I’m getting ready to pick up 3 privates, but have never had privates before. I know that I will have to assess their ability and get their feedback on what they want, but I was wondering what kind of a curriculum do you all have set up for your privates. I’ll have 3 26-27 year old females, for your information. I’m thinking about conversational english with different topics every week where I come up w/ vocabulary for them. Also, I’ve got access to magazines that teach English which I think I’ll use a bit. Any advice? Thanks.
A good conversation book is Chat Room by John Ross published through Lai Lai bookstore.
When I teach adult privates, I expect them to know what they want to learn and have some idea of their capabilities and expectations. To that end, I prefer that they have their own books and materials. Or, I can go with them to stores to recommend materials, if need be. Bringing topics etc sounds like a good idea to me. Still, consider asking them to acquire some materials on their own.
I’d expect them to quit after a couple of weeks. They’ll want you to ‘make their English better’ without telling you exactly what they want. The best advice I can give is to have a plan. ‘Conversational English’ runs dry pretty quickly without any real goals in mind.
Let them know that you expect them to prepare by reading before each class. That ought to scare them off and then you’ll be looking at finding new privates.
Advice about new privates: have a plan.
Follow a textbook.
You don’t have to get them to buy it, you don’t have to bring it to class, but you - the teacher - need it.
That will give you the progression a private needs, it tells you what grammar and vocabulary to teach next and uses all prelearnt stuff in proceeding units. Without a textbook you will run out of things to teach, forget what you’ve already taught and start going off in tangents.
Spend the fist 1 or 2 classes assessing level, then try a couple of books til the student is happy.
And keep a file on what you’ve done in each class and review the previous lessons grammar and vocabulary at the start of each class.
Wang has excellent points, if you do as he says, they may stay with you for a while. Many teachers approach privates as easy money but, if you want to keep them, preparation will make the difference.
Never forget that you are teaching people first and the language second. Look them in the eye. Be interested in their lives. If they start getting bored change the subject or throw a ball at them. Get them moving around in an animated and theatrical fashion so as to lend a kenetic aspect to their language learning experience. Teach songs. If you have to teach grammar, do it twice, once in English and then again in Mandarin. Tell them to bring a tape recorder, The Oxford English Chinese Dictionary and a vocabulary notebook to class. Record the entire class and ask them to listen to it at least once before the next class. Find out what they are interested in and talk to them about that until there is nothing else to say. If they aren’t interested in anything ask them to watch movies and tell you about those. Teach them the vocab they need to talk about film. Learn that same vocab in Mandarin yourself. Correct their mistakes gently. Make sure they have a good reference grammar. Be warm, encouraging, funny and interested in what you are doing. Remember that learning English is difficult so you need to stay clear and focused for them. Don’t ramble too much. Make sure that whatever you do is cross referenced to the notebook, the dictionary, the DVD and the tape. People need to experience things in a variety of contexts to really get it and they also need lots of good old fashioned review and repetition. At the end of the class review the most important material. Try to work that same material into the next class.
I have been teching privates for a looong time and that is about what I do with intermediate level students at least. Beginners are rather a different can of worms.