Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


by AJ

Its obvious. Class time is not enough. My students will never make much progress if they rely only on English class. They need more comprehensible input.

To help them... to really help them... I must encourage them to become independent English learners. I must encourage them to read English and listen to English in their free time. They get only three hours a week from class (and since Thai students are usually late... its more like two hours a week). Thats not enough.

But if they watch one movie a week... thats an extra 1.5 to 2 hours. If they sit for a couple of hours and read for fun.... If they listen to a book on tape or read the newspaper or a gossip magazine.... They will double or triple the amount of English they get and they should have a lot more fun than they do in any classroom.

I know this. But how do I get them to understand it? They are trained to sit and listen to the teacher. They are trained to be dependent on the teacher. When I try more independent activities... such as free reading or group discussions, many will ignore the activity and chat in Thai (this is true mostly for my younger students... the freshman and Russian classes).

Free reading has not worked with the younger classes... they chat in Thai, they dont bring anything to read, etc. Group work... same problem. If I dont assign reading material as homework and tell them I will collect it and check... many will not bring anything.

So what's the answer? Do I return to a more dependent teaching method.... lead them and push them? Is there a middle way?

I plan to find out.