Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Friday, May 05, 2006

Teaching Advanced Students

by AJ

After 6 months of teaching the low-intermediate students at my school, I will move on (next week) to teach the advanced class. I always find such shifts unnerving at first. You get into a certain groove with a class. You adjust to their level. You establish rapport. Things start to click and everything becomes more effortless.

Monday, Ive got to start all that over again. From what I hear from other teachers, the advanced students are VERY demanding-- strong personalities, more prone to complain, more challenging to teach. Ive got to establish rapport from scratch.

Ive also got to develop new approaches. Quite obviously, advanced students require a different approach than those at a lower level. As usual, it will probably take me at least a month to experiment, fail, reassess, etc... until I find things that work with them.

Initially I will try the following:

* Regular focused re-writes
Ill have students regularly write essays on various topics. Then we'll pass them around and edit them. Ill re-write key sections in standard American English. We'll then discuss the edits... and the topic in general.

* Lots of Free Voluntary Reading
Ill probably use the newspaper as daily reading & discussion practice. My idea-- each student will choose an article and read it. They'll then, alone or in small groups, work on any new vocab or grammar they dont understand (by asking each other, asking me, consulting a dictionary, etc.).

Each student will then give a short presentation about their article... summarizing both the overall story, and the new language learned from it. Following the presentation, they'll lead a short discussion about the topic.

* Regular Presentations/Mini-speeches
Almost every day I intend to have each student give a short mini-speech. Ill start with the Dale Carnegie "There I was..." approach, then expand from that as their abilities and confidence grows. I intend to use a lot of the activities I recently used with my very successful "Oral Proficiency" course (see previous course).

* Movie Technique with more complex Movies
Ill continue to use the movie technique, but will probably use more challenging material than "Friends". The first movie Im thinking of using is "About a Boy". I watched it recently and the vocabulary is a bit more complex than the usual movie/TV show.

* Book Club
I used a book club approach successfully at Thammasat University, and intend to give it a try again with this new class. Basically, each student chooses their own book... reads it... then gives a short presentation about it. I may have them write about it too. Ill probably devote 20-30 minutes of classtime for book club reading.

These are just my initial ideas. In addition to these, I intend to spend the first week having many conversations about their learning goals, my teaching style, classroom dynamics, etc....

San Francisco, CA

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