Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

  1. #1
    Bilbo's Cloak of Geekery goloons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    +1 to smiting
    Posts
    5,529

    Default Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    Every week, I have to teach a two-hour-long eikaiwa class for adults. It's really, really difficult because of the varying levels and ages. Ages range from young mothers in their late twenties to a few obachan I'm quite surprised are still living. Two people are essentially fluent, a few are the equivalent of mediocre JHS ichinensei, there's the preschooler, and then there's everything in between. I don't know what to teach or how to make it interesting for them!

    So far, we've done lessons on pronunciation/phonics and Halloween, watched a movie, talked about some random topics like my state and musical theatre (by their request), etc. I think they find the topics interesting, but I'm not sure they're learning anything or actually find the style of teaching to be interesting. I have another lesson tonight, and I still have no idea what I'm going to teach. Any ideas for lesson plans, topics, games that both young and old and fluent and illiterate can play, etc.? I'm truly at a loss.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kagoshima-ken
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    Here's what I've been doing in my eikaiwa class.
    They all seem pretty attentive but reluctant to respond to open ended questions, and I didn't want to scare any of them off by aggressively calling on them, so I tried doing a group logic puzzle so they could practice English telling me what to write on the board at their own pace, and it has the added benefit of being difficult even in English, so it's not boring for me, either. (^_^)
    Here's the site where I got the logic puzzles. http://pages.prodigy.net/spencejk/yearlylps.html
    I always rewrite them so the English is easier, but I keep the logic challenge the same. I just draw a big grid/table thing on the chalkboard, pass out printouts of the puzzle, and ask them to tell me where to draw Xs and Os. When they tell me to draw something, I always ask why and have them explain in English, something like, "Professor Plum killed Mr. Body in the study, and the murderer in the study used the lead pipe, so that means Professor Plum used the lead pipe." ....it rarely comes out as neatly as that, but I think it helps emphasize communication over perfect grammar, and when I asked the class, they voted unanimously against actually studying grammar. They just wanted conversation practice. The other nice thing is that they can all participate no matter how long it takes them decipher the clues, because the logic part slows down the advanced English speakers.
    Unfortunately, I have one student who didn't come out of the Japanese school system and so doesn't even understand basic greetings yet. I don't know what to do with her. Advice?

  3. #3
    Али Димаев AliDimayev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    We all have a reponsibility to continue jihad.
    Posts
    16,604

    Default Re: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    Where did she come from?

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kagoshima-ken
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    China...... Which is cool except that means her English background is, as far as I can tell, nonexistent.

  5. #5
    Member Bibyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    Mine is like that too, and i worry that im not really teaching them anything. we start class by having each person talk about their weekends (and others would insert their comments, etc.) and by the time we get through with everyone, class is finished. but sometimes i tell myself that this is a conversation class afterall, and their goal is to try to converse in english in a natural environment.

    what i do during our conversations, however, is write down any words or phrases (on the board) that they don't understand. for example, one of my students LOVES to bake. She was telling me about her weekend and how she got together with other bread lovers from different places and went to many different bakeries. So i commented that she seems very passionate about baking. Then everyone looked confused and said, "passionate...?" and thats when I started to write it down on the board and explain it to them, giving them some example sentences. Then I asked each student "what are you passionate about? / What is your passion?"

    Thats how ive been doing it so far...but im still learning and am open to any other ideas/suggestions on how to make this better.

  6. #6
    Bilbo's Cloak of Geekery goloons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    +1 to smiting
    Posts
    5,529

    Default

    I tried the logic puzzle idea, and, unfortunately, they didn't really like it. They eventually managed it, but they were exhausted and were ready to try something else. It's too bad, too, because I love logic puzzles and was really excited about the idea. Thanks anyway.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    Anyone have any other ideas for topics of conversation? I was worried I'm not really teaching them anything either, but when I tried to actually do some real teaching once it didn't go over that well. I asked the first 2 weeks what they want me to do, and was told "speak conversational English." So that's what we do. Sometimes we get on a roll and as Bibyen said it can take up the full hour. Other times I'm sitting there in agony trying to guide the conversation but it goes nowhere.

    We've gone through the standard conversations about what I want to do in Japan, if I can eat raw fish, and all that. They've all discussed their families and hobbies enough.

    I thought it would be good to just discuss world news or current events, but there's maybe 2 out of the 10 that can handle that. Anything that has worked particularly well for you guys?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Adult Eikaiwa Classes

    Patjs: just an idea, but consider props. Either things in the room, or bring some stuff in.

  9. #9
    Senior Member reed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    152

    Default

    I taught eikaiwa to adults for two solid years where every night was two or three back-to-back 90 minute lessons from about 5:30 pm to 10 pm. Consistently I found that by layout out the lesson beforehand verbally, including periods where I will ask them questions, where I will do drills and why it was worth learning, we all were able to relax and flow through the lesson -- often with not enough time to finish everything, so the class pace gradually got faster and the energy stayed high for longer.

    For ninety minute lessons and up, go in ready to teach a hardcore forty-five minute lesson, and then take a break and finish the course with ten-minute activities (which may be cut short or go long as interest permits), and try to save free talk for the latter part of class rather than by falling into that familiar trap right away -- "soooo, how are you?" Adults who show up for the free talk will be more engaged throughout the class since they know "their favorite part" is coming rather than already finished, and you'll also appeal to the personalities who like to show up mid-class (which they do anyway). Solid forty-five to those who show up on time, leaves a good winddown period later, accomodates late arrivals and uses their new energy to transition into other things as the class begins to "drag". And you'll get more up-front interest in any subject, especially if the class regularly takes a pattern of 45-break-10-10-10 with that first forty-five dedicated to pragmatic skills.

    I have a few go-to subjects which will eat up 45-50 minutes in a hurry without being too fast or too slow, and can be adapted to suit the first half of a long class, or help make the second half more breezy and fun. They are:

    Layton Puzzles -- Taken from the Professor Layton DS game series, in which I borrow wholesale from the English versions of these games. They are always brief, evoke thought without forcing conversation, and have the added bonus of being current and known to several adults. I also like to keep up with the IQ Supli TV show, games and website. Does NOT lead into conversation, and should not be depended on for this.

    Personality Tests -- Classic conversation topic. I go into this with basic questions about dating culture in Japan, show off a bit of my knowledge, sometimes encourage others to speak up on their experience or knowledge of horoscopy and blood types and other conventional ways of "judging" personality, then I give out some blank paper and tell them we're going to do a Personality Test developed in English for Americans. You can pull any number of good interactive ones from a website, but the one that goes over best is always the house-tree-lake-mountain-sun drawing. I set them up with half the information they need -- "we're going to draw five things" -- and by doing an example on the board, ask them to draw the house, the sun, etc. After we're done we briefly talk about what it could mean, then match up the five things to their "meanings": mother, father, soulmate/lover, future, confidence. You can adapt this to just about anything. Over time I've warped it so much that I no longer recall what the five things were, or what they represent. Highly modifiable topic.

    Phrasal verbs -- If it's just for fun, there are huge numbers of interesting phrasal verbs that can be introduced in any volume (tailored to student abilities, etc). I mostly focus on common verbs which may lead to phrasal verbs appearing in textbooks or TOEIC tests. Verbs like "get", "make", "work", "set", "hang", "set"... And I like to explain to students that there is a kind of method to the madness by showing them many phrasal verbs follow the on-off, up-down, in-out pattern, although not all get used. Could talk for ages on this. Love following it up with a worksheet or some reading that includes some of the ones introduced.
    Last edited by reed; December 10th, 2008 at 08:47.

Posting Permissions

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