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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 15th, 2010, 07:01 am
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Default How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

Hi everyone!

I hope I'm posting this on the right category. I have this class of 6-7 students in elementary level (level 3) and I'm kind of confused on how to make the lessons more lively and get them more active as they're quiet and passive.
They're about 16-20 years old and I've only taught them twice. I'm a beginner teacher myself who's still on training while working part-time at the same time, so I've been given this class in which the students were used to their real teacher.
I'm not sure why they're so quiet. Is it because they're facing a new teacher? Or is it because they're shy and because of their limit in communicating in English?
When I ask them to interact with one another, or simply to participate in answering my questions, they tend to speak in a faint voice. When I tell them to do something like a worksheet or a group activity, I feel like I was giving them an exam. Too quiet and passive.
What kind of activities should I give them? What can I improve in my teaching style?
Any opinions and ideas are welcome.
Thank you!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 16th, 2010, 02:10 pm
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

What country are you in?
What is the nationality of the students?
How long did the students have the other teacher?
Do you think they are afraid?
Here in California, we get students from many countries, and usually the students aren't quiet and passive.
Do not give them activities that are too high for their skills. They probably won't tell you if something is too hard.
Students take awhile to adjust to a change of teachers.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 16th, 2010, 03:28 pm
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

If you give them a speaking activity, you really should demonstrate it with 1 or more students before you tell the class to do it.
If you have a list of questions for them to ask one another, have the class rehearse the questions with you before they do the activity.
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Unread Jan 17th, 2010, 05:49 am
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

Thanks for your reply. I will try to demonstrate certain activities before getting them to start.
I'm in Indonesia and I'm an Indonesian as well as the students. 2 years ago I was working as an Art teaching assistant in an international school and once I observed one of the teachers teaching ESL to a group of Korean students. Yes they tended to chat in Korean but they were a bit more active in participating in activities.
Back to my current students, they probably had the other teacher for at least one month. Seeing the classroom atmosphere, I had to change one of the activities in the first session bcoz I was worried it might have been too hard for them.
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Unread Jan 17th, 2010, 03:58 pm
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

Students tend to bond with a teacher, and then if a different teacher comes, students at first may not be too happy. That's very common.
Try to find out what kinds of activities they like. When you ask, make the questions very simple, and only use grammar that the students know.
You could also give the class a very simple needs assessment (a form that you make and every student fills out). Tell them the reason why you want them to fill out the form. Maybe you say," I want the class to help you more." You need to explain everything on the form before you ask them to fill it out. Then sit down sometime and look at all their responses.
I hope all the students bring bilingual dictionaries. I teach Beginning High (3rd level of 8) and I tell students that every person MUST bring a dictionary with his/her native language and English. The dictionaries are extremely important. One benefit is that the students learn how express themselves in English.
Be careful: don't assume they know something unless they have told you, or demonstrated it.
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Unread Jan 20th, 2010, 09:07 pm
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

Do you watch any TV programs such as game shows in Indonesia? To get my class active, I take the TV show games and create into my classes. 16 to 20 year olds watch TV and they certainly love to watch western shows. I'm sure a lot of them know how to play Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Pictonary, etc etc. Incorporate these games into your classes. The students will enjoy the lesson and enjoy competing with each other. Play something like Battleship.

Another thing is that your presence is not felt in class. Give instructions and directions loudly and clearly. Ask the Ss (students) if they understand or not. Nod for yes, Shake for no. If they nod, get them to explain what they need to do. If they are wrong, explain again. This is a surefire way to establish a connection with Ss.

Not sure what your personality is like, but if you the passive kind then you gotta work on it. I see many teachers who are shy and not open to be active, loud, lively in class end up being discouraged to teach Ss when their Ss aren't responding well to their requests.

You kind of need to become an comedian. When Ss ask you to explain a word, use body language (this is also where I make funny sounds, movements). Visual representation is more effective than verbal communication.

Yesterday, I taught a beginner class about communication. Good lesson to learn vocabulary and speech. They had two different kinds of lessons. The first is a verbal kind (with words), the other is the non verbal kind (without words). With words, I taught them intonation and stress. This part of the lesson improves they pronunciation and encourages them to speak with style. Will also boast their confidence. Without words, I taught them to communicate using hand gestures and facial expressions. (Hand gestures) they learn stuff like wave goodbye, say hello, nod for yes, shake for no, what, who, sorry, excuse me, etc etc. (facial expresssions) sad, happy, confused, angry, etc etc.

Then what I did with them was to put them into pairs and act out a dialogue without using words. That is, they must use hand gestures and facial expressions to act it out. Two Ss act, while the rest sit and watch. After the act, have the rest of the Ss guess what the dialogue is about. Make up a few funny dialogues. I had a dialogue about monkey and the students had to act like a monkey. The class laughed so much. They loved the class. Although most were shy to act. But once they know they all have to do it, then they'll live with it. A practice is to do the dialogue with a student (of course, something that is wacky) first. When the students see that the teacher is fun, not embarassed to be a fool, then they will feel more open-minded. You can trust me on this.
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Unread Jan 21st, 2010, 06:34 am
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

So you are teaching students who are still in their teens. In my experience, teenagers love certain topics -- like love, boy-girl relationships, fads, teeny bopper TV shows, movie stars etc. Focus your lessons on these topics. Share your experiences with them, too, because that's one way of building rapport with kids in this age group.
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Unread Jan 28th, 2010, 04:14 am
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

When I teach very quiet students, I will have them stand as far apart as the room allows and have them ask questions to each other. They have to raise their voices and although they never get 'loud,' they do get louder than normal. Usually, I get a shy grin or something so I know I'm not torturing them.

-Start with very simple questions at first so they can focus on their volume and not on the actual English. As they start to get used to it, you can increase the difficulty of the grammar.
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Unread Jan 28th, 2010, 05:05 am
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Default Re: How to Teach a Quiet Class and Make the Lessons Interesting?

Do you use warmers? What kind of warmers do you use? How do you start your lessons? What was the first day of class like? Do they want to learn English or is someone asking them to?
I usually start with a stirrer like a Running Dictation which is usually related to the topic of my lesson. Then after that we answer questions about the running dictation text.
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