Friday, July 25, 2014

Teaching training: a wee rant

I found out a couple of days ago that I'll be teaching a Masters level, credit course about how to teach English this upcoming semester.  I was initially kind of excited about it since I can put all the stuff I learned when doing the Celta and the Delta to good use.  Except, upon further conversation with the admin and the previous teacher who taught the course my initial excitement has waned.

"It's about how to teach English, except the students aren't good at English and you can help them improve their English."

So, what exactly is it?  Is it a basic 4-skills English class, disguised as a masters level teaching methodology course?

Is it actually a teaching methodology course, just dumbed down because the MASTERS level students don't actually speak English that well?  Is it somehow supposed to be a combination of the two?

Now, I'm no hater of teaching content courses and I actually really truly believe that content courses, delivered in English are fabulous because students get information/skills/knowledge about the topic plus they can improve their English.  But, this situation makes me feel annoyed. 

If it's a 4-skills course, I can deal with that.  If it's a teaching methodology course, I can deal with that.  If it's SUPPOSED to be a teaching methodology course but is actually a basic English course in disguise...well, that's not really a good situation for me to be in.  Students will have all these expectations of what it can and should be and because the objectives are so vague and varied, it will be almost impossible for me to deliver what they actually want.  It's like the admin is just setting me up for failure is what it feels like at this point.

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Robert J Dickey said...

It's both. Teach a simplified methods course with simplified English, and as you work through the course you will determine what the students want and need more. Welcome to Korea! Planning is documents placed on a bookshelf and never reviewed by anyone except a licensure body -- implementation ignore planning and proceeds seat-of-the-pants.

Stafford said...

Lemons/lemonade etc? I think the expectation of admins and students themselves will always contain "I'm gonna improve my English by doing this..." at least to some extent.

I might start off with a couple of more general lessons (Who are our students? What is "being a teacher" all about?) with a lot of eliciting from Ss etc. These are general enough to get a variety of responses, but will draw on what Ss already know/feel etc.

Continue to provide corrective feedback to language use during tasks associated withy teaching etc.

Most of all be a model of the kind of teacher you want them to be! (Which probably isn't hard considering your awesomeness as it is!)

Flick me an email if you are looking for some content too! I have lots :-)