Tips for writing class 100+ students


I’m looking for general tips or advice for teaching writing to such a large group. There is virtually no interaction between students and teacher and the classes are like three-hour lectures.

I would appreciate any comments on how to handle this situation.

My god! What a nightmare scenario. I hope you don’t have to check their work!

I have a friend who used to do this all the time. He even had his own book that the students had to buy, in which he basically walked them through a formula for writing a good composition. It was geared totally towards passing a test, and I think I still have a copy somewhere.

Of course, you would have to obtain the rights to use it if you wanted to.

I subbed for him once, and hated it. The students sat there like drones waiting to be told what to do. And they expected to be told in Chinese. Imagine, university students complaining that their English class was in English. I hope you’re being paid a lot for this, and more for checking their work.

Oh Boy. :loco: Here’s my long and short: It’s impossible. Whatever school is doing this cares nothing about whether the students actually learn or not. They are just herding them in like cattle to collect the money. If the students aren’t protesting, they are either too far into their robotic shells to notice, or they don’t care either and just want to pay the money for whatever piece of paper they’re getting.

There is no way the students would actually be able to make much progress in writing with a class this large. You would never be able to look at, check, and give feedback on all of their writing.

That said, I have a couple of ideas to keep yourself from having to keep a stash of Jim Beam under the podium. First, I think getting a book that is decent, but does not encourage interaction is imperative. You can’t do interactive, so get that out of your head. As the previous poster suggested, all you can do is walk them through a step-by-step process wherein perhaps they learn a bit of formula and a bit of theory about writing, as well as a review of a few grammar points. I would imagine this place that calls itself a school probably makes no attempt to divide them by levels, correct? So, you’ll have to take a stab at what level might be helpful for the majority. Is this class supposed to have a purpose, or are they just calling it “English writing class?”

If it were me, I might grab a good book of this type like “Sentences At a Glance” by Lee Brandon. I’m using it for a class now. (Although a much smaller one, thank god) It’s pretty good, and has lots of practice exercises that you could have the students do on their own. You may want to ask each student to make a card or something with their picture and basic informaion on it. (Make sure you tell them-no card with picture, no grade, or you won’t get any). Then, in each class, you could pick students at random (by grabbing out of the pile of cards) to come up and write their sentences on the board. Then use those as examples of errors that other students can learn from. You could put check marks on the card for anytime a student volunteers an answer in class as you go through the exercises and for other things you determine. You might be able to collect a few of these exercises and check them for homework, but unless this is the only class you’re teaching, you wouldn’t be able to do that often. This approach is probably about the best you can do.

Lastly, get out, get out as fast as you can! If you care much about whether your students are actually learning anything, this kind of impossible situation will drive you to that Jim Beam bottle.

Search the board for “large classes”…I think I posted before about my (should be patented) procedure for reducing class size. Works like magic. That assumes, of course, that the school will play along, though. They never did figure out why I always got mad if they were talking about putting that many students in a writing class… :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

I’ve never taught a class that size, so these aren’t things I have used, just things to consider:

#1- Form study groups that will do some small group projects together and who are responsible for proof-reading each other’s work. Initially just assign kids into the groups, but then allow them the opportunity to form their own groups if they would like on a sign up sheet.

#2- Based performance on a couple writing samples and perhaps a short interview with some potentials, recruit some student TA’s. Give them some sort of perk for their efforts- perhaps individual instruction be enough if they are the highly motivated type. Then when you want to do any sort of discussion activity let the TA take a section and lead it. This may not be possible, but if you have the right kind of students as leaders it could work.

#3- Start with a very controlled structure for writing and move towards freer one, but when the form is less free give a detailed rubric on how you will score their work.

How old are they, btw?

Hey…U R all so helpful Thx…

Thx for ur feedback and to respond to urs…

Would have to be very well paid to lure me away from present job…but we’re talking 6 hours here is almost a week where I am…

1 page papers are marked weekly, which there is a payment of 100nt per paper

These cats are uni students looking to pass the GRE for post-graduate study in the US, it sounds similar to what ur friend was doing Loretta…

A step by step process of writing on an issue

thx again