Tuesday, September 7, 2010

random teaching notes

It wouldn't be Chile without the arbitrary cancellation of several classes per week, and we're on track so far: I lost 1 yesterday (out of 4), and 1 today (out of 2).

I kicked Jorge out of 1-B today, since I'm still in a mood from 1-G the past couple weeks, and he went over my limits by showing up 10 minutes late for class and then messing with me by pretending not to understand things, essentially wasting everyone's time by abusing my commitment to helping him learn. He thought this was clever, until I booted him. His girlfriend Araceli seemed mad at me for the next half hour or so, but she finally lightened up, and I think she's just worried that her boyfriend can't get his act together and will get himself kicked out of their school (which does seem likely).

A couple weeks ago I spoke to the local group of Chilean English teachers and gave them an abridged rundown of what's wrong with English education here. (I started transcribing what I said for you, but that turned out to be boring and hard and I haven't finished.) One of our teachers, Jorge, was there, and he asked me to come say the same things to the English Department at our school. I found talking about the differences in textbooks to be a useful jumping-off point, so I'll do that again. (Chilean English texts are awful, even though the official Ministry of Education books are written by Americans. And the teachers report that these are much improved from past years.)

Marcela is sick, which means I could technically take tomorrow off, but that'd be lame, since I don't need her there in order for me to teach. The classes might end up being unavailable for whatever reason, but of course I won't know that until I've gotten up at the crack of dawn and gone into school at 7:30am. I'm glad she told me, though.

I'm noticing that with the possible (and unsurprising) exceptions of Monday's 1-G and Friday's 1-B, my kids are learning new vocabulary (and often a new question they can answer with the vocabulary) much faster than last term, and also getting a little twitchy with doing the same old exercises. I'm thinking we have enough rapport now, and they have enough of a comfortable English base, to venture into some kind of grammar-based sentence-constructing exercise, if I design it carefully and don't explain anything.

Explaining is the enemy of learning here. Doing, exploring, trying, discovering. These are good learning verbs.

No comments:

Post a Comment