Monday, July 13, 2009

Lesson Planning

...for my students is perhaps less than ideal.

But perhaps, they are less than ideal students. Very low motivation, with the exception of a few in each class, a very low level when they start with some literally not being able to say their name and major, they straight-up refuse to do homework in most cases, they will skip the most classes they possibly can without getting an "F" and attempt to cheat their way through tests. And at the end of the semester, they expect to get an A+. It's almost laughable.

Anyway, that's life at a second/third tier uni in Korea so it goes with the territory. I'm not exactly dealing with the best and the brightest with the exception of a few majors here: robotics, nursing, animation, fashion, which for some reason attract much better students. And what electrical engineering student who just wants to stay and work in Korea really cares about English? I can understand and don't really blame them for their lack of motivation.

But, how does that affect my lesson planning? In a lot of ways. I know that I can't lecture because there simply isn't the attention span to make that possible. The minute I start is the minute that the students little heads start nodding and eyes start closing. So I make it interactive. Like they actually have to stand up and walk around talking to people. Or do a little presentation thing in front of the class, where if they don't at least try, they will look like a dumb-ass. Or I play a game where if they don't participate their group as a whole will suffer the consequences. It seems to keep the class moving along at a pace that's not tedious, clock-watching drudgery for me or them.

I try not to put people on the spot. I'm almost never pick someone out of the audience to answer a question, unless they've first had the opportunity to practice it with a partner. Then, if I do pick them and they have no answer, it's their own fault for being embarrassed for not being able to answer, not mine. They're low-level, so I always take this into account. I realize that big group discussions, or even discussions with 3 or 4 of their classmates just aren't possible for most classes so I don't try.

I will always do an example for each conversation question or game that I do. ALWAYS. They can not be trusted to understand and carry out my instructions, no matter how simply I explain something. The class turns to chaos without an example, and it's totally my fault, so I allow time in the lesson plan for this.

I have many more ideas. Perhaps this will be finished in a part two.

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