Teaching at a High School

I just started teaching at a High School for the first time (been teaching kids here for 6 years). The kids never talk. I ask questions and they just give me blank stares. They are fairly advanced so I know they understand me.

I know it’s probably about face. Not wanting to speak in front of their peers and make a mistake. Any suggestions about how to make them speak in class?

Also. The teachers at the school punish the kids by hitting them on the hands with a stick in front of the class. :fume:

Also. During nap time (amazing that they still have nap time in high school) they make the kids who don’t sleep, stand in the courtyard so all the rest of the school can see them.

Is there no positive re-enforcement in public school here?

Seems rather stone aged to me.

Poor Kids.

Anyone else with similar observations or experiences?

there have been threads on teaching at high schools … i recall lorreta having one …

that said, if your class has no bearing on their grades, you’re unlikely to make much headway. if you can get a few of them into it, teach to them.

best result is to make your class count to their grade, but good luck on that.

High school kids are bad that way. They may have a lot of knowledge, but no speaking experience. I always text their past/present/future tenses and correct their pronunciation on the past tenses. Then I go through the “What did you do yesterday/on the weekend?”/“What are you doing tomorrow/on the weekend?” deal and write the question and their answers on the board and correct them. That’s a start. Get them to ask you and other students the same. Make a rule that they have to ask you a question every class (or that a chosen few do and every gets their turn on whatever days). Make them answer in full sentences. Don’t let them through the classroom door withought saying something to you. Make them go back out and re-enter, etc.

Purely for the sake of being a smartass … if some of the kids are sleeping, and those who are not are standing in the courtyard, who is going to see who? :wink:


Good point

Ive been teaching High school kids for a bit. Not sure about what your talking about because my students are hell-raisers. If I’m not there watching over them for 5 min they are standing on their chairs yelling “kao bei kao bei,” seeing who is best at hip hop danicing, taking photos, swordfighitng with their umbrellas, listening to their MP3 players and signing along with the latest songs…

Its like kindergarden all over again but they aren’t playing with legos!

Quite expressive!

Group goal oriented projects seem to work the best to keep their intrest. Short skits and conversations work well. They really turn off to the lecture style stuff…

It also depends on their age. Their seems to be a big shift in maturity between 15-16 (freshmen) and seniors (17-18). Ive known students that were really hellish during their freshmen year that turned out to be superstar thoughtful students the next year.

Just my two cents…

I teach 2nd year High School. 16 years old. I have one book to work with. I only have them for 100 minutes a week (2- 50 minute classes). Basically I am on a schedule to finish the book by a certain time so I have no time to do anything else.

They are starting to open up a little bit. But still they usually just sit there and stare at me. The girls tell me how cute I am once a day. When I ask questions I still get a blank stare.

It’s annoying.

Teaching highschool is at the bottom of the pit of English teaching jobs in Taiwan. The only advantage is that it’s steady daytime hours, which are hard to find at buxibans.

You might try writing or saying things you know they know are incorrect. Students usually love to correct something that is blatantly wrong. Also, if you have some flexibility in what is discussed, get them to talk about music or something you may have in common. It’s a tough age though. Sometimes it can take a while to thaw out a class of that age.