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MostHolyPorcine
May 27th, 2008, 22:48
Who teaches one? I'm in charge of a class of 5 kids this year, and, I gotta say, I could not possibly be more under qualified to be teaching these poor kids. The JTE in charge of the class doesn't care what I do, as long as she is not involved in any way, shape, or form. It was difficult enough to teach before the new school year started, when I had 2 intelligent but ADHD 2nenseis and one 1nensei with a serious learning disability, but now it is just ridiculous. The two 2nens became 3nenseis, the 1nensei became a 2nensei (though she still struggles with pretty much everything), and two new ADHD 1nenseis have started. So, I'm dealing with 3 completely different ability groups, ranging from the "never even seen the alphabet" 1nenseis to more advanced, and, really, quiet intelligent, 3nenseis.

Is anyone else in a similar situation? How the heck do I make a lesson plan that caters to all three levels? I've been reviewing the alphabet, numbers, greetings, all that basic fun stuff for the benefit of the new students, since they'll never advance without that basic foundation, but I can tell the 3nenseis are bored to tears (which creates all sorts of fun problems...like I said, these kids are smart, but they are seriously ADHD, if I can't give them something to focus on that they are actually interested in, they'll be bouncing off the walls). Honestly, the whole thing just pisses me off, how they are completely giving up on these kids. The 3nenseis will have essentially spent three years covering introductory english and nothing else. With the exception of the one girl, these kids are not slow learners or mentally impaired. They pick up on new concepts fast, they retain information, and they are genuinely interested in learning English. I can certainly see where they would be a problem in a class of 40, where the teacher can't give them individual attention, but there has to be a better way to educate them than this...I've tried to talk to the admins about splitting them up, but it's just not going to happen. Ah, well, can't fight city hall. But! I can try my hardest to give them a decent education.

Any advice?

2788
May 30th, 2008, 16:00
Who teaches one? I'm in charge of a class of 5 kids this year, and, I gotta say, I could not possibly be more under qualified to be teaching these poor kids. The JTE in charge of the class doesn't care what I do, as long as she is not involved in any way, shape, or form. It was difficult enough to teach before the new school year started, when I had 2 intelligent but ADHD 2nenseis and one 1nensei with a serious learning disability, but now it is just ridiculous. The two 2nens became 3nenseis, the 1nensei became a 2nensei (though she still struggles with pretty much everything), and two new ADHD 1nenseis have started. So, I'm dealing with 3 completely different ability groups, ranging from the "never even seen the alphabet" 1nenseis to more advanced, and, really, quiet intelligent, 3nenseis.

Is anyone else in a similar situation? How the heck do I make a lesson plan that caters to all three levels? I've been reviewing the alphabet, numbers, greetings, all that basic fun stuff for the benefit of the new students, since they'll never advance without that basic foundation, but I can tell the 3nenseis are bored to tears (which creates all sorts of fun problems...like I said, these kids are smart, but they are seriously ADHD, if I can't give them something to focus on that they are actually interested in, they'll be bouncing off the walls). Honestly, the whole thing just pisses me off, how they are completely giving up on these kids. The 3nenseis will have essentially spent three years covering introductory english and nothing else. With the exception of the one girl, these kids are not slow learners or mentally impaired. They pick up on new concepts fast, they retain information, and they are genuinely interested in learning English. I can certainly see where they would be a problem in a class of 40, where the teacher can't give them individual attention, but there has to be a better way to educate them than this...I've tried to talk to the admins about splitting them up, but it's just not going to happen. Ah, well, can't fight city hall. But! I can try my hardest to give them a decent education.

Any advice?

Little long winded (my post, not yours), but here's my experiences.

I had the exact same situation as you. I go to a special school one day a week, and teach two English classes, one SHS and one JHS. The SHS was exactly like yours, but it was mixed with kids with Down's to kids with mild learning disabilities (they finally realized how this wasn't working, and split the class between higher-level and lower-level students, thank god).

There really isn't too much you can do. Whenever I made it a little challenging, I lost the lower level kids, and when I made it easy, I lost the higher level kids. It was rare that I got a class where everyone was trying, and not giving up because it was too hard/easy.

I found a few worked well, phonics lessons being one, as I tried to concentrate on just making the sounds, not so much on the meaning of the words with the sounds. I would try also to expand it from just an English lesson to teaching about the world. One of the best lessons that got students excited was when I printed off (in color, of course) flags from around the world. I had the students say the colors of the flag in English, and, if they knew, the name of the country in English. I would have the higher level students guess on a map where that country was. It was good for the lower level students, as they liked the colors of the flags and the map, and the higher level students liked the challenge of finding Ireland, Brazil, India, etc on a map. Another game that worked well was English pictionary, having students draw something and name it in English.

I know you can't teach phonics, flags, and pictionary forever, so I can't help you too much. Just do the best you can to help whatever students you can.

P.S. I feel your pain, too, with the lack of help from your teacher. There was a new one that came after the classes split, and she has been awful. I am alone in the lesson planning, no book, no curriculum (sp?). She's critical of my plans, but offers no alternatives or solutions, has a 'They can't do it' attitude, and just generally underestimates the students. They CAN do it, they just do it differently, and need a little more patience.

Training could also be the problem with the JTE. Talking to the JHS English teacher at the school, she told me how she was shocked when she learned she would be teaching at a special school. This was her first job out of college, and she had NO special ed. training EVER. Has your JTE ever had special ed. training? I'm curious if this is a my prefecture problem or a Japan-wide problem.

*Edited for awful spelling mistakes.

MostHolyPorcine
May 31st, 2008, 19:14
Thanks for the advice! Phonics is a great idea, especially for the more hyperactive kids. Trying to get them to concentrate on a worksheet rather than speaking or playing a game is like pulling teeth.

In terms of no training for special ed, it's definitely a Japan-wide problem. At my school (which is a regular JHS, our town doesn't have a special school, or at least they don't involve ALTs with it) the special ed class has a Home Room Teacher who actually has some qualifications (not sure what, but she even if there is no degree she has been given training by the BoE and is always reading teaching theory for special ed), but she's only there to watch over them. Meaning, she isn't qualified to teach any specific subject so much as just watch over the kids and keep them on task. For all of their subjects, the kids have one of the 'regular' teachers from that department come down and teach the class, so, really, none of their academic teachers have any special training. Some are better than others at it, because, like I said, these kids are very, very high functioning, most aren't mentally impaired in any way and have behavioral issues more than anything. But then other teachers hear "special-ed" and decide not to even try. It's been the tradition at my school for the teachers to give all of the special ed work to the ALTs. Some are better than others, of the two JTEs I've worked with in special ed, one wanted to be involved, would come to class all the time, made sure the kids were on task, etc while leaving all the actual teaching to me, whereas the one this year never discusses what we should do, never comes to class (which is very much against the rules...she gets away with it by pretending like she's planning to go, but then asks me 5 minutes before class if I mind going by myself, which of course I don't, since her presence just makes the class all the more difficult to teach because she believes the kids are utterly incapable of doing anything and will actually stop me mid class and say what I'm doing is too difficult, even though the kids are getting along fine), and will only speak to one of the students (she actually told me she hates the other kids...). None of them, though, have had any training or experience working with learning disabilities, and the department treats the class as the bobby prize for the semester.

Quite frustrating, since (though it's wrong to play favorites, I know) these kids are far and away my favorite kids in the school, far and away the most personable, far and away the most interested in things foreign, and just all around good people. I really can't stand seeing them just given up on by people who should know better.

Wakatta
May 31st, 2008, 20:34
Those kids must be severely ADHD if it's enough to put them in a special-ed class. Or maybe I misread.

wicket
May 31st, 2008, 21:02
Those kids must be severely ADHD if it's enough to put them in a special-ed class. Or maybe I misread.[/i]
What country is this?
When I lived in Toyama, anyone who had any kind of disability - physical or mental - went to the same special school.

I had a class of 8. They were all on individual learning plans and I did pair work as much as possible - weaker kids with stronger kids.
Also changed activities about every 10 minutes and often rotated them through, changing the level slightly.
So I'd have 4 different activities. Each pair would do one of them for 10 minutes and then rotate to the next one. I'd start with the highest level students doing the most difficult activity, because it would take them longer and later they were able to help explain it to the least-able kids, who'd be doing it last (coz by then the highest group would have finished all 4 tasks).