Teach English in Tongzhong Zhen - Zhumadian Shi

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92. Teaching reading to students is a challenging subject. It’s becoming more difficult to get students interested in reading nowadays due to the growing number of distractions they have available to them, including social media, Youtube, video games, and so forth. In order to remedy this, an instructor could make reading more interesting by introducing variety into the classroom. Specifically, an instructor could have the students read novels (the classics) as well as news articles, while facilitating their understanding of these texts by having supplementary grammar/vocabulary lessons, in-class discussions about the content, and group assignments that make students find a connection between their own lives and the text. Many of the sentences that are found in novels and news article may be hard to understand not only for students learning English for the first time, but native speakers as well. One way that students can better understand sentences in a given text is by breaking down the sentences grammatically. In order to break down sentences grammatically, students will need to have an understanding of the parts of speech, the difference between essential and non-essential bits of information, and the structure of different text types. For example, even though a student may not understand the details of say a news article, he/she can still grasp the main point the author is trying to convey by looking at perhaps the introduction and concluding statement of the article. In addition to grammar, an instructor should start the beginning of class by introducing the vocabulary that is necessary to understanding the text that will be given. The instructor could first pronounce the word, and then follow up by presenting the students with contexts in which this word would be used. Also, it should be mentioned whether or not these words are used more for speaking or when writing. After the instructor introduces the new words, the students could then try to form sentences for the instructor so that the instructor can check whether or not the students are using the words correctly. This will allow students to incorporate new words into their vocabulary and better equip them to understand the texts they are about to read. To make the class more interactive, an instructor could also try to facilitate in-class discussions by preparing some thought-provoking questions. Some questions may be posed like the following: “What do you think the author meant when he says, ‘...’?” “What are some of the implications of this character’s actions?” “What are some of the literary devices the author uses to convey his message?” ...etc. These questions will force students to make inferences beyond the text. In doing so, they will develop critical thinking skills that will serve them will in perhaps an academic/work setting. Lastly, in order to make the things learned in the classroom ‘stick’, students should be given take-home assignments that force them to think about the texts they are given in the class. One way to make this more interesting is by giving them group projects. Having the students converse with one another will allow them to see what their classmates are thinking. But, more importantly, it will force them to think critically in order to form their own opinions about the texts they read. Teachers have to compete with the many distractions students have at their disposal. While this may seem unfair and difficult at times, introducing variety into the classroom and having the instructor contribute his/her enthusiasm should make teaching reading more interesting for students. Reading is a good and necessary skill to have. It is one of the main ways in which information is conveyed from individual to individual. Students must have this skill not only to be successful in the classroom, but in the workplace as well.