Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Problems with textbook

It has been two weeks since I started teaching in junior and senior high school in Japan again. In junior high school, I am generally happy with this class because I can utilize many things that I learn from my graduate course and experience of teaching in Costa Rica. I try out TPRS and other stuffs. I am able to conduct in English through most of my lesson.

However, the big problem is high school. The textbook is very grammar based and many topics of this book is REALLY boring. There is no personalization. I mean the topics have nothing to do with students' life. Also, the text is composed by many different story for reading. There is no conversational aspects. Students are expected to understand the story in Japanese and that's all about it. Even advanced students expect me to explain the grammar points or words and phrases in Japanese and have them translate the meaning. It takes damn long time to do this. During this time, students rarely speak English nor listen. They focus on writing the translation on their notebook. There are not comprehensible input nor meaningful interaction in English. How on the earth can they acquire English without these crucial elements for learning or acquiring the language. I really hate using this textbook and doing translation. Don't get me wrong. Translation itself is not bad at all as long as it is used for clarifying the meaning. However, when the entire class period is used for the activity for grammar translation, it is just waste of time in terms of helping students develop language fluency.

However, since I am working with other teachers. I cannot abolish translation activity. So, my challenging is how to minimize the time for translation and spend more time to communicate in English. I should work on this more.