PDA

View Full Version : English club horror



Tyr
November 17th, 2011, 08:58
I'm steadily getting used to things here. I'm beginning to cobble together workable lessons, my Japanese is coming on well, etc...
The one thing though which I continue to epicly suck at though is the English club.
I just don't get it, just what on earth do I do here that will make the kids want to come.
My school is super academic so I'm restricted to lunch times and the very occasional irregular after school event, just how do I fill those lunch times? What is the secret to the English Club? How do other people keep it running?

Antonath
November 17th, 2011, 09:18
I think a lot of kids pick English club because it's an easy way out of clubs that actually make them practice, so you may not get anywhere (I have students that take elective English for the same reason). I suggest games, movies, music... make it fun for them.

Not that I'm one to give advice: I'm don't work with the English club except for photo opportunities. The guy in charge thinks they'll do more work / enjoy things more without Gaijin-sensei watching them (which is probably true, but somewhat misses the point).

Jojo
November 17th, 2011, 11:13
wait you have to do english club at lunch? damn that sucks. I had to do it in high school and luckily most of the kids had pretty good english - so we just did a bunch of stuff about my home country - photos, animals, movies, places ive been etc.. I really treated it as more of a foreign culture club - the english was just a by product of me teaching it..

5100
November 17th, 2011, 11:37
Just spend half the time talking to them. Ask them unusual questions and humorously demand answers OTHER than Imfinesankyouandyou. Keep it fun, unless you're a dour puss.

Word game examples all over the interwebs, most of them are good and only require a sheet of paper.

The biggest trick is to not be a knob. The students have enough work to do in the real school time, you are supposed to be lighthearted and mildly reinforce the things they learn in school. I've heard from several people how they have assignments in their clubs, even homework. that shi# sounds miserable for the students.

Gezora
November 17th, 2011, 11:54
God, if I ever fathered a Japanese child I would do everything in my power to prevent them from having to go through the Japanese school system.

5100
November 17th, 2011, 12:13
God, if I ever fathered a Japanese child I would do everything in my power to prevent them from having to go through the Japanese school system.

Tyr will offer up his tutoring services, I'm sure.

Tyr
November 20th, 2011, 22:36
Yeah, I've tried just talking to them, was told to do that by my JTE, but...why would the kids want to come and talk to me at lunch time instead of hanging out with their friends? No surprise not many of them come really- which in turn makes even less come when they show up and its just me and them in a quiet echoy room. I've only got the one school, I'm not a travelling Jet, so the "wow a foreigner!" thing has long since worn off.
Guess I'll try announcing in advance lessons on stuff. Shame we can't eat in the room that has a projector though.



Tyr will offer up his tutoring services, I'm sure.
ey?

But yes. I agree, if I were ever to have a kid in Japan....they're going to live with their grandparents till they're 18!

Gizmotech
November 21st, 2011, 09:57
Hmm. I actually gave back control of my English club to the teacher in charge of it when I said "I don't have a clue how to do this, and I can't understand why the kids come to this 3 days a week". The most helpful thing was dumping responsibility onto the "leader" which has been good for him, and he's much more involved now. I just sit there and wait for them to have a use for me.

jwkelley
November 21st, 2011, 10:12
Force your hobbies onto the kids. teach them something but in english. English movies maybe, or plays.

MJN
November 21st, 2011, 18:15
Where do you people get time to do English clubs? None of my schools seem to be able to do it, straight out classes-homeroom and into clubs within about 20 minutes, til 5-half-5 and then the students sod off home.

There's literally no time in the day at my schools unless they all miss their busses, or if it lasts 10 minutes at the end of lunch.

MixedNuts
November 21st, 2011, 19:24
Where do you people get time to do English clubs? None of my schools seem to be able to do it, straight out classes-homeroom and into clubs within about 20 minutes, til 5-half-5 and then the students sod off home.

There's literally no time in the day at my schools unless they all miss their busses, or if it lasts 10 minutes at the end of lunch.

Wouldn't English club be considered one of the clubs at your schools? It is at mine.

MJN
November 21st, 2011, 20:18
No, doesn't exist, and the schools don't have the means to do it apparently. I have asked, though.

Gizmotech
November 22nd, 2011, 08:29
HA! Don't have the means means they don't want to give you a budget. Seeing as my budget is useless (5000 for a year, seriously?) Tell them you don't care and just start it. There might very well be kids who do not want to go to other clubs and will join you in your brand new English club.

MixedNuts
November 22nd, 2011, 08:45
My English clubs are no-budget English clubs.

coop52
November 22nd, 2011, 10:18
Mine is too. If we cook something or whatever, I just have them bring in money. They're actually good about that.
I have a hard time coming up with ideas, and every time I ask the kids they just say "cooking" (only can do it once a month) or "movie" (JTE has already said no since they don't get any speaking practice). What all do people do with theirs?

5100
November 22nd, 2011, 10:52
Mine is too. If we cook something or whatever, I just have them bring in money. They're actually good about that.
I have a hard time coming up with ideas, and every time I ask the kids they just say "cooking" (only can do it once a month) or "movie" (JTE has already said no since they don't get any speaking practice). What all do people do with theirs?

Ahem.


Just spend half the time talking to them. Ask them unusual questions and humorously demand answers OTHER than Imfinesankyouandyou. Keep it fun, unless you're a dour puss.

Word game examples all over the interwebs, most of them are good and only require a sheet of paper.

The biggest trick is to not be a knob. The students have enough work to do in the real school time, you are supposed to be lighthearted and mildly reinforce the things they learn in school. I've heard from several people how they have assignments in their clubs, even homework. that shi# sounds miserable for the students.

Anything where you talk or interact is acceptable. Plays or discussions are good. Ask them how they feel about something. Show a CLIP from a show then ask what they think about it.


Bohrd gaymz.

MJN
November 22nd, 2011, 13:52
Anything where you talk or interact is acceptable. Plays or discussions are good. Ask them how they feel about something. Show a CLIP from a show then ask what they think about it.


This I do. Cleaning time, after lunch, between classes etc if I see pupils I try and have some idle banter with them. I don't overly care about grammatical correctness, if they can communicate a point I'm happy.

Even getting them to answer "how are you?" without using "Aimu fainu sanku iu anudo iu?" can make them think. It's surprising the words they can pluck out when they're actually forced into trying.

I think I'm going to ask about a no-budget English club, cheers for that tip.

Jiggit
December 12th, 2011, 12:34
As someone who I believe is in a situation similar to yours, I'd like to offer my own opinion. Also as my first post on this forum and as an inexperienced ALT, screw all those other opinions.

You said you're in a high-level academic High School? Then I would say actually do more with your club. Unless your prefecture is massively different from mine, there are almost certainly a lot of events for English clubs across the prefecture to participate in. The majority of these are contests; speech contests, debate contests, English drama contests etc.

A quick summary of my situation: the first week of school, I was told the English club met on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. On the wednesday the club supervisor told me that she couldn't come today, since she had an extra class. Hey ho, I thought, it's just the one time, I'll try and chat with them and we'll go home early. Nope. First thing I learned from the club leader was that the club supervisor never comes - and that anything that happened in the club was down to me. They had almost no input, and only about 2 of them showed any interest in speaking - the rest would only speak to me grudgingly if I made them. The next week the majority of them didn't even bother to show up. I dreaded going to this club every week and just sitting there trying to be fun and interesting.

The thing which made me decide to change it was that I'd been to a Summer Seminar for English clubs when I first came, and that I'd seen a debate contest involving the schools with active English clubs. Those kids were awesome. Full of energy, really excited, keen to speak and communicate with ALTs. So I wanted my club to be like that, to take part in English events and activities, though I was worried they would resent having more to do. As it turns out, the club is definitely better now. Especially at high ability schools, the students expect at some level to work hard at club activities. They might resent you a little but in the end they'll be happier that the club is acting like a real club. Actually you may very well have kids who are lazy because the kids who actually want to learn English and do English activities look at your schools club and don't see what they want. There's a school in our prefecture whose English club kids are flayed alive in their English club - but the club also has more members than any other. Go figure.

This will probably mean more work for you, tbh. And maybe you don't want that, a lot of ALTs fight viciously against their free time being eaten into. But if you decide to do the events that are available a lot of your English club time will be spent preparing. We just did a drama contest that took up a month and a half with writing scripts, making props, learning lines, acting, etc. It just gives the kids a purpose before the event and a sense of accomplishment afterwards. Thinking of random things to do, for me at least, kind of becomes impossible after a while. It's too easy for it to swing over to being like an extra lesson (not fun!) or it's too arbitrary and unstructured and they just kind of sit there bored.

But yeah I would say go for it if you want to - the kids might be a bit reluctant but they'll do what's expected of them and in the end get more out of English club than they would have otherwise. And so will you, probably.

Gizmotech
December 12th, 2011, 12:53
Long drawn out way of say: Do shit your own way, make it hard.


I like this post, it is a very good idea for using the English club. I feel that mine would probably be better if it were the case, and frankly I'm a better English teacher than an entertainer (which is what my club currently wants of me), but the students have shown extreme resistance to the idea of learning in my club.

If you CAN do this though, go for it! It would be an awesome club to teach.

Jiggit
December 12th, 2011, 12:59
Actually it's more of a way of avoiding having to do shit your own way literally every time. I am not a creative person, especially not when I've already had a whole days lessons. But I can bulldoze over the supervisors occasional protests (it helps that Kocho-sensei has apparently made comments about wanting the English club to be better I think) and insist we get involved in everything.

But yeah, make the kids do hard stuff. Either you'll get a good English club or they'll all quit, so you can't lose!

Gizmotech
December 12th, 2011, 13:39
But yeah, make the kids do hard stuff. Either you'll get a good English club or they'll all quit, so you can't lose!

You need to post more, that's the kind of attitude I like :)

JackAttack
December 13th, 2011, 09:55
Unless your prefecture is massively different from mine, there are almost certainly a lot of events for English clubs across the prefecture to participate in. The majority of these are contests; speech contests, debate contests, English drama contests etc.


What prefecture you in?

Those things that you listed are all part of the curriculum for my school's English program, so doing it in English club is out. (Though I've never heard of a drama contest and that sounds fun!)

I have to say.... I would never willingly put my students or myself through that. :| The debate contest takes 4 months of practice and this year we have the wonderful topic of the death penalty and then after school practices for the group of students who have to go to the prefectural contest. They've also already gone through a year and a half of practice for both speech and recitation. By debate time, we're all exhausted. I'm pretty sure last year's class felt like they were being tortured with debate. I still have parts of those recitations memorized from practicing them over and over. :| Soooo yeah... for my English club, all those options you listed are out since the students are required to do them.

Now plays? Those are fun! I'd love to use that activity more both in class and out.

Let'sgoJapan
December 13th, 2011, 11:29
Are these English Clubs mostly at HS or JHS? There are no English Clubs in my cities JHS, but there is at the HS.

Ini
December 13th, 2011, 14:26
you get english clubs at all levels - ES, JHS and HS. if your school doesnt have one its probably an indicator as to how respected English is by the staff and students.

thefrozendestiny
December 13th, 2011, 15:12
Something I do with my english club every year is have them draft up scripts, and make a documentary about their school, or other places of interest in the local area. They interview club leaders, teachers, students, research the history of their school, all in english and record it on video. Then after they record all the video, we go to the computer lab and work on editing it. We add Japanese subtitles to the bottom of their english, and it gets presented at the school presentation day (gakkushuhappyoukai) Its really interactive and helps gets the kids really motivated to do it. They really look forward to doing it, so maybe you could give that a try.

Eudox
December 13th, 2011, 15:58
Oh god that romaji gave me a headache.

Sounds like a cool idea though.

Jiggit
December 13th, 2011, 16:37
What prefecture you in?

Those things that you listed are all part of the curriculum for my school's English program, so doing it in English club is out. (Though I've never heard of a drama contest and that sounds fun!)

I have to say.... I would never willingly put my students or myself through that. :| The debate contest takes 4 months of practice and this year we have the wonderful topic of the death penalty and then after school practices for the group of students who have to go to the prefectural contest. They've also already gone through a year and a half of practice for both speech and recitation. By debate time, we're all exhausted. I'm pretty sure last year's class felt like they were being tortured with debate. I still have parts of those recitations memorized from practicing them over and over. :| Soooo yeah... for my English club, all those options you listed are out since the students are required to do them.

Now plays? Those are fun! I'd love to use that activity more both in class and out.

Ishikawa. What exactly is an "English program?" Just the regular lessons? I don't think the kids in my regular classes would have the ability or effort to do that. Also yeah Drama Contest is fun, though ours was kinda hardcore since I made them do it even though we originally weren't going to, so all the other groups practiced for about 2-3 months and we only practiced for 1. Oh well.

Yeah we didn't do the debate this year since it was way before I arrived (I went and judged, never again...). Death Penalty - I think it's the same everywhere. The finals are this weekend in Ishikawa actually, the main Japanese teacher is obsessed with it being an honour and trying to get ALTs to go spend their whole weekend there...

Yeah it's a lot more work, not gonna lie. I guess I see it as worth it - if I'm going to affect any kid's life here it'll probably be doing stuff like that rather than making them repeat after me in a class of 40. Well, more of a difference anyway. I guess the difference in classes is they understand that foreigners aren't so alien and weird - they have the ability to torture you with the same numbing boredom that their J-teachers use just the same!

LETS LEARNING ENGLISH.

lilyanphino
December 13th, 2011, 17:05
you get english clubs at all levels - ES, JHS and HS. if your school doesnt have one its probably an indicator as to how respected English is by the staff and students.

Not necessarily, my school doesn't have an English club and there are 8 English teachers at my school and the English Board is in the main entrance where any visitor can see it. Although, I will say that my school only has 4 clubs that aren't sports-related (band, science, home-economics, and art).

Ini
December 13th, 2011, 19:33
If you have 8 teachers and nobody is capable of inspiring enough interest in English to justify a club that says a lot about the quality of their teaching

MJN
December 13th, 2011, 22:15
Not necessarily, my school doesn't have an English club and there are 8 English teachers at my school and the English Board is in the main entrance where any visitor can see it. Although, I will say that my school only has 4 clubs that aren't sports-related (band, science, home-economics, and art).

None of my schools have a single club that isn't sports related. My schools simply don't have the "means" to support it. One of my schools is currently about 150 pupils, yet has a max capacity of about 500, (There's classrooms that go up to X-5 or X-6 in each year, but only up to X-2 are used) so there are loads of spare rooms. (Some are just never opened).

Majority of kids don't even go to clubs, and none of the third years do (school policy, but apparently that's normal nationwide I've been told). Most 1st and 2nd years go home instead of clubs, but there are quite a few students who just sit and read or something in their homerooms. I usually try and go chat to them or whatever when I'm not otherwise occupied, especially the third years.

I also wouldn't say there's a disinterest in English, either. The same school has a surplus of JTE's, there's 3 of them, so sometimes classes are split into smaller ones and the 3 are used. One, especially, I think is probably about the best teacher I've ever met, a hyper-genki nutcase that manages to get even the quietest pupils to sing. I swear she does drugs or something, but she's extremely enthusiastic about English, and teaching it.

Truth be told, I've not exactly pushed - I've asked a few times to set something but, but been given set answers of "no ability" "no need" or "no need to bother yourself". If they won't do it Officially, I'm happy just arsing about chatting to pupils. They usually have questions, or just simply enjoy random banter. Exchanging video game translations to and from both English and Japanese is something that really gets them talking, I've had hour long conversations with some pupils about differences in Pokemon names, why Biohazard is pronounced "resident evil" and how to match up Hylian to Romaji. Sure that kinda crap won't help them pass an exam, but it gets them speaking.

JackAttack
December 15th, 2011, 15:30
What exactly is an "English program?" Just the regular lessons?

Nope, not just regular lessons. My school has an English focused program that students can test into (they take an entrance exam separate to the rest of the school). One homeroom in each grade is the English class. They have extra and harder English lessons than the rest of the homerooms. One of their classes is just speech, debate, and recitation.

Ini
December 15th, 2011, 15:32
One of their classes is just speech

fucking hell, I guess the JTE runs that class on her own

Gizmotech
December 15th, 2011, 15:35
fucking hell, I guess the JTE runs that class on her own

I love the sarcasm. My school has the same setup and guess who gets to do all the work... One hint. It ain't the JTEs.

Ini
December 15th, 2011, 15:38
no, its a little known fact but jack cant speak. Maybe if she could find the courage to open her mouth she wouldn't be used like a doormat by everyone

JackAttack
December 15th, 2011, 15:41
I love the sarcasm. My school has the same setup and guess who gets to do all the work... One hint. It ain't the JTEs.

I think mine is pretty even, except for the speech class this year where one JTE took on a lot of work and the other just sat there like LA LA LAAAA.

Same teachers for debate... it's ALT take-over.

Tyr
December 21st, 2011, 10:47
I envy those of you who don't have to do English club. I increasingly don't have to do it but this is not looked upon well by the school.

Speech/recitation contests are also a pain. Mad some people get out of that. You have to stay late doing the same boring thing and making some kid suffer for 2 months and then the judges just choose the winners at random anyway.

5100
December 21st, 2011, 11:24
I envy those of you who don't have to do English club. I increasingly don't have to do it but this is not looked upon well by the school.

Speech/recitation contests are also a pain. Mad some people get out of that. You have to stay late doing the same boring thing and making some kid suffer for 2 months and then the judges just choose the winners at random anyway.

... ... ... :| ...

Jiggit
December 21st, 2011, 15:54
I envy those of you who don't have to do English club. I increasingly don't have to do it but this is not looked upon well by the school.

Speech/recitation contests are also a pain. Mad some people get out of that. You have to stay late doing the same boring thing and making some kid suffer for 2 months and then the judges just choose the winners at random anyway.

BOOOOOOOOOOO TO YOU. Everyone knows Japanese kids secretly love speech contests. Reciting the same words over and over is the forming process of Japanese moral fibre.

Ever seen a video of someone making a katana? They fold the steel over and over, hammering it repeatedly until it forms the perfect edge. This way you get the most perfect* sword in the world, just like the Japanese school system forges the most perfect citizens.

*Note that modern steelsmithing techniques have rendered this method pointless.

Antonath
December 21st, 2011, 16:43
... and the process was developed because the starting metal was so poor quality. Have we found a new metaphor for the Japanese school system?

Gizmotech
December 21st, 2011, 19:10
... and the process was developed because the starting metal was so poor quality. Have we found a new metaphor for the Japanese school system?

Nope, because the end result aint much better than the original form.

agrilledfish
December 22nd, 2011, 07:01
When I did my kyuushoku radio show yesterday I noticed a dusty scrabble board game sitting on the desk with the words "ENGLISH CLUB" scribbled on it. I asked a JTE about it and she looked wistfully into the distance and said "A long, long time ago..." as if some horrible disaster had occurred. I'm guessing the kids just lost interest.

Jiggit
January 6th, 2012, 03:34
... and the process was developed because the starting metal was so poor quality. Have we found a new metaphor for the Japanese school system?

Hey, guy! I was gonna make that joke too, but it was getting too wordy. Also it was an outdated weapon used for so long only because of rigid adherence to tradition etc etc

However I think this can't be a metaphor because there are too many things in Japan this applies to...