Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 70

Thread: Examples of successful classes

  1. #1

    Default Examples of successful classes

    Hello, everyone

    I'm interested in hearing from my peers and seniors, you all, about how a successful team-teaching, or ALT-led class is run.
    Please respond with, best case, examples or, that failing, ideal hypotheticals we can discuss at length hopefully?

    The following is just detail and background. Please skip it, if you like.

    After a year and half as an ALT teaching at 4 SHSs, I feel like my lessons are becoming progressively worse each week, up to the point that I currently feel I've failed miserably at this job.
    Using Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas as the listening section in a lesson is a new low for me and I sense the bottom is close.

    I'm not looking for pick-me-ups or excuses or easy ways out; I just feel like some constructive input and examples of good team-teaching classes would help greatly to provide a new a base for future lessons. I'm not out to steal your lessons plans, either! I'd just like to pick your brains on this. ALL OF THE BRAINS!

    The current formula, as requested by my supervisors (which usually consists of PowerPoint, worksheet and some kind of "fun" activity to practice the content if time permits), is not working - many students sleep, talk amongst themselves, just, in general, don't pay attention and by the time the "fun" activity swings by only a few seem to still be interested.
    And, even though I do do this on occasion, I'm really against playing a game for the whole lesson, although, they are sometimes great supplements to learning - Jeopardy works really well as part of a multi-topic review lesson, for instance.

    Most of the schools I teach at (3/4) are labelled as "low-level" which I feel is disgustingly unfair to the students, but that's a topic for another thread entirely, and something way out of my control.
    Having said that, though, my JTEs usually request lessons which are mostly vocabulary based, and while I might be teaching the students a few new words, I don't feel like that's enough, because they haven't been taught how to properly formulate their own sentences.
    So it's kinda like giving bits of an assemble-it-yourself deck chair sans instruction manual to someone who doesn't know how to use a drill, glue or a screwdriver.
    They can identify all the pieces of wood and plastic and screws but can't put it all to together.

    The lessons where I have been ambitious and proactive and tried to teach a useful grammar point to enable students to create authentic content, have all hit far below the mark, and that's one of the things I'm hoping to address.
    Perhaps I'm just being way too difficult and unrealistic here? Maybe I should actually be happy with this... I dunno...

    ALT teaching and teaching a foreign language to students in Japan are new to me, but I taught EFL to foreign students back home for 2 years and had far greater success with that than I am at the moment.

    I'd appreciate all your input and thoughts on this.
    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but... bro. If you're at this point after a year and a half...
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    You mean that I've only just started using All I want for Christmas?

    But, seriously now, do you mean that I'm a bit late to the party with trying to fix it?
    If yes, then lemme say this: I've been trying to fix it for a long time now and felt very early on that my decision to re-contract was probably not the wisest one, but despite my efforts between then and now, things have just gotten worse and it's to the extent now that I'm actively seeking to remedy it by going beyond the usual group of ALTs I normally talk to about this stuff.

    Or do you mean that I'm a bit early?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Don't worry, even if you were doing significantly better lessons than you are now you still wouldn't be making any real difference.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Lolololololol

    Tah! But, Optimism... I miss it.... You know?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Also, I have this Pinocchio-like ambition of becoming a proper teacher soon, so honestly looking to improve.

    I wanna be a real teacher, I wanna be a real teacher, I wanna be a real teacher

  7. #7

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Master of The Universe :D View Post
    Also, I have this Pinocchio-like ambition of becoming a proper teacher soon, so honestly looking to improve.

    I wanna be a real teacher, I wanna be a real teacher, I wanna be a real teacher
    Go home.

    It's entirely possible to be a more effective ALT, but at the end of the day it won't make much of a difference in Japanese schools. The fundamental truth is that this education system is not geared towards teaching English, it's geared towards teaching students to endure endless repetition of straightforward, thoughtless tasks ad infinitum, which prepares them for their professional careers.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Haha!

    Thank you! I totally agree with you about the system. And for the record I'm not recontracting for a 3rd year, but I'd really like to still try and do my best, if not better, for the remainder of my contract.

  9. #9
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Puerto Rico
    Posts
    4,749

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    If you aren't going to recontract, then you might as well enjoy it. Experiment in class, help those that have an active interest and etc.

    No reason to make yourself miserable for the remainder of your stay.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Thanks, Zolrak!
    I have been experimenting when I get the chance, and will definitely continue. I was hoping people could share some success stories and maybe those of us who've been having a difficult time with it could pick up some tips.

    It's difficult to believe that this is as good as gets.

    Anyway, thank you all for your replies, it seems I've wasted your time.

  11. #11
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A depressingly cold place...
    Posts
    10,067

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Hey, another trained esl teacher here. There's nothing wrong with Mariah if it's a appropriately designed listening task. Nothing at all. That being said, I'm gonna agree with everyone else, if you're out in August, fuck it, and do whatever you need for your next job rather than this one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  12. #12
    Constant Fu*kup sharpinthefang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Kyushu
    Posts
    2,151

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    For example, instead of writing lesson plans that are never going to used, use the time to brush up your CV and write cover letters.
    Accepted with Interac on 13th May 2014
    Upgraded with JET on 7th October 2014...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_Simmons View Post
    shit, i've realize that i picked the wrong time to reply directly the thread's original question...

  13. #13
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Had you ever taught regular students before, rather than just ESL students? ESL students back home tend to be very motivated, driven students. These kids are just regular kids; they don't have nearly as much of an incentive to work hard in English classes. It's not like their grade is going to matter--especially where your lessons are concerned. That's just part of being an ALT.

    I second Giz' assessment about using a Mariah Carey song. If it fits the lesson, it'll be fine. If you're expecting the kids to be interested in it because it's Mariah Carey, though... lol.

    Ambition is great, but it's important to stay grounded in reality, too, otherwise you're going to end up... well, where you are now. Repeated flops resulting from over-ambitious lessons are going to be soul-crushing for you and academically damaging for the students.

    Refocus your lessons a bit--ditching the Powerpoint would probably help (ALTs have such a boner for Powerpoint, but 99 times out of 100, it's still just a boring, passive lecture that the kids will ignore). Drop the kids into the activity as soon as you can. You seem to be opposed to this, yet you acknowledge that the "game" lessons are more successful, and that the kids are turned off by the Powerpoint and worksheet parts of your lesson plans. A game or fun activity can be just as instructive (if not moreso) if it is properly constructed with effective learning goals in mind. The kids get enough boring lectures and worksheets from their JTEs when you aren't there, trust me.

    I have a visit school that sounds a lot like the schools you're describing. I started out hating it; now I'm not sure that I don't like it more than my base school. The learning goals are clearer and more cohesive, I have a lot more freedom where curriculum is concerned, and if I do my job right, the kids enjoy and even get a bit out of my lessons.

    I guess I'm saying that I think you ought to reassess what's actually happening here. The tried-and-true formula of Powerpoint, worksheet, and lecture is failing miserably. Full-lesson games work well, but you're hesitant. Don't be. It's more work to plan a relevant, instructive game that's still fun (especially for an entire class period), but it's also more worthwhile, and you get better at it the more you do it.

    If you aren't staying another year, though, don't get too worked up about any of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  14. #14
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Somewhere deathly quiet
    Posts
    4,897

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Powerpoint has the miraculous ability to send people of any age and gender into a soporific stupor. Flee from powerpoint like it's a plague, use the board and some goddamn chalk. Or pens, if you've been cursed by modernity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    I hear you about PowerPoint's lethargy inducing skills, but often I hit brick wall of teachers' block with how I should present material I'm tasked with. And my JTEs seem to have the boner for presentations.

    Here's an example - I was asked to show the differences between Christmas from my home country (which is Southern Hem) and the 'regular', Northern hemisphere Christmas.

    All I could think up was using pictures to show the students these differences and for that - PP.

    How else could I have gone about that?

  16. #16
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Quote Originally Posted by SomePeopleJustSaySnow View Post
    Powerpoint has the miraculous ability to send people of any age and gender into a soporific stupor.
    It's weird how this works. Its effects are so obvious--any pptx is sure to be ignored by all but the most diligent of audience members, yet so many people seem to think it is the greatest way to teach/speak/whatever. It can be useful and can help a lecture, but too many people seem to view it as some sort of cure for uninteresting content. Unless your presentation features quite a few slides featuring dicks, tits, and asses, it's probably not going to motivate audience attention in any significant way.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  17. #17
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    日本
    Posts
    18,421

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Master of The Universe :D View Post
    I hear you about PowerPoint's lethargy inducing skills, but often I hit brick wall of teachers' block with how I should present material I'm tasked with. And my JTEs seem to have the boner for presentations.

    Here's an example - I was asked to show the differences between Christmas from my home country (which is Southern Hem) and the 'regular', Northern hemisphere Christmas.

    All I could think up was using pictures to show the students these differences and for that - PP.

    How else could I have gone about that?
    Costumes, acting, singing, gaijin monkeying, cards, craft activities, sh*t like that.

    Imagine that your laptop inexplicably catches on fire right before you give the presentation. What will you do? Will your lesson be boring as sh*t without the pictures? If so, it would've been boring as sh*t anyway, only there would have been boring pictures to accompany it, and the kids wouldn't GAF.

    And of course JTEs love pptx. Japan is a decade behind the rest of the world where tech is concerned; they've just learned about Powerpoint and think it's the bees knees/totally rad. They probably view a class in which a boring lecture is given, accompanied by boring pictures, text, and a plethora of different slide-transition animations, each more ridiculous than the last, in which fifty percent of the students are asleep, thirty percent are reading manga in the back, ten percent are texting on their phones, five percent are probably masturbating, and five percent are diligently taking notes and studying as an incredibly successful lesson.

    Start with the learning goal. What do you want kids to be able to do at the end of the lesson that they couldn't do before it?
    Last edited by word; December 12th, 2014 at 10:11. Reason: Derp.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Oh god... the first few lessons I did I used powerpoint instead of printing off A3 size cards so a class of 35 students could all see them. Just 'What's this/who's this?' (in the vein of "Name that pokemon." Worked great the first time round. Second time for review, and the students were snoring. Powerpoint has its uses, but its pretty much one and done - as the teacher is tied to a laptop and a screen.

    Although I've had success with using audio (making the students sing fairly recent/popular songs in English.) Which gives them an extra karaoke skill in the future. But those lessons are usually reserved for emergency fill in. Just doing "listening" exercises is mindnumbingly boring for the students who can't understand spoken English, much less English in songs.

  19. #19
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Somewhere deathly quiet
    Posts
    4,897

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Master of The Universe :D View Post
    Here's an example - I was asked to show the differences between Christmas from my home country (which is Southern Hem) and the 'regular', Northern hemisphere Christmas.

    All I could think up was using pictures to show the students these differences and for that - PP.

    How else could I have gone about that?
    Kids don't care about presentations, kids (in general) learn a lot more by actually engaging with subject matter. So if they don't want to speak, get them to draw - devote one side of the board to one type of christmas, one to the other. Then start by asking them to draw a christmas food - get a single student up, they can draw a picture of KFC, and then you can draw on your side a picture of a turkey, with baked potatoes and whatever else it is people eat at christmas. These pictures are different - and the kids are going to look at the picture their friend drew, and by extension they'll notice the difference in yours. Boom, an opening into actually maybe making them learn something.

    Show a man a picture of how to fish and he'll stare at it blankly. get the man to draw a picture of how to fish and you can at least tell him that he's casting the line wrong.

    Or something.

    I have flat-out refused to do anything that involves powerpoint in my lessons, and just draw (or get the kids to draw) instead. You don't have to make it masterpiece theatre levels of awesome, just more interesting than a photograph.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

  20. #20
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    A depressingly cold place...
    Posts
    10,067

    Default Re: Examples of successful classes

    Or you could tell the teacher to stuff it on the ALT must show them the world (this isn't Aladdin, don't need some scruffy upstart to show the kids where the good shit is), and actually just teach the class back on target. If there is no target, then start suggesting projects and activities which require multiple classes to implement and complete where THEY go and research this shit and present it.

    (Frankly, sounds like your teachers just expect you to be the entertainment and you've fallen into the trap).

    Also, I despise full lesson games. I just won't do it. As soon as I stopped trying to listen to their demands on shit my performance skyrocketed, and so did student involvement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •