Teaching Skills

I’ve been pondering this one for a while. Began teaching at my under-resourced, poorly disciplined buxiban 5 months ago. First couple of months helped myself along here and there with aid of, ‘Teaching Children in Asia’ by David Paul. I found it also made teaching more stimulating. Then things got easy and my motivation to prep more than 10-15 minutes let alone upskill pretty much vanished. Now I’m still teaching but bored, and worse, feel I’m wasting my time. Welcome to Taiwan indeed.
Anyone out there care to work through this book with me. Aimed at 7-12 year olds, its a practical book based on getting the kids to think, with chapters on integrating games into the lesson, assessment, lesson planning, class room management and the like. We could meet once a week for an hour or so and email as we felt inclined.
My aim is greater skill and enjoyment in the classroom as well as keeping myself interested by becoming more engaged as a teacher.
I’d like to go at in a relaxed but reasonably diligent manner. A little bit of work is involved but I’m convinced its worth it in terms of interest, added skills and um, not wasting your life spending time in an inept, half hearted fashion. Speaking only for myself, of course.
If this sounds like something that would interest you email me, Dial, at dialnz@hotmail.com, and we can talk some more about it.

I don’t understand your choice of book. Was it mandated or did you choose it?

The idea of getting kids to “think” goes against the traditional Chinese schooling. Kids do massisive amounts of rote memorization, and a lot of class work with very little explanation. Thinking is not encouraged in many aspects of their lives. The idea of being different may even be frightening to some of them.

Make up your own games. Get a sticky ball. Kids never get tired of that and it has a million different uses. It is my experience that these kids need more conversational skills.

Getting kids to “think” is, I hate to say it, a waste of time. As soon as your gone, or the traditional system gets them everything will change. What you taught them will be dilluted by someone else.

Good luck and more power to you if you want to try.

Thanks for your response Amy. I think I need to clarify my post. When I say the book, 'Teaching Children… ’ is about ‘getting kids to think’ I put you wrong. More correctly its about getting the student to feel an internal need/desire to know. In Paul’s words, the nature of the question running through a childs head should be, ‘how do I say that’, or, ‘what does that mean’. So yes it is running counter to the rote learning method. But no, not to the extent of teaching the students to question or be different. Though who knows what we can/do impart, ‘incidentally’. Anyway, how different and original in our thinking are most of us Westeners?
As to the rest of your post, actually I’m not that bad a teacher and no stranger to the wonderworld of the sticky ball. Still, I’m hoping to go beyond ‘101 ways to kick your classe’s butt with a sticky ball’ and earn a bit of brain food for myself as well as some better learning/teaching for the kids.

I apologise Amy, but that statement it far too ironic to go unquoted.

A good start for teachers finding themselves bored is to impose a challenge upon themselves.

Try throwing out the sticky ball, intended both figuratively and literally. If you find yourself using the same technique, game, prop etc., in your lesson then stop using it. Find different approaches. Looking back at the things I

Sorry but getting kids to think is not a waste of time. I got kids to reply with variants to the how are you question and have been pleasantly surprised by the answers. I have been told that chains are a waste of time however I disagree with this when there is not one set answer: unlike how’s the weather?

Try and make it practical. I asked the set questions that were used in the telephone test when marking the roll but have found that in terms of practicallity asking someone how they are is much more sensible.

You can use the same materials as you are using now and make it more interesting.
For example: flashcards.

You are probably holding them up and having kids name them, or even trying to vary it to make it a speed contest. Forget that. Try some of these for some variety using only the flashcards.

Play I Spy (“I spy, with my little eye, an apple”). Hide the cards around the room, and have the kids go around the room looking for it. The first one to find it keeps the card. At the end, have them name off the cards they have as they hand them back to you.

Play Memory - usually with pairs of the same card, but can be done with single cards. just flip them over so the picture or word is face down, name a word and have them try to find it. If they pick the wrong one, then say the name of that object and then let the next person try to find the original target.

Play Going on a Picnic - Give each child a flashcard and have them sit in a circle. The first person says, “I’m going on a picnic/field trip/etc, and I’m bringing…(name flashcard)” The next person says, “I’m going on a picnic/field/trip/etc and I’m bringing…(name flashcard) and Person 1 is bringing…” Have them all do it until it comes to the first person again who names everyone. Then have them turn their cards over and play again from memory.

Play Charades - If you are practicing actions, descriptive words, etc. a good way to review is by giving each student a card (or several if you can so they can have multiple turns). Then have them stand up and act out what is on their card while the others guess. The first one to get it right gets to have a turn.

Play Go Fish - If you have doubles of your flashcards and 6 or fewer students (or groups of 6 or fewer students), play go fish. This one is a personal favorite of my ESL kids…and it practices the yes/no question form “Do you have…” articles, countable/uncountable nouns, and the elusive “I have/don’t have it.”

Don’t feel that your materials are limited. Just think of more creative ways to use them.

Sorry, I teach 4-5 five days a week, 3 hours, with no materials (no wait, there are some). I would never tell them they can’t play any game they want.

I am not suggesting you are a bad teacher, sorry. 'Sticky ball" was just a joke. Although I stick to my statement about the amount of impact you can make on these students, especially in the short amount of time.