Teach English in Dianzi Zhen - Chifeng Shi

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Language is the tool we as humans use to relate to one another in identifying, quantifying, or expressing our feelings about the world around us. Within a classroom a teacher is able to focus a students view to the particular scenes or stimuli that he or she believes will best benefit the students in each particular lesson. Whether the teacher is presenting a lesson based on colors, cars, pets or ethical practices within a working business model the teacher within a class can narrow the focus of their students in order to fit the goals of the lesson. This narrowing, though useful to the teacher, may work to constrain the student or hinder them from expanding out and experiencing more of the world. By periodically teaching outside of the classroom students are able to see how their new language relates to the world they live in and perhaps find a renewed excitement about language acquisition. One difficulty I have found with language is that it teaches more strongly to those of high reading and writing skills while being more difficult to a tactile learner. Particular care should then be used to capture the interest of tactile learners and help engage them in the class. By escaping outside a teacher can create exercises that will allow students to relate new and old vocabulary to the world around them and bring that interest back to the group. By preparing exercises for the students ahead of time a teacher is able to create a focus for the class and still help guide them along a lesson plan. One such exercise could be a scavenger hunt of sorts. A teacher can pass out sheets that tell the students to “find something green” or “identify something round” and the students will then take some time to fill out the sheet with what they found. This type of exercise may be best working in pairs since some students may have trouble with certain vocabulary and can help each other learn. If perhaps a student is able to identify something as green but does not know what the word for it is the teacher can ask the other students if anyone else might know what it is. This helps the teacher to have less talk time and allows the students to rely on each other for learning. Another such activity that would be great outside is to tell students to go out and find something they are not familiar with or do not know the word for. After each student has found an example they will come back and work in groups to hopefully identify the item and then describe its attributes. Students can then write a short paragraph discussing the item they wanted to identify in order to practice language that might help them describe the item to others. By taking the class outside a teacher is able to engage the students on a different level and help them relate to the world using various vocabularies that they may not have connected before. They are in essence learning through touch and visual stimulations that they may not have been able to use within a class. However, it should be noted that working outside does have its shortcomings as well. When taking a class outside it may be difficult for the teacher to compete for the attention of the students. With an increase in stimuli comes a heightened chance of distraction for the students and particular care should be taken to be authoritative before beginning any exercise so that the students understand the focus of the lesson. One way to combat this may be to begin the lesson indoors and discuss the focus of the excursion before continuing outside. This can help a teacher make sure that their students have a grasp of what they are meant to achieve outside and allow the students to ask questions that may benefit the entire class. Likewise, it may benefit the teacher to end the class indoors to reinforce what was learned outside and allow students time to ask questions or practice newly acquired vocabulary in a controlled space. Students should also be encouraged to continue using new vocabulary on their own time outside of the classroom as a way to reinforce their learning as well. Another issue with outdoor lessons is that a teacher may have a harder time working between groups to identify where help may be needed or assist students that may be struggling with learning vocabulary. The best way to compensate for this is to make sure the group has a zone to stay within or a distance that they shouldn’t travel past to make sure that a teacher is able to reach everyone within a reasonable distance and make sure that everyone is staying on topic. Like many teaching methods or practices, planning outdoor lessons should not be a central focus of a class but an accent or tool to use when a teacher believes it can be beneficial. If students seem to be having trouble with interest in lessons then changing the pattern of teaching to use a tool like outdoors lessons, cooking lessons, or cultural lessons can help recapture the interest of the students and stimulate a passion for language learning. Above all students need to feel engaged and passionate about what they learn in order to work as efficiently as possible and it’s important for a teacher to ensure that their students are learning in the best possible way.