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When it comes down to a lecture 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post When it comes down to a lecture
Several times a year, I have to stop class and give short lectures to the students on why they need to try opening their mouths. This is generally at the junior high school and sometimes at the nursing college (places where students are forced to study English.) I try to keep it short and simple.

I have 3 different speeches:

One: the pro-baseball player
I generally go into a rant when students won't practice fundamentals and tell me they 'understand' and want to move on.

I tell them that if they look at a pro baseball practice and little league practice they look very similar. The point is that even a pro works on fundamentals. They take grounders, batting practice, play catch, practice turning double plays... The reason is come game day, they can do these things without thinking.

It will work with basketball as well.

Two: piano lessons
I generally go into this lecture when the students just wont speak or have gotten so quiet they sound like a very dull whisper.

I explain that if they just listen to me and understand, that's not enough enough. Just like if they were going to piano lessons, they can watch the teacher play the piano but if they never play themselves, they'll never be able to. Also, like the piano, they are going to need to practice a lot and for a long time.

Three: the contractor
This is a favorite at the nursing college and it generally comes out when they tell me they can't do the conversational activities.

I explain that they are going to build a house. They have all the materials they need lying in front of them. The wood, nails, tools, designs... But understanding what everything means and how to use the tools doesn't mean they can build a house. We have to try! Maybe today we just build a dog house. Maybe we build something shabby and it colapses. Maybe we just build a bridge for fun. However, if we just look at the construction site or concentrate on materials (vocab) and tools (grammar) we'll never be able to build anything. So, try and someday we'll get better and build better buildings/language.

Again the students are forced to study English in a lot of the cases. So, it's not necessarily that they don't get the point of the lesson or activities. Most of the problems come from students who just don't care. So, all of the speeches end in a lecture about not wasting their time.

Four: Don't waste your time!

You're here. You have to be here. You might as well make the most of your time. It's definitely more interesting to be part of the class than to stare at the back of Kenny's head. Time will go quicker if you do it. You won't be as sleepy. And, And, you might just learn something that will help you later in life, because you never know what you might be doing 10-15 years from now.

Do you have any other arguments for studying? What do you do when it comes down to a lecture?

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:24 pm
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:44 pm
Posts: 4
Location: South Korea
I started teaching English here in Korea knowing very little of their native language. In a lot of cases, it would not be necessary for me to know the first language to teach English, but the kids I teach could hardly understand a word of what I was saying. With a particularly difficult class, I once gave in to frustration and started a lecture. Needless to say, it was a complete waste of effort. All I got were either blank stares or 'ye' (polite form of yes) although they obviously didn't really understand nor care. :?
Oh, and my lecture was along the lines of their parents working hard to pay the monthly tuition. Coming, as I do, from a third world country, this was what came to mind. Totally ineffective, I should have known not to lecture to fifth graders. :oops:

Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:43 pm

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:03 am
Posts: 71
Location: Athens, Greece
Mark, your lectures are very good per se. I wonder, however, if they meet their purpose. I've tried something similar with examples of the type how to play the piano vs.playing the piano, how to play football vs. playing football. But after some time I have given up on the lectures. THey are not very useful, in my experience. THey are only heard by students who listen anyhow, those who don't listen switch off, as they usually do. So for the teacher it is just a waste a time. Maybe I was not as convincing as you can be. :D
One thing that helps, I have found , is giving students the words to say what they would like to say. Never teaching just words or just grammar, but teaching them to say something they might actualllly get to say some time.

Sat May 13, 2006 2:22 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Yeah... those who really should be listening usually aren't but I still get a temporary reaction, even from them. It's more for those who have slipped a bit over to the 'dark-side' and just need me to give them a little push back over to the good side. :mrgreen:

I use lectures very sparingly and briefly. It generally in a tone that means I'm on their side, I believe in them, I'm there to help them, so common let's get up and do it!
One thing that helps, I have found , is giving students the words to say what they would like to say. Never teaching just words or just grammar, but teaching them to say something they might actualllly get to say some time.
Good! I think that's very important and helps to get the students learning. I probably should check that I'm doing that from time to time.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Sat May 13, 2006 2:42 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:14 am
Posts: 75
Location: Nago, Okinawa, Japan
I use similar speeches about learning English. But I also invite many international people from my area to my classes. I am also fortunate to have a nephew and niece visit me every summer and sit in my Jr. high classes. It really gets the kids motivated.

Sun May 14, 2006 1:59 pm
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