Teach English in Xiaoniuqun Zhen - Chifeng Shi

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Teaching doesn’t solely imply elaborating on the course material but also necessitates some methodological knowledge and skills to solve extra-linguistic problems that can occur during the class. These problems range from students speaking L1 to managing a large size class. It can happen so that the class is not homogeneous in terms of the language level and this can create hurdles for the class dynamics and demotivate some students and make others struggle to cope with a task. While teaching such a group, the teacher should split the class accordingly and supply each with the appropriate level material. However, the material can be either based around the same theme or not. In the first case scenario, it’s useful to make students report to the class at the activation phase since both work on the same topic. Another strategy that can be applied to solve this problem which I myself largely employed in teaching a group of adults a Specialized course in Business English, is to pair stronger students with weaker ones which helps the weaker ones with time to improve through learning from the stronger students. In the meantime, this approach needs to be altered with the first time to evade stronger students lose motivation for better achievements. Having to cope with large classes is a problem I constantly faced throughout my teaching experience. Having more than 12 students in class requires special techniques to make the class dynamic, to ensure everyone’s participation and not to have problems with discipline. What’s useful is to alternate between pair and group work to involve students equally to the class. Another issue with teaching a large class size is the time it takes to organize everyone into groups, hand out the material, make sure everyone understood the task instructions. Appointing a group leader can save teacher’s time on this type of management procedures. One of the most common problems that teachers have to find a solution to is to the usage of native language, which is mainly typical of lower-level students since they are at the stage of lower fluency as opposed to the more advanced groups which is capable of making use of larger vocabulary size and better speaking skills. To minimize the native language usage the teacher should make their instructions clear and concise, make sure that the language used is appropriate to students’ level. A good solution is to constantly remind students that English is the language that must be predominantly used in class. Gestures can also help communicate some information better. Additionally, responding solely in English can also encourage students to evade using their mother tongue. However, a total ban on the first language isn’t appropriate either. In every class, there are reluctant students who appear not to be prone to engage or participate in class. This can be caused both by cultural and confidence reasons. In certain cultures, students aren’t encouraged to participate in the class but rather listeners taking notes. Thus, it takes teachers extra effort and time to get students used to a new model of class participation. Some students aren’t self-assured to ask questions or to speak out. A number of strategies can be employed to tackle this issue. First, using pair work to make students more comfortable and ensure their involvement. Second, making use of role-plays, which are useful for the ones feeling more comfortable revealing less personal information.