Monday, December 1, 2008

Classroom Management

One of the big issues with teaching at a university in Korea is motivating your students. I teach at a lower level uni and so most of my students just don't care about English. The course that I teach, Freshman English is required. And I can't really blame them for not caring. They'll never use English again, outside of this class that they just have to pass to get their degree. So the challenge is how to make my class interesting and engaging enough so that they'll actually pick up a bit of English, despite their reluctance.

One thing that I found that has worked extremely well is using a stamp and ink pad. Kind of like back in elementary school. I give them a stamp in their book for each time they do their homework. If we play a game, I'll give a stamp to the winners. If someone volunteers to speak in front of the class, I'll give out a stamp. If the students are doing paired conversation practice, I'll give out a stamp or two to encourage those who are speaking English and not Korean. These stamps count for %35 of their final grade and each stamp is worth 2%. The best students will have 15-20 stamps in a semester, so they'll end up with all 35 of the points. Even the students who don't really participate in class can get a "B" or so for doing their homework every week.

What do you think? What are you ideas?


Susan said...
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Susan said...

This is a great idea. What do you do when they lose their books?

I saw a presentation at the last KOTESOL International Conference on using stamps for participation points. The presenters made ID cards for every student and stamped the cards throughout the class period.

Another option was giving the students point cards throughout the class for participation, speaking only English, cooperation etc. The points were added up at the end of the class and recorded.

The presenters found students were more motivated to participate in class because they could physically see the points being passed out.

I'm thinking of trying one of these methods next semester.

For now, I have a seating chart for each class (helps me learn their names) and I put check marks on the seating chart to keep track of participation.

Michael said...

@ Susan,

I usually record the number of stamps at least twice a semester (sometimes three times) in case they lose their papers.

At mid-term I look, and maybe near the end of the course as well.