Replies: 23 - Last Post: Jul 1, 2005 4:10 AM Last Post By: ELECTRIC_PENGUIN
Jun 21, 2005 1:16 PM
efl empathy...please!I'm teaching a 9 kids English on a pittance of a salary and the prep is so intense! I finish class at 1pm and prep til at least 10pm - so that bit is unpaid. I used up 2 lessons worth of resources today because their attention span is shockingly short. Can anyone recommend an activity I can do with 10 to 13 year olds that will take up an hour and a half and hold their interest? We have a garden. No TV but I have a laptop with DVD player. I can't sing. Really. There is no syllabus and it's all up to me and I'm getting paid, wait for it, £7 an hour! Help! They're Russian and very sweet but I just can't engage them and feel crap because I want them to learn and my teaching is appalling.
Jun 21, 2005 1:27 PM
1You cannot expect to have one activity last for 90 mins...
They'll be climbing up the wall with boredom after 15 mins...
What's your teaching situation?
How long are you going to be teaching them?
What's their level - are they beginners, can they read / write / speak/ at what level?
What are you trying to teach them?
How many students do you have.
Do you have access to music? (or do they).
Jun 21, 2005 1:37 PM
Jun 21, 2005 2:03 PM
Jun 21, 2005 2:16 PM
Jun 21, 2005 4:10 PM
5Check out Dave's ESL Cafe, there are lots of ideas in the idea cookbook. The forums are helpful as well.
As for music - you don't have to sing - just play a song off of your computer. For example, Pop songs - Give them the lyrics sheets with some words missing, and get them to fill it in. Then get them in groups, and have them sing along. Make it a competition - who sings the loudest/best/fastest etc.
Like the previous posters said, mix up the activities every ten of fifteen minutes - start with review, then do some spelling or vocab (get them to learn a certain number of words a day, based around a theme), then a game, then some talking or role play, etc. If you don't have a syllabus, try to set a theme or an idea for each day. For example, Day 1: Food, so food vocabulary, maybe a restaurant role play, writing a recipe, maybe demo something simple like making a sandwich, learning food adjectives, cutting out pics of food from magazines, a food memory game, end it off with a food wordsearch, etc. Day 2: Travel, travel vocab, learning directions, a directions game (I get kids to blindfold one member of their team and everyone else must direct them around an obstacle course of desks and chairs using English), a role play set in the airport, etc. drawing a map of their hometown for a visitor, etc. As long as you can get a framework for each day, you'll find it easier to come up with activities that relate to that theme, instead of just trying to pull stuff out of thin air.
Trying to work without a syllabus is very stressful. Hang in there, I'm sure you're doing fine!
Jun 22, 2005 1:17 AM
Jun 22, 2005 1:50 AM
7I have just been offered a teaching position in Shenzhen 24 hours per week Y120,000 per annum plus plus.
I don't think I'll take it as i have other offers on the table. Anyone interested?
(You get to teach English, mathes, Management, marketing, etc.)
Jun 22, 2005 2:17 AM
I was given no idea what to teach, just shown a bookcase.
With no specific goals, you are doomed to wander aimlessly through the Internet and bookshelves of stores. DECIDE GOALS.
If it's conversation, use oral-based activities that focus on THEM. Get THEM speaking. Use listening exercises that involve tapes which you can play over and over, or that involve THEM speaking to each other (info gaps, surveys, etc.).
If it's just grammar based, then you can use ALL of the 4 skills (reading, writing included) and set aside some time for things like that. Get into extensive reading (check it out on the Net). Order free samples of graded readers.
Jun 22, 2005 9:16 AM
9you need to set yourself some goals.
choose a topic/goal for the lesson the plan games and activities around it. some running around games, treasure hunt in the garden, races etc plus some quite activites, sitting down, reading/writing.
join the oxford uni press kids club, they will send you free samples of text books and graded readers, there may well be an OUP rep you can contact in russia who will give you advice.
if you want to teach them phonics (depending on their level) these are great books (plus some nice free flashcards to download)
the following are some good kids sites with plenty of handouts/downloads.
learningpage (you need to sign up but it is free, lots of topics covered and different levels, really ment for natives but I have used their lower level stuff for my kids projects classes)
starfall free download easy phonics readers and worksheets
activitiesforkids lesson plans and activites
Jun 22, 2005 11:01 AM
10look what a great bunch of advice you've got here!
I agree, use themes, vary the type of activities, and don't overprepare - you must be exhausted. You need to be in top form to keep the kids going. Do try Dave's ESL Cafe - it's full of great ideas, and you needed reinvent the wheel daily!
I can't sing, and I sang with my kids daily. They're hardly in a position to complain. Use songs with movements, sing rounds, keep them busy and let them make some noise. The next activity will go much easier!
Jun 22, 2005 11:32 AM
11Agree you have to set some goals.
It's OK to repeat something the next day - try and build on it a bit too.
I'd say some TPR, some phonics, basic introductions
some simple forms like I like, I want, I am..., I have / and their question forms.
You should be able to get them to introduce themselves or a classmate with these
Do they know the alphabet?
This is quite good if you want to introduce them to some basic phonics
Macmillan's site is good.
The British Council's site is really good - I think it has been voted best kids learning site before.
Read them stories. You should be able to download some.
If you are animated it doesn't matter that they don't understand it completely.
Jun 22, 2005 11:47 AM
12I agree with what everyone else has said. I think the best thing is not necessarily the prep beforehand, but the energy and enthusiasm you put into the lesson each day. Play games with them - even simple games of throwing a ball to each other in a circle and calling out an English word as they go is fine. Having a bit of a routine each day is often good too - ie a "warm-up" game, some written work, another game, etc. Or a routine along themes - phonics then vocab etc. Also, it's really important to emphasise to the kids how much they've learnt - they often think they've learnt "nothing" when in fact they've learnt quite a lot. You can do before and after quizzes to highlight this, or get them to hold short conversations with each other - just saying and answering to hello and how are you in English is enough to celebrate!!! And to make them realise that they have in fact learnt something!
Good luck and have fun!! Once you get in a rhythm you'll start to love it !
Jun 22, 2005 3:30 PM
13I can sympathise - I taught Mongolian schoolkids without any experience or guidance. I used lots of games, especially a version of pictionary. My lessons were 50mins, so I had one topic per lesson and we would talk about that a bit and maybe do some other stuff, and we often finished with pictionary/taboo. I had them in two teams that they made up English names for and one kid would come up to get a word written of a piece of paper that they had to communicate to their team. I gave one point for drawing it on the board and two for speaking, so they were encouraged to speak by the others but didn't have to if they really felt they couldn't. Sounds like a bit of a cop-out, but even the shyest kids started speaking when scores were close! I kept a running total through the lessons and let them know how things stood each game.
A couple of other things worked well too. When we revised body parts I drew a big diagram on the board and labelled it from their suggestions, then wiped it off and tested them verbally by simply pointing to a part of my own body. If a kid got it wrong they had to stand up until they gave a right answer. If they kept getting it wrong they might be asked to stand on one leg, then on the chair... The kids enjoyed it and were still concentrating, and you can give more difficult questions to the brighter kids so it's not just a few standing up.
To practise closed questions they did a version of 'Who am I?' where they each got a piece of paper and wrote the name of a famous person on it. I then mixed up the paper and stuck one to the forehead of each kid with cellotape so they couldn't see it. They had to find out who they were by asking their partner yes/no questions. With a smaller group you could just send one kid out of the room and have the others pick a personality for them.
These are the ones that worked best for me. I had my disasters too, but the kids picked up the above quickly and enjoyed them. Good luck!
Jun 22, 2005 7:59 PM
14Come down on them hard and fast, break their wills and then you can mould them in your image. Thats what I did with my adult students in Japan. Im sure its the same with kids.
At the end of the day you have to knock them down to build them up.
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