Teach English in Guangdegong Zhen - Chifeng Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Guangdegong Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Chifeng Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

Two years ago, I became an Assistant Language Teacher at a technical High School in Japan, and my first major project was to help my students pass an optional listening exam called the “Technical English Exam.” Technical English is the specific English needed in technical work environments, such as engineering and information technology. Starting in April, my task was to teach all the first-year classes technical English to prepare them for the exam in October. As a first time teacher, creating an effective curriculum for the “Technical English Exam” was challenging, but I was able to achieve success. The “Technical English Exam” is a listening test consisting of three parts. The overall test is worth 100 points and includes over 30 minutes of required listening. To pass the test, students must get a score of 70 points or higher. The passing scores fall into three levels of qualification: third-grade (70-79 points), second-grade (80-89 points), and first-grade (90-100 points). The results of this test can be used when students apply to universities and the workforce after high school. While the “Technical English Exam” has benefits, there are many problems and difficulties with the exam. The first problem is that the exam uses complex language and clearly above the A1 level of my first-year students. There are some words used in the exam that even I have difficulty understanding. As well, both my students and my teaching partners could not understand the meaning of every word, even translated to Japanese. The second problem is that there are minimal existing practice activities or materials to help prepare for the exam, aside from teacher-only access to previous tests. There is one “textbook,” but the book only contains lists of words; there are no activities in the book. These shortcomings created many challenges when I began making my curriculum. In my first year of preparation for the “Technical English Exam,” there were quite a few things I did to build my course plan. Knowing that I had difficulty with the vocabulary and concepts myself, I did a lot of personal research to understand the content better. I then broke down the necessary information into more manageable sections. I was able to group the course content into eight units, each focusing on a new list of vocabulary supporting a particular topic contained within the test. I also created activities for each lesson, which allowed students to actively engage with the content and practice for the exam. However, I soon realized there were other challenges with the exam. While I was teaching “Technical English” to all the first-year students, their decision to take the exam was optional. I assumed that my teaching partner would remind the students about the exam sign-up deadline, but that was not the case. Out of a total of 180 eligible students, only 35 students signed up to take the test. My other challenge was trying to create activities that would improve the students’ listening skills. I found that the subject matter I chose to focus on was appropriate, but it became clear that my activities were not effectively teaching listening skills. At the end of the course, out of the 35 students who took the exam, only 20 passed, and 2 students achieved the first-grade qualification score. In my second year, I set a few new goals for the “Technical English Exam.” My first goal was to increase the number of students participating in the exam. I brainstormed the reasons why students didn’t sign-up for the exam and realized that the students ultimately lacked information about the exam as well as the confidence to take the exam. My second goal was to have more students pass and reach the first-grade qualification. To reach my goals, I changed how the information for the test was communicated and created more well-rounded lesson plans. Focusing on my first goal, I worked with my partner teacher to help provide detailed information to homeroom teachers about the exam as well as the justification as to why their students should participate. In my lessons, I made sure to reinforce the registration deadline regularly, and I explained the schedule and breakdown of the course so it would be evident to the students that by the exam date, they would be well prepared. To achieve my second goal, I worked hard to improve the material for lessons and activities. I reflected on my previous notes and lesson plans and made changes to better support listening skills and vocabulary understanding. When exam preparation began, I quickly discovered that the new content and approach had more positive results than the previous year. Students were more engaged with the lessons, and after incorporating more listening activities, students did much better on small practice tests. In the end, 106 students took the exam, with 83 students passing, and 20 students achieving the first-grade qualification level. These results were record-breaking for our school! The process of preparing students for a difficult exam was challenging, but ultimately I achieved my goals. I learned that researching to fully understand the content myself was invaluable, as was breaking down the content into small units to make the course more manageable. I also realized how to identify activities that were productive and supported the development of listening skills. Reflection on previous material to evaluate what worked well and what needed improvement helped create better lesson plans. Additionally, these well-rounded lesson plans that had focused on a clear goal helped me ensure that my activities and class content were successful in improving the targeted skills. To achieve my goal of improving student participation in the exam, I found that the repetition of exam information and reminders of the sign-up deadline ensured a higher participation rate. I am incredibly proud of the results that my students have achieved. Knowing now what it takes to ensure successful students for the “Technical English Exam,” I am looking forward to developing my course plan even further next year.