Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Clear Directions

I'm teaching in this extra program at my uni and the person that is running it can't really speak English. Sure, he can string a few words together but it's not coherent and after he explains something, you really can't understand and don't even know what questions you want to ask because it's all just so confusing. And he kind of gets mad when you ask questions because he thinks he's done an amazing job of explaining. And it's so, so frustrating that it makes my head want to explode and never deal with this person again. And I won't. After this semester ends, I'm totally and completely done with this program forever. The money is not worth the stress.

Anyway, there is a point to all this complaining. I've realized that I need to be extremely clear when giving directions to my students since there is obviously a language barrier and I don't want them to be extremely frustrated with me, as I am with this guy. It's just a bad feeling and very stressful.

I've found the following things to help a lot:

1. Write it on the board as well as speaking. Most students in Korea are good at reading comprehension but kind of weak at listening.

2. If it's a bigger assignment, write the directions on a piece of paper for them to take home. Many students won't write it down, thinking they can remember...but we all know how that turns out in the end!

3. Use extremely simple language, with key points that you want to convey. Forget all the little detail words that don't convey the main point.

4. Actions. Open the book to the page you want them to look at and put your hand on the part you want them to do. For all games, do an example. For all conversations, do an example with one student. This helps me immensely in class.

No comments: