Don't teach the book

A very simple idea that is often missed by many people…

Don’t teach the book, teach the skills.

So simple that it’s painful.

[quote=“Bassman”]A very simple idea that is often missed by many people…

Don’t teach the book, teach the skills.

So simple that it’s painful.[/quote]
Unfortunately, this requires preparing - and if my boss won’t pay for preparation, or even acknowledge that I’m doing it, then I might end up just teaching the book. After all, I’ve never yet gone to a Chinese class where the teacher prepared and taught the skills rather than just going through the book. That’s all they expect, so why do more?

I’ll be the asshole here then. I would say that people teach the book because they can’t teach the skills. Insert your own views on why that is.

The other thing is, the simple things are often the hardest to do (and achieve). To excel requires mastery of the simple, the basics, the foundation and a dedication to their craft. How many people actually truly have that (in whatever profession they’ve chosen)? That’s what separates the men from the boys; the women from the girls…

Maybe because the effort you put into your job reflects who you are as a person. Moreover, using the failures of others as an excuse for your own failures is no excuse at all. If you don’t like the conditions of your employment and you feel they are an obstacle to good performance then you should remove yourself from the position rather than willfully continuing to provide a shoddy product. But hey that’s just me.

I don’t teach totally from the book. I teach the concepts in it, but I use different examples. I also try as much as possible to provide alternate views of the material from what is provided in the book. (I know none of this is revolutionary.) However, I do teach from the book because my students have the book and will of course be using it, so they should be clear on what the book has to say about things.

I write the book. :smiley:

Skills it is. I teach essentially the same skills in each class. Modifying them as needed.

Rules:
You will read. You will understand what you read. You will answer my questions correctly.

Any book is a guideline for teachers. Better books are more flexible to handle different teachers and teaching styles. To “teach the book” only seems pretty boring to me.

Grasshoppers,

Use the book to teach the skills.

Repeat after me… “It’s not about the book. It’s about the skills”.

I wouldn’t say to throw away the book.

BTW, the poster that said he writes the books has very nice books and they are about skills.

Skills require vocabulary. The vocabulary is in the book. So you can’t just throw the book away. That’s silly.

Or better yet, teach the kids.

Grasshopper,

I did not say anything about throwing the book away. Bassman says, “read the thread carefully and look for what is being said”.

The book is a tool to be used to teach the skills. This is the path of enlightenment. Many are blind to the simple truth. Focus on the “force” that is in the skills and focus on that which is beyond what you see (the book).

Ah, I have moved into a kind of teaching Zen. :rainbow:

Or better yet, teach the kids.[/quote]

Almost there grasshopper… teach the kids the skills. :rainbow:

Here’s a little plug for Joy School. They have teacher’s guides that tell you exactly what to do. They have lots activities to teach the kids the skills. Nowhere in the Teachers Guide does it say, “Tell the kids to open to page 5 and make them read”.

Ah, to be able to teach the children the skills! Half the time when I try to teach the skills TA’s who insist I just teach the book rat me out to administrators who also insist I teach the book. :fume:

They’re line, “after you finish teaching all 5 books (and the children have copied them into their notebooks) you can add things.”

But this will change. :smiley:

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Apple… a p p l e apple.

Memorise that, spell it,… test it … forget.

In schools like you mention there are very little skills actually taught. Really taught. Test, test, test. Memorise.

Telling you what to do doesn’t mean they’re telling you to do the correct things. Most teacher manuals are not the best.

Kids that come to my school after completing (even level 8) of that school usually know nothing of substance at all. It’s compartmental learning. Pigeon holed students.

Fluff, fluff, and more fluff.

By “activities” you really mean “games” and from my experience at Joy schools, they’re all about “Teacher, play game!” The kids only learn maybe two sentence patterns and six new vocab words a week. And half of the “new” sentence patterns are…well, let me give an example from Joy Book 3:

Week 1: “I like ____”

Week 2: “He/She likes ____”

Week 3: “Do you like ____ ?” (See, it’s different because they’re learning how to ask it as a question, not as a statement)

I am not exagerrating. The learning pace really is that slow at Joy.

Teach the skils yes. But just what are those skills? For me the primary skill (I teach convo to adults) is a capacity to aquire and utilize the language in conditions of native speaker immersion. Indeed, I’d argue this is circular and self-reinforcing - from immersion comes a capacity to aquire and utilize, and so on in a virtuous circle.

From the limited engagement I’ve had with others in this forum, however, that seems to be a contested skill, in fact probably more along the lines of a ‘teaching proposition’ than a skill per se. Only once had a complaint about my approach though - and that was from a upper-level kindy teacher who couldn’t get her head around the idea that I thought grammar tuition was a waste of everyone’s time. Christ knows what she was teaching those poor bored kids in her own buxiban.

Yellow and Neon - way too hard on Bababa. He/she was just being honest. Everyone knows teaching English here can often be a nasty balance between professional integrity and the bastardly miserness of your employer.

[quote=“mod lang”]By “activities” you really mean “games” and from my experience at Joy schools, they’re all about “Teacher, play game!” The kids only learn maybe two sentence patterns and six new vocab words a week. And half of the “new” sentence patterns are…well, let me give an example from Joy Book 3:

Week 1: “I like ____”

Week 2: “He/She likes ____”

Week 3: “Do you like ____ ?” (See, it’s different because they’re learning how to ask it as a question, not as a statement)

I am not exagerrating. The learning pace really is that slow at Joy.[/quote]

Actually, I don’t mean games. I mean activity sheets.

Book THREE!!! :noway:

Good activity sheets make a big difference. See, more skills.

Let me go on a little further to explain that this threads title in deliberate in being extreme in one direction. I want to provoke every teacher that reads this thread to think.

[quote=“bababa”][quote=“Bassman”]A very simple idea that is often missed by many people…

Don’t teach the book, teach the skills.

So simple that it’s painful.[/quote]
Unfortunately, this requires preparing - and if my boss won’t pay for preparation, or even acknowledge that I’m doing it, then I might end up just teaching the book. After all, I’ve never yet gone to a Chinese class where the teacher prepared and taught the skills rather than just going through the book. That’s all they expect, so why do more?[/quote]

Preparation is part of the job of being a teacher. Schedules may be prepared ahead of time but the responsiblity of teaching inevitably falls on the teacher.

I, too, have been Chinese classes, where the teacher clearly didn’t prepare. That’s no excuse. You either take your job seriously or you don’t.

I don’t slack off simply because I see others doing so. Your excuse sucks.

Why I feel the need to defend bababa is beyond me, but anyway…

The real question is not whether you ‘slaken off,’ but whether you work to full potential here in Taiwan. If you own your own buxiban, perhaps, but if you don’t, probably not. A hell of a lot of bosses here, perhaps most, treat their teaching staff with little more respect than cab drivers, and many students aren’t much better. In this environment it’s extremely hard to be professional. If I had a NT$1 for every time someone offered me payment ‘under the table here’ for services rendered I’d be a rich man indeed. My answer these days to such sleezy approaches is simple - ‘Can I have your shenfenzheng number? I’ll need to talk to the CLA about this…’

But we’re both off topic here wipt - what skills do you teach your students?

The ability to communicate in English.

That is a skill here, isn’t it?