Managing Classes – Classic Approach

Creativity Comes First

There is no instruction book that fulfills the requirements demanded by teachers all over the world. To gain efficiency, teachers should take into account and act according to local social and cultural surroundings. Therefore, this teaching course does not limit teachers’ freedom to fine-tune the curriculum to suit their needs, far otherwise.

Creativity is essential and the most welcome. However, there are some proposals that can be applied universally in any classroom. It is highly advisable for English teachers to get acquainted with them.

Make Students Speak

1. Keep in mind the point underlined in the introductory chapter of this book, “Make each of your students pronounce (loudly) at least 30 sentences during a class.” Thus, avoid teaching students by giving wise lectures. Instead, make them accept language habits by pronouncing sentences and checking their correctness in the real world. The latter point indicates the key role of a teacher. He or she is appointed to check the validity of schemata students apply and respond with negative feedback if necessary.

Yet, first and foremost, the teacher should be an amiable person students are eager to talk to about anything.

2. Make students accept casual approach to their classes. In other words, encourage them to speak in spite of mistakes they make. For example, if you, as a teacher, catch yourself of making one (what, I believe, happens to anyone), point it out without restrain with a remark like this one, “You see, everyone makes mistakes. The only difference between you and me is that I make them far less than you do. That is why you sacrifice your fee and how I earn my bread and cheese!” The focus is on encouraging students to speak English in comfortable a manner. Briefly, during the course of the class, let them do anything they want – but in English! For that purpose, each of the lessons ends with a list of questions teachers should use to initiate conversation.

3. Don’t waste time explaining the context and rules regarding a particular pattern. Make your explanations as brief as possible – use no more than a couple of sentences. Then, quickly proceed to related exercises. If students are not able to get through an exercise smoothly, make them do it again.

4. Do not skip over exercises and strictly respect their order.

5. In summary, instead of putting an emphasis on the explanatory aspect of teaching English grammar rules, let students accept language habits by doing exercises repetitively.

6. Make students do homework assignments regularly.

Have Students Forget about Their Native Language

Many of English teachers do their job in non-English speaking countries. For that reason, the prohibition of students’ native language during English classes is essential.

The perfect course would be the one completed without pronouncing a single word of students’ native language. Since the aim is merely unachievable,the best with what teachers can come up is to labor relentlessly to get closer to it. In that view, teachers must prohibit the translation of of English to students’ native language.

Thus, you, as a teacher, give no more than basic explanations about new words/expressions just to help students producing a rough mental presentation of the text.

Logic Precedes Memory

Your students are information-processing machines. They have capacity to memorize and act intelligently. A good teacher puts an emphasis at the latter point. The teacher has to boost students’ ability to apply simple rules in complex situations. That is, to make students act on the base of the patterns (schemata) already proved successful in the real world.

In other words, make your students well acquainted with syntax rules leaving them to enrich their vocabulary according to their needs.

Homework Assignments

Homework assignments correspond to on-line review of the exercises done orally during classes. The teacher follows students’ progress closely and intervenes if necessary. Although the curriculum does not embrace the development of writing skills, it does not depreciate the importance of doing homework assignments regularly.

Size of Groups

The curriculum promotes the work with groups made of four or eight students.

A small group (Picture 1) enables teachers to communicate with students in a relaxed manner and easily fulfills the requirement of making them pronounce at least 30 sentences/a class.

Unfortunately, as any other, this line of human activity also requires financial justification. Since the economic situation in developing countries constrains schools to charge students as less as possible, the work with groups of eight (or even more) students seems inevitable, see Pictures 2-3 on the facing page. If so, the teacher tackles the problem differently.

The application of the teaching curriculum begins with Stage A (Picture 2).

As a teacher, you communicate with all students in order to select two of them who do better than the others. Let the process last not more than a class or two. Having selected “assisting teachers” (Picture 3), split the group of remaining six students into two and charge newly appointing teachers with the groups of three students. Again, explain briefly and instruct efficiently. Demonstrate the course of an exercise by doing it with the assisting teachers while making other students follow the demonstration carefully. Then, allow the assisting teachers to keep on doing exercises by themselves. This approach gives you freedom to call on one group or another and engage if necessary. Sometimes, you take over the post of one of the assisting teachers. Once happy with the performance of the groups, you release stop signal and proceed to the next exercise.  The same principle is applicable to the group of twelve students, what is to be the upper limit. Briefly, as the group gets larger the quality of teaching runs down sharply. Again, this course does its best with the groups of four/eight students. Although it may still yield some success, the work with a group of 12 students is possible though not recommended.

Intensity of the Course

On the base of the information given in the outer corner of the lessons’ headers:

Day 1st, Day 2nd, Day 3rd, Day 4th … ,

you conclude the course can be completed within 30 days. It stands for true, yet the application of such a hyper-intensive learning pace requires the employment of a faculty of professional teachers who work on the base of all-day-activities. The demand for such type of courses is not common in non-English speaking countries. Nevertheless, teachers should be ready to carry it out upon request.

(By the way, the appearance of a new teacher always affects students’ motivation positively. So, as number of teachers increases the performance of the course gets better.)

Teaching English in non-English speaking countries enforces a slower learning pace. The intensity may vary from a couple of classes a day to two classes a week, which is the bottom limit of the intensity of the course. It is definitely up to teachers and students to decide the right one. As a referent figure, it should be of use to indicate that, with the intensity of two classes a week, the course completion takes about three years.