Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Free Talking

This semester, I'm doing some overtime at my school's "Global Zone."  It's a program where students can sign up in 30 minute time slots with a Native Speaker.  In theory, they're supposed to prepare something, like a writing sample, some Toeic speaking test questions, some homework they want help with or a conversation topic or reading they'd like to discuss.  About 1/2 of the students do this and it's actually quite helpful.  The other 1/2 of the students show up with nothing, and just want to do "free-talking."

Free talking is kind of ridiculous after the first session together.  Sure, it's fun to sit and chat, in English about hobbies or classes, or general school life stuff but then it's gets boring and not helpful.  And almost each of these students say, "I really want to improve my English!  How can I do it?"  And then I tell them that they should read some articles or listen to a newscast or tell me about what they're learning in their classes, just in English.  Or read a book and then tell me about it.  Anything to challenge themselves.  Except they don't.  They just come back and want to do more free-talking.  Ridiculous.  Free talking is definitely not an English improvement tool, let's just say that.

3 comments:

Nick said...

Hi Jackie, I've been a follower for a while and like your blog -- it's inspired me to write my own.

I completely agree about this issue of students showing up to class expecting to just "free talk," without any preparation or even so much as a thought before the class. So many times I've had students show up to class late, I ask what they've been doing, and they respond "nothing special." It makes our job as a teacher very difficult.

I feel like the better half of this year I've had to do a lot of "free talk" where no real learning occurred. I've bent over backwards talking to myself, frantically printed out worksheets, and tried to come up with things I'm guessing they need help with. Sure, maybe they learned a couple words/phrases, but it's a shame, not to mention a waste of time and effort.

How do you normally get these free talk students to put in a little effort? I feel like I end up just getting annoyed and lecture them about what they could do to improve... Anyway, sorry for the long comment! Take care.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nick said...

Hi Jackie, I've been a follower for a while and like your blog -- it's inspired me to write my own.

I completely agree about this issue of students showing up to class expecting to just "free talk," without any preparation or even so much as a thought before the class. So many times I've had students show up to class late, I ask what they've been doing, and they respond "nothing special." It makes our job as a teacher very difficult.

I feel like the better half of this year I've had to do a lot of "free talk" where no real learning occurred. I've bent over backwards talking to myself, frantically printed out worksheets, and tried to come up with things I'm guessing they need help with. Sure, maybe they learned a couple words/phrases, but it's a shame, not to mention a waste of time and effort.

How do you normally get these free talk students to put in a little effort? I feel like I end up just getting annoyed and lecture them about what they could do to improve... Anyway, sorry for the long comment! Take care.