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Teaching-- What are the Most Important Things?

Discussion in 'Classroom' started by DavidUSA, 19 Oct 2016.

  1. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    In the spirit of Bahn_farang's post about teaching in Thailand and qualifications, can we hear from the most experienced teachers on the subject of what are the most important things for a teacher to do in the classroom? Let's say from middle school kids up to adults. Can some of the most experienced teachers try to tackle that question, try to boil it down? And for those who give speeches at conferences: what are the main take-aways?
    My two bits are below.





    ______________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Safety is the most important thing
    2. The grammar has to be right
    3. Get everyone to participate- including the know-it-alls and the shy
    4. Use authentic materials whenever possible
    5. Do a mix of speaking, reading, listening, writing--listening is often neglected, but it should not be
    6. Get the kids to speak as much as possible (pair work, etc.)
    7. The main point of the lesson should be visible during the whole lesson
    8. There should be a main goal and a secondary goal. The secondary goal can be reinforcement.
    9. The vocabulary should be reinforced across the different learning skills: speaking, reading, etc.
    10. Some pure confidence building may need to be done once in a while/ getting them to love English
    11. Use a book to give a sense of accomplishment
    12. Use the target language as much as possible
    13. Repeat, repeat, repeat
    14. Throw in some Total Physical Response
     
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  2. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    I think that's a bit unfair since I was clear to express that I felt qualifications do not directly relate to teaching ability. I did say that for me personally that my studies did improve my teaching.
     
  3. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    My point was that your question was excellent. I have no idea what you are talking about.
     
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  4. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    Aren't I the complete idiot, I read "in spite of" my sincere apologies. I am sorry
     
  5. Mr. Chips

    Mr. Chips Active Member

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    - Class / Classroom Rules on the board
    - Continuous battle with late arrivals. Never give in.
    - Not to progress too quickly with lessons. Once a week per class means patience with this.
    - Enforce and reinforce that you learn from mistakes. I always relay that my Thai is always incorrect, but I learn that way. I don't care who laughs at me. They should feel the same way when trying to speak English.
    - Play the fool in order to lighten the class up.
    Some things come natural.
     
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  6. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Well-Known Member

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    I would have to say as a start:

    • understanding over content coverage.
    • teaching material which is useful to the students in their own context.
    • a belief that everybody can do it / high expectations for all and frequently vocalising those beliefs.
    • an acceptance of if the students do not understand then they themselves as the teacher, are in part somewhat to whatever degree to share the blame for failure.
    • an ability to teach multiple levels in the same classroom.
    • constantly improving our practice through action research/courses/reading/classroom observations by co-teachers/staffroom conversations/forum involvement ... to better our teaching.
    • Knowing where the students are in their current development.
     
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  7. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    • Teacher knows best. A proper needs analysis should never be done. Just focus on what is easiest for the teacher.
    • Prep time should be limited to no more than 5-10 minutes at the copy machine after a quick google search for a quick lesson.
    • Test as you wish. eg: teaching reading comprehension and for the scoring deduct up to 25% for bad grammar.
      • Validity and reliability have no place in a test.
    • Realia is nice. It reduces the need for proper teacher prep work. Just toss some props into the class and have at it.
    • Focus on grammar. Communicative skills are overrated.
    • Memorize lists of vocabulary words. This is easiest for the teacher. Hand out the list on Monday and test on Friday.
    • Do not join a local TEFL organization. Do not attend conferences. Do not talk to experts.
      • YOUR classroom is YOUR fortress. Close the door and accept no input from peers or superiors. Teacher knows best.
    • YOU ARE THE GREAT FOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE. Your students should accept your superior knowledge and wisdom and follow your instructions to the letter.
    .
     
  8. Mr. Chips

    Mr. Chips Active Member

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    Touche
     
  9. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    Alay waa? ttompatz has some one hijacked your username? Nice troll BTW.

    :lost it

    Sorry Dave can't comment on this thread further as I teach the kiddies in Pratom level.

    :cursing
     
    Last edited: 20 Oct 2016
  10. gungchang

    gungchang Well-Known Member

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    I feel that way sometimes. My situation now is so very different from my past in Thailand, Egypt, and Korea.

    I've found that being flexible and making course corrections is necessary. I still remember being left speechless by one ding-a-ling who said in a meeting "This is how I've taught for eight years." He was refusing to try anything new or different.

    I just wrote a terrible test. It took four tries, but each time I gave it, I modified both the test and the prep session. What used to take one class each will now take two classes each.

    At an after hours "class" which might resemble a "free talking" class in Korea, my plans lasted about two minutes. Because of student responses, I had to change the order of graphics and video clips (both on a Surface RT) and just work on the fly. Adherence to the original script would have been a (bigger) disaster.

    Another thing I've started to do is to make two plans. The second plan is "Plan B" for when the AV equipment malfunctions.
     
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  11. Wangsuda

    Wangsuda Nonentity Staff Member

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  12. ttompatz

    ttompatz Just another teacher

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    It wasn't meant to be a troll.... although it might have been a bit too satirical a look at practices.

    • Do a proper needs analysis for each class / student and focus on their learning.
    • Do your prep.
      • It takes more than 5 minutes on google and 5 minutes at the copy machine.
    • Make sure your tests are valid.
      • If you are testing reading then don't be marking for grammar. If you are testing for grammar then don't sweat the comprehension.
      • Internal validly IS important as is external validity and reliability.
    • Realia is nice but it needs to be appropriate to the lesson.
      • Just tossing in some "real life stuff" alone is insufficient.
    • Communicative skills ARE important.
      • If the message is not understood then there is no learning.
    • Rote memorization is pointless.
      • You can memorize the dictionary but not be able to use a language.
    • Join a TEFL organization.
      • Attend conferences.
      • NETWORK and talk to people.
      • Look at the current research in your area of work.
      • Take part in workshops.
      • Your classroom is NOT a fortress.
        • Open your door to observers and listen to what they tell you.
        • Reflection on the feedback will make you a better teacher.
    • You are NOT the font of all knowledge.
      • Google knows more and is faster than you.
      • Learn to be the guide in your students learning.
      • Learn how to learn with your students and from your students.
    .
     
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  13. Joko

    Joko Active Member

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    1. Be understandable. In other words, grade your speech. Speak slowly and clearly. Of course, this depends on the level. I teach an advanced class, and grading my speech would be a disservice. The students are paying to hear an NES. But for all my other classes, you got to s p e a k s l o w l y.

    2. Be entertaining. I know this goes against everything I learned in my CELTA course, but in the real world, your students have to enjoy themselves.
     
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  14. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    It's a profound answer. Like a little string of lights twinkling, Christmas in my brain, I saw sparkles of the truth.

    And, of course, that truth sucks. Probably the most worthwhile posting I have seen on this website.
     
    Last edited: 20 Oct 2016
  15. fred flintstone

    fred flintstone Well-Known Member

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    Being able to address your students by name is important. It goes a long way in connecting with the students and letting them know you interested in what they're doiing. I've had teachers in HS and college that never took the time to do that and it really cuts into the relationship. It really is a simple task and goes along way in building a comfortable atmosphere in the classroom.
     
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