Language training from a different perspective
Ok, for as much as I've been talking about learning Japanese (which I have) I've also decided to do some community service in our local area by joining a local group who teaches english to Japanese workers and their families who are over here from Japan working at several local Japanese owned factories in the area. Right now I'm sitting in on the beginners classes on Monday's and Tuesdays just to get an idea of how the classes are taught, who's attending, and how to handle them. After my 3-4 week "break in" period is over I'm either going to be taking over teaching one of the level one basic conversational english classes, or taking over a brand new level 2 intermedicate conversational english class for the same kinds of people. I will also be doing some private tutoring of the men (men tutor men and women tutor women in this program per the rules) if they ask for it. My perk of course is I get to have them help me with learning my Japanese. :D
Now, my question would be this. What suggestions, pointers, ideas, or other helpful information might you suggest for someone who's taught other classes before, but never an english class. I'm well experienced at teaching technicall classes like networking, routers, firewalls, programming, or other tech related topics. However I've never actually taught an english class, and never to someone from another country. From what I've seen just in the first two days it seems easy enough. But I'm one who believes in getting it right on the first try, so I want to go in prepared as much as I can. :)
Thanks in advance for any pointers. And if you've never done one of these kind of classes, as far as teaching one goes, I think they're really neat because it's fun watching each person learn sentance structure, verbs, nouns, proper use, etc. :D It's even fun when you can walk up to them and talk to them in Japanese if even just on a basic level. :)
Well, from the sounds of it your students will be primarily adults (children are easier to teach, far easier if you have the patience) so one of the key things you should remember is to talk to them like adults. It's sounds dumb, I know, but you're more likely to insult and offend them if you speak to them like you would a child. This doesn't mean you should speak in a dull mono-tone voice but try not to sound childish, speak normally in a calm and fluidly tone. They're trying to learn the language through you, you are they're primary example for pronunciation and unfortunately any mistakes you make they will likely imitate so you show avoid any usage of idioms, colloquialisms and slang phrases.
Another thing to remember, and this could be considered critical, is to avoid speaking or attempting to speak to them in their native language while in class. The fastest way to learn a language, while it is the most trying on the learner, is total immersion. You are wanting to give them no recourse or escape from the language they are learning, in your class (as I have it in mine) it's best if you have them ask and answer questions only in the language of instruction. If you are asked a question, try to have the person asking it do so in English. Try to remember, they are in class to learn English not for you to practice their language. The more they practice the English they are learning the faster and easier it'll be for them.
Should you be asked a question you don't know the answer to, such as when it is appropriate to use a modal verb, simply answering "I don't know, but I'll find out and let you know" is never a bad thing. Never be affriad to admit you don't know the answer when you're unsure, guessing it will most likely yield and incorrect answer and will do the student more harm than good. Afterwards, however, it is best to make sure you know the answer by the next class so you can answer the person's question.
The Rassias Method is your friend, I cannot state this enough. The key to learning any language is positive re-enforcement and repetition. If I can get a class of 5/6 year olds to repeat the names of colors, fruits and combinations of the two within minutes of hearing the words for the first time, I'm certain you can get a room of adults to do the same.
Anyway, I need food. ^^:
I'm not an english teacher, but I do have my share of communicating with international students like Japanese, Korean, etc.
One thing you need to be prepared off, is be patient, because it's depend on their educational level, some japanese understand english as they receive it at school as part of the requirement, some doesn't undestand english at all. But one thing for sure, they're not fluent speakers. Their pronounciation is not perfect and they might lack confidence to speak with a native english speaker. Remember Asian people are polite and shy. If you ask them "any question?" during class, most of them will just stay quiet. So you need to encourage them and make them feel comfortable talking with you first. Like telling a joke, or talk about their hobby or your own experience learning japanese, etc. ^^
Anyway I wish you luck. I hope you get a fun class and good teaching experience. ^^
Thanks for the info guys. :) I'll try to remember these as I get ready to teach my own classes. :)
Anyone else got any pointers?
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