Teach English in Tianlou Zhen - Lianyungang Shi

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More and more Chinese people pay attention to their kids learning English nowadays in developed cities and areas. Even in less developed areas Chinese parents also try to do their best to create opportunities for their kids to learn English as much as possible. Big changes have been happening over past two decades.Twenty years ago English was taught just in junior schools , teachers only taught very basic English in school , e.g. letters ,vocabulary ,sentences and basic grammar. English was taught as a subject to meet school tests.Ten years ago students started learning English from grade 3 in primary school . Teachers began teaching, listening and speaking skills, and didn’t only focus on grammar ,writing and memory vocabulary. These days are already very different . Firstly, Chinese people think English is an important language tool for communication in today’s world, along with China’s development . Secondly, Chinese parents think if their children can speak a foreign language, especially English, then they will have strong competitive ability in today’s modern society. So we can see Chinese students now start learning English at the beginning of primary school , and some kindergarten even have English teaching already. There are many English training centers at the same time to grow up to meet the needs of English learning outside school. English training is a big industry in China nowadays. I have the honor to work at a kids English training center as a TA(teaching assistant of foreign teachers) and I also gained teaching experience as an English teacher in a primary school at DONGGUAN city for a week. As I have the above experience, I observed and understand how an English teacher, who come from English-speaking country, taught in a training center for a small group ( training centers usually set small size classes from 4-10 ) and how a local teacher teaches English in a primary school for a large class (classes usually have around 40 to 60 students ). Following are my experiences and perceptions of how to teach young learner groups that I want to share with you.I have got these perspectives from the classes above, and also by combining and integrating what I have learned from the TESOL/TEFL course.I will elaborate my personal view from three aspects: before class, during class and after class. Before class There is a lot of work we have to do before the first lesson.Get more information about our students will absolutely help teaching. For training centers, if students are newer , giving them placement tests is a very important and necessary thing that we ought to do.Classes in training centers are usually small, under 10 or 12 , so learn about individual’s levels and set them into appropriate classes is the prior thing before class.But if they are coming back,there are many ways we can achieve our purpose. Check their course book used currently to estimate which level they are at, then talk to the previous teacher to get the lesson plans they did and details of each student’ s language learning and behavior in the classroom. If you are still uncertain,then do a diagnostic test before you do your lesson planning . How to do a diagnostic test? For young learners,speak English with she/he to see if the student can understand you or respond to you,then give a test on paper including very basic vocabulary and sentences.Do some gap-fill exercise or maybe comprehension skill exercise for some students you think they can cope with. Compared with small size classes,learning about each student is not easy in primary school with numbers of students varying from 40-60.You also can do things like above, but we should have patience to learn about each one maybe after we have done two weeks or one month of lessons. Now we can do lesson planning and prepare enough materials and resources. Follow the format to do the lesson or teaching plan is no problem, if you are a new teacher. The more specific and detailed, the better. In Chinese schools teachers especially new teachers are often required to do teaching rehearsal in front of colleagues to get advice and suggestions from them.That is a good way to improve teaching skill and to exchange and learn from them. I got much benefit from this. Get more resources is possible through different online sites or other papers. In my city, there are many ESL teachers here, so we have built a wechat group to communicate and share resources with each other. It is amazing to get useful tips and materials or any experience from the people who do the same job as you! During class When you are standing in front of your students, a big challenge is coming! If a teacher in a training center does more activities for the kids they have fun and are very happy , but parents may not be satisfied. They will doubt if they paid money just for fun or entertainment or if their kids can learn something from this way. If a teacher in a primary school does more study for students, parents may also have questions like this: How dull and strict the teaching is. It stops our kids creativity and imagination! Chinese parents are the most involved parents in the world who care for their kids growth and involving in their study! A good assignment of one lesson time is : If it’s a one hour one lesson, 5-10mins for warm up,30-35mins for study,10-15min for activities.This is a typical example,you can adjust according to the actual situation.Of cause teaching is not catering to parents,but education is concerned with the influence of culture. Remember to give them homework, because if there’s no homework, it seems the teacher did nothing from the parents point of view. After class Chinese parents caring about kids learning is also a good thing for teachers. We give parents feedback of each lesson and progress tests for their kids regularly by wechat group or in paper form.That is a very important thing in China, so the parents will know the improvement or difficulty of their kids and they can support, encourage or push their child to study harder at home or at school whatever the situation. That is a cooperation, right? Especially if we are in a large class, we cannot care each one very careful , so parents play an important role to support a teacher to stimulate their kids. So after class, we usually give out homework, feedback, communicate with the parents if their kids have trouble , hold parents meetings after finishing a term or a study period.In a training center we even communicate face to face with parents.Do not think it is none of your business to just want to say goodbye when class is over, you may fail with this thought.Communicating with parents is a necessary part of a teacher’s job. So these are my thoughts for teaching young learners in China.