list after list of vocabulary and test it the following lesson; likewise drilling grammar by rote.

If you've had similar situations in your careers, how did you overcome the issues?

All advice gratefully considered.

Edd

P.s. I teach a total of 13 courses, after we've improved this one, I'd like to pick your brains to help me improve the lessons I have to give 6 Mechanical technicians aged between 18 and 55…
Chocmonster
Silver Member
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:02
Location: Brandenburg/Sachsen-Anhalt Eastern Germany
Status: Teacher

Re: I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Unread postby Chocmonster » 08 Mar 2009, 20:22

I've lowered my expectations already… but does anyone else have something constructive to add? I'd rather not admit defeat just yet!
Chocmonster
Silver Member
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:02
Location: Brandenburg/Sachsen-Anhalt Eastern Germany
Status: Teacher

Re: I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Unread postby Chocmonster » 09 Mar 2009, 17:54

Jesus, I'm not sure I should be a teacher anymore, I'm just not so.... jaded.

Anyone with a constructive response?
Chocmonster
Silver Member
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:02
Location: Brandenburg/Sachsen-Anhalt Eastern Germany
Status: Teacher

Re: I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Unread postby Chocmonster » 10 Mar 2009, 08:45

If I answer, are you going to give me the benefit of your sage wisdom and experience, or are you just going to troll?

I"ve been teaching nearly 18 months (see original post) - since Oct 2007.

The courses I'm teaching now are the first time that I've felt out of my depth and for lots of reasons (job security? personal worth? challenge?) I'd really like to improve.

How long have you been teaching? When faced with groups of very mixed ability/motivation, what teahing style do you adopt? What tricks and tips?
Chocmonster
Silver Member
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:02
Location: Brandenburg/Sachsen-Anhalt Eastern Germany
Status: Teacher

Re: I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Unread postby Susan » 10 Mar 2009, 12:11

Have you looked in the tefl helpdesk forum on this site.

Lucy has answered other questions similar to this. You could also put your question in that forum if you want a response from her.

Susan
User avatar
Susan
Admin
 
Posts: 139
Joined: 12 Mar 2004, 22:17
Location: UK
Status: Teacher Trainer

Re: I _dread_ teaching this class - what ideas to try / change?

Unread postby Chocmonster » 10 Mar 2009, 12:24

You could also put your question in that forum if you want a response from her.


Thanks - I will take a look next time I get a reliable internet connection.

Edd
Chocmonster
Silver Member
 
Posts: 24
Joined: 02 Mar 2009, 12:02
Location: Brandenburg/Sachsen-Anhalt Eastern Germany
Status: Teacher


Return to Teaching Adults

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 3 guests