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Teach English in ChengguAn Zhen - Bayannao'er Shi — Bayan Nur
Teaching English as a Foreign Language in China Problems and Solutions I’ve been teaching in Beijing, China, for almost 8 years now and it has always been a challenge for me. As an ESL teacher, I needed to learn to constantly adapt to my student’s needs. This means dealing with a variety of problems in the classroom and a good teacher must be able to recognize these common problems and then find solutions. I would like to talk about the most common classroom problems that I have encountered while teaching in China and the solutions I have found. 1. Crying Child: It is very normal and understandable for children to experience first day anxiety at the kindergarten. The child is suddenly leaving the familiar comfort of home and have been introduced to a new environment. With this new environment comes many new people, places and feelings. If a child is crying it is likely they just miss their family members, as Mom and Dad are not around. There are lots of ways parents and teachers can ease children into the kindergarten routine and help them in these first few days. One way is by teachers asking parents to bring in family photos. These photos are likely to allow children to feel connected to their home environment whilst at their new environment. The way teachers act is also vitally important. Teachers need to be nice, patient and positive. It takes time, but nothing is more rewarding than seeing the children comfortable and relaxed. Parents can help by having a copy of the daily activities schedule. Using this schedule to talk with their child about their day at school can help bring the school into the home. 2. Naughty kids If the entire class is acting up, it’s a hard truth, but the reason your students are bored is you, the teacher! Staying awake and interested in class can be difficult, but what is even more difficult is being responsible for keeping students both awake and interested. The first job of an ESL teacher. In order to be a great ESL teacher, one must not only teach, but inspire and empower the students. Many times if children are being naughty, it is the teacher's fault and that class is boring. Fortunately, this is problem has an easy solution, proper planning. Choose a juicy theme for the lesson; one that the students can relate to and one you know they will enjoy. This will automatically give them motivation and interest in the lesson. Get to know your pupils, identify their interests and needs, from these design your course accordingly. When teaching English as a foreign language, you can always count on students wanting to stray away from the topic. To some extent, this can be a good thing, especially as it shows that students are wanting to be involved in the class. In order to help make this a positive experience, it is important to ensure that all students are able to be involved and that the discussions are to be had in English. However, if the lesson stays too far off topic, in a direction you don't want it to go, it is important to drive the conversation back towards the core themes of the lesson. Another way to help keep class on track is through creating class rules. They are important in assisting the class to run smoothly, helping students to learn and benefit from what the teacher has to offer. When students follow class rules, everyone from teachers to the students can achieve their goals in the classroom. 3. Using English as the primary language in the classroom: When teaching English as a foreign language, a common problem that can occur is students using their native language in the classroom. As an ESL teacher, it is important to encourage your students to use English, and only English. However, if students begin conversing in their first language, move close and kindly encourage them to participate in class through questions. Another idea is to establish a set of class rules and develop a reward system for when they use they are using English. For example, if someone is using English for the whole class, provide them with points that can be redeemed for a prize. For 1-2 hours they are in English class, it is best if English is only used. 4. Independence Many times, students will automatically look to the teacher for correct answers instead of trying themselves. If the teacher obliges them with the answer each time, this can become a problem. Instead, focus on giving positive encouragement and leading the students towards the answer. This will help to make students more comfortable and more willing to answer. 5. Sharing Children start fighting over a toy. If children start fighting over a toy, it is likely that they have not been exposed to having to share things or they just want to spend some time by themselves. Some of our new Kindergarten friends are not used to sharing supplies or toys and may have a hard time with this during free choice time or at any time when there are materials to share. In the past, I’ve overheard adults say things like, “You need to learn to share!” and while this might be true, the statement itself doesn’t really help to address the issues at hand. Instead of pointing out what students are doing wrong, you can allow students to work in smaller groups. This will help to teach kids how to share, and allow the children to develop this necessary social skill, which is of vital importance to class success. Summary Maintain the classroom atmosphere of warmth and acceptance. For some kindergarten children, your classroom will be one of the few places where their opinions and ideas have been heard and valued!