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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 26th, 2010, 11:26 am
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Join Date: Feb 23rd, 2010
Location: Jinhua, China
Age: 35
Posts: 77
chokosaki is on a distinguished road
Default Your first class topic :D

Today, I picked up a 2nd school. I will be teaching there 2 days a week, for 2 hours a day. My first class is Saturday. It's an upper level, intermediate class. I have a pretty solid class set up. I have only 2 students for this class. I was thinking of using culture as a good beginning topic (in honor of the World Expo taking place in Shanghai this year). What do any of you others use for an opening class? I have an ice breaker prepared, a filler game for any extra time at the end, and an extra 'getting to know each other' activity, also.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread May 26th, 2010, 06:39 pm
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Join Date: Aug 24th, 2006
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Default Re: Your first class topic :D

Do you think you will have other students join the class later?
My thinking is this. I don't want to knock myself out and spend a lot of time doing lesson planning when I have only 2 students. If I'm going to spend a lot of time preparing an activity, I won't use it in class until I have a good number of students.
One or two icebreakers would be good. I also like the idea of a "getting to know you" activity.
If you give them a reading assignment with comprehension questions to answer (in writing), that may take 45 minutes to an hour.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread May 26th, 2010, 10:17 pm
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Join Date: Feb 23rd, 2010
Location: Jinhua, China
Age: 35
Posts: 77
chokosaki is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Your first class topic :D

I've worked at this school before...when I was a brand new teacher. Back then, I had only 2 students and it remained that way for the entire duration of the class. This is a conversation class tho, so I don't really want a reading class. I think I failed to mention that it was a conversation class...sorry. The students will be around my age also...mid 20s.

The first time I had this class...I did 'knock myself out' for the two students I had. It was pretty stressful. I had never taught before and had to make all the content myself. Luckily, I still have all the material from those days many moons ago. I'll definitely modify them a bit tho. It was mostly a Q/A type class. Lots of questions from myself to the students. It didn't have much variety but my students really enjoyed it. However, when I asked for their own class ideas...they gave no feedback. I hear that's sort of common among Chinese students tho.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2010, 06:20 pm
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Join Date: Aug 24th, 2006
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Default Re: Your first class topic :D

I think you should prepare a survey and make copies of it, and then have students complete it. This will give them an opportunity to describe their interests and needs. Write it carefully, so that you will get useful information in exchange.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2010, 11:06 pm
eslHQ Zealot
 
Join Date: Feb 23rd, 2010
Location: Jinhua, China
Age: 35
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chokosaki is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Your first class topic :D

I think a survey would be a good idea too. I like that idea for a bigger class tho. So far, I have only 3 students tho (2 students had signed up and an extra had checked the class for a demo and now he's signed up too...I guess he liked it.) In a bigger class I had an idea where the students take the survey and then we cut up the questions. At random, I would take a slip from pile (or hat...whatever) and would read the question and the answer. Students should then try and think about which student's answer it is. It could be fun when I have a bigger class.

The first class was a little rocky, however. I went into the school being told that this was the 'advanced' class. Then, when I get there, the school tells me that I should begin with simple things like how are you, what's your name, how old are you? This put an entire damper on my class lesson. The students level was much higher so we ended up turning this into an all icebreaker/fun type class. I used some of my original ideas and went from there. In the second class, I decided to use my original topic and ignored what the school wanted me to do (I made sure it was OK at first tho...I'm not a jerk or anything hehe). The class went great. I'm trying to design my classes around having the students talk a lot more than myself. However, when I'm making lessons, sometimes I think it's a bit more difficult with some topics than others.

Also, I made a list of all the possible topics that I have planned and handed the list out to the students. The students were pleased with the topics. Every class I will have them mark off the topic of the day. If students come up with their own idea, we will add it to our list and I'll prepare something around it. I hope it works out OK. After the first class I was starting to regret agreeing to come back to the school. I really don't like having to teach their material (especially being given the material 5 minutes before class.) I do much better when I can plan a full lesson. I'm still a newbie teacher (not even a full year yet). I guess with more experience I might be able to just think of the lesson plan. I'm pretty good with improv when it comes to my children classes...but adults...I'll need more experience. Anyways, Mr. baker thanks for telling me to not knock myself out over it. I knew I shouldn't but I guess having someone else tell me that really hit the spot. It helped me loosen up a bit more in class too. I had a much better time.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 2nd, 2010, 07:41 pm
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Join Date: Aug 24th, 2006
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Default Re: Your first class topic :D

I'm glad my last post helped you.
Can you ask the school to give you complete curriculum for the class, so you know what they expect for the entire term? You know that you will still have to adjust some things, because the level of the students wasn't what the school said it was.
At my school, we have 8 levels of ESL and each level has a fully-detailed curriculum that describes skills, grammar and content. All teachers have access to curriculum before the start of a term. We are not just thrown into a dark pit!
I've been teaching ESL about 5 years. When possible, I plan one week's worth of lessons together. This helps me a lot because I can see the flow through the week. I absolutely never start a class not knowing what I am doing!!
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