Teaching at WHLC - FTs

This is a short cheat-sheet for new foreign teachers. They know what to do, and how to behave. Before your class begins, take a peek into your classroom. You’ll probably see neat rows of students hanging on their teacher’s every word or working diligently on a handout. What happens when you walk in? The books are put away and the toys come out. Students are dancing in their desks and making paper airplanes. There’s a common misconception amongst students, teachers, and parents in China that English classes are play time and that foreign teachers are dancing monkeys. I’ve seen students disobey direct orders, fight with each other, curse at teachers (in English!) and eat oranges in class. You need to anticipate problems and prepare to deal with them before walking into class. Keep them active and engaged. The single best thing you can do to keep students on-task and in control is to prepare full lessons with a lot of activities – young learners like songs and chants, and they respond well to TPR (total physical response i.e. Simon Says). Students lose interest and misbehave when they don’t have a clear task to attend to. Avoid having idle time in your lessons and always make it clear what you expect students to do. Use (don’t confuse) your TA. Go over your lesson plan with your TA and explain any unfamiliar games. Point out places in the lesson where you’ll likely need their help – giving directions, translating, or monitoring a game. In class, try not to improvise too much. You run the risk of losing the students and TA. Be consistent with discipline. Students like to test limits. Some students like to provoke teachers. You need to make it clear that you expect the best from your students – and that there are set consequences for misbehavior. Don’t play favorites or waive punishments for certain students. If you’re fair and impartial in your implementation of the rules, your students will be more likely to abide by them. The goal here is to provide an environment conducive to learning – that can only happen when students respect each other and you.
Renato Ganoza for English First Zhengzhou, 2008

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