Teaching English from a Phrase Book

Last year, when I was teaching my grade 6 class, my school handed me a phrase book, and told me that it would be my “materials” for that semester. They told me that I had to teach, in the order that they appeared in the book, 15 phrases per 90-minute class in addition to a grammar worksheet, leaving about 50 minutes for the phrase book. When I asked why they wouldn’t use a book that provided any skills-based activities, I was told that “[the parents] want more new words, more phrases…” and apparently no emphasis on practice, whether it be receptive or productive skills-based.

Now, I just remember being frustrated by having to use this crappy book. I couldn’t think of a way to make effective use of the book with so many phrases in such a small time-frame. I think the book was chosen because it was cheap, but I would love any input on how I could make use of a phrase book withing the parameters set by my school. They say they are getting a new book, but haven’t told me what it is yet.

Thanks in advance for any ideas…

This is similar to my current situation. I have to teach a hell of a lot more words and phrases than they’ll ever remember. I can’t eliminate any, but I gloss over the more useless vocabulary (we have plenty of that), and try to get as many repetitions of useful things in as I can. I also try to sneak in vocabulary from recent classes wherever I can while I explain things.

I don’t know if this is the best choice though, since they don’t really care about learning English. They care about writing down as many things as possible and never opening their mouths. If I say something isn’t useful or it’s a vocab word nobody EVER uses (we have plenty of these) or even that they’ve used it incorrectly in the material (several times per week, if not per class), they seem to think that I’m the one with the problem.

I only have a few converts that will do what I ask them to or at least act like I’m not some moron that doesn’t know anything. Everyone else insists on fighting the teacher. Even most of my best students who I have somewhat of a personal relationship with just tell me I’m wrong when I give them advice on how to improve. They don’t really improve. Can’t change their minds though.

Sometimes just give them what they want. Give them useless vocab, but trick them into learning a little bit by trying to structure your explanations to give them some decent input.

[quote=“TaiwanVisitor12321”]This is similar to my current situation. I have to teach a hell of a lot more words and phrases than they’ll ever remember. I can’t eliminate any, but I gloss over the more useless vocabulary (we have plenty of that), and try to get as many repetitions of useful things in as I can. I also try to sneak in vocabulary from recent classes wherever I can while I explain things.

I don’t know if this is the best choice though, since they don’t really care about learning English. They care about writing down as many things as possible and never opening their mouths. If I say something isn’t useful or it’s a vocab word nobody EVER uses (we have plenty of these) or even that they’ve used it incorrectly in the material (several times per week, if not per class), they seem to think that I’m the one with the problem.

I only have a few converts that will do what I ask them to or at least act like I’m not some moron that doesn’t know anything. Everyone else insists on fighting the teacher. Even most of my best students who I have somewhat of a personal relationship with just tell me I’m wrong when I give them advice on how to improve. They don’t really improve. Can’t change their minds though.

Sometimes just give them what they want. Give them useless vocab, but trick them into learning a little bit by trying to structure your explanations to give them some decent input.[/quote]

Thanks for the suggestions, but with the amount of time I have per item of vocabulary, phrase or idiom, I am not sure that I would have the time. I will try it if I am stuck with the same kind of book when I get back from my trip. I am looking for a new job anyways. I am doing some research into HFRBs and teaching adults. I am getting sick of how my current school asks me to teach. It used to be great, but now they have me hopping between classes within the same ninety minute period, and it just destroys any chance I have to e creative. That 50 minutes I have for the phrases… I forgot to say that the Chinese teacher uses some of that for spelling tests, leaving me with about 35 minutes. These poor kids have about 60 items of vocabulary every week from all their classes combined. Most of their time is focused on vocabulary.