Teaching ESL

fun activities = lenient teacher?
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Author:  mesmark [ Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  fun activities = lenient teacher?

I got an interesting question the other day. The person was asking why we should 'entertain' the students and were all these 'fun activities' good for the students. The person said their "best teachers in school were strict, and many people say the same thing. So, shouldn't we do away with the 'entertainment' and get down to teaching."

What do you think? Do fun activities equal a push-over teacher?

Author:  enjoyinglifeinseoul [ Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

I wouldn't say that fun activities = a push over teacher.

If you don't enforece the rules and maintain discipline I can see how it might be true.

For some of the games I use my kids get a little out of control; both with TPR and more speaking type activities. For the most part if it is enthusiasim for what we are doing and they aren't just be silly or doing their own thing, I let it go.

My problem is some of the kids help each other cheat, constantly get out of their chairs, or don't use the target language and just play the game. (I am going to try the technique of them monitoring themselves.) Also, they often speak way too much Korean.

These are children for goodness sakes; you can have fun and learn at the same time. I don't know about in Japan, but in Korea, the book which we are provided with for my Elementary school has suppssedly fun actvities and games for every unit.

Of course you don't want to just have games for games sake. There needs to be some educational value. Maybe fun for fun is fine once in a while, say after a big test or when you have finished a book or a unit.
I have a snack party once in awhile for my little ones.

I read the thread about making a cake and it mentioned "NO FOOD ALLOWED!" and teachers hiding food when kids walk into the teachers lounge/room. Yikes!

I don't allow them to bring and eat their own food in class, because they just sit there and munch/slurp away and aren't speaking or working.

Anyway I've gotten off the point.

FUN doesn't have to mean leinient. Fun can equal learning enjoyably!

Author:  kjk_esl [ Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:02 am ]
Post subject:  Games

An activity or game must be lesson based. Just playing any old game for fun or to kill time in a class is of vey little value. With an activity or game you should keep things moving fast or at a good pace allowing the students to speak as much as possible. I like to keep thing fast paced allowing a min amount of time for the students to think, hopefully they will react automatically to what we did in class today. You need to have the students speaking more than the teacher is class and in a manner that is natural. The ole listen and repeat what the teacher said is not a natural way to speak and it is boring! I do limit this method in a class. I do use it at the start of a class or in a new part of a lesson to listen for problems in pronouciation. This is what I feel on games in the class.

Author:  Matt Dream [ Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

I go back and forth on this sometimes. Should I be more strict, less games, and more intense studying, or vice versa. Somehow I have managed to strike a balance of the two.

Often I find if we are sitting around the table, and for example I ask the students to ask me a question, they have a bit of trouble. But, if I ask everyone to stand up and make a line, and the person in front has to ask me a question, then run to the back of the line.. all of a sudden the language starts flowing out of them.

So in conclusion, a balance has worked out best for me. My favorite teachers in any subject have always been the ones to engage my imagination in a variety of ways.

Author:  funwithstories [ Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:09 am ]
Post subject: 

Starting off my teaching career as a JET, I used to equate TT teaching with games and fun. I used to think that a class was successful if students were smiling and I could hear English spoken. Although I see the value in games, especially with young children, I have come to think that teachers really need to evaluate the games and decide on what they want students to gain from it.

I think listening games are great for introductions. Students listen to the teacher and react accordingly. For games requiring a lot of output, I don't usually try them until I am reasonably sure that they have acquired the language. It is easier than it appears to "parrot" the langauge required without really understanding it. The classes where I give more input and more time to process the language do better than those where I rely more on games/activities that require early output.

As for strict teachers, I am not sure on this. Those with strict 'grammarians' have a fair to good linguisitic background, but not necessarily the best in communicating in the language.
However if you define a 'strict teacher' as one who lays down the rules and constantly enforces them, then I would think they would be effective in class management and thus have a better class atmosphere.

Author:  Emstacks [ Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

i find that games do keep students motivated and if the game is relevant and learning based i do not see the harm in it in my classroom.

I do agree with the idea that you should not just play any game without a purpose however 'educational' games do not need to be boring. I find students enjoy the games as long as they are fun and in fact forget they are learning.

I even have a stack of the games for use when they have finished work - and i find they are going to the more 'educational' games than ones that are less so.

isnt the point of being a teacher to motivate students to learn - if they are learning and having fun at the same time how can you be a push over teacher? arent you achieving your objective?

Author:  wolff [ Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  strict, fun

I am a strict teacher, however, my kids play a lot of games. My classes are big (40+) but my students know that there is a time for them to listen quietly, because quite soon we'll be doing active games. I don't see a contradiction here. We have listening time, reading/writing time, and speaking time, and a good classroom manager makes sure that the kids know the routines and procedures needed for the class to operate smoothly.

Author:  papadeli [ Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:58 pm ]
Post subject: 

If I were to learn French for example, I would provide my teacher with the MES material... I'm too old to have a coursebook with boring pictures, texts and grammar rules. I'd like us to play games, repeat the language over and over again -my memory is in a bad condition- until I win or lose. Little town is my favoutrite to consolidate and revise at least five grammar points and useful vocab- I'm too bored -as a mum- to help my own children remember what they were taught in any other way. If I'm clear enough, teaching without using fun activities -since the teacher is well organised and knows when and how to use them- seems meaningless -not to mention boring... How can a student cope with boredom? :roll:

Author:  julee [ Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  fun activities = lenient teacher?

An activity or game you should keep things moving fast or at a good pace allowing the students to speak as much as possible. I like to keep thing fast paced allowing a min amount of time for the students to think, hopefully they will react automatically to what we did in class today.

I do use it at the start of a class or in a new part of a lesson to listen for problems in pronouciation. This is what I feel on games in the class.

FUN doesn't have to mean leinient. Fun can equal learning enjoyably!

Author:  mesmark [ Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:59 am ]
Post subject: 

Well, I obviously agree with everyone here. I think I'm actually pretty strict. Nothing flies with me if it goes against my few broad rules, mostly treat everyone with respect - that includes me :p .

However, I encourage them to search for knowledge, to want to learn and to enjoy learning. As many have said you can't just play games with no purpose.

Anyway, I thought it was insteresting and I agree that some of my best teachers have been hard-nosed, get down to business teachers, but also some of my best teachers were fun, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable. They made me want to learn, rather than just value knowledge. But, in both cases I learned a lot.

I aim to be the latter :wink:

Author:  Grimlock [ Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

No. In all honesty, unless you are in a situation where you're the primary teacher, the amount of English these kids are learning from our once-a-week visits is negligible compared to what they're getting from their JTEs.

A big part of our job is to make English fun and encourage them to learn. If we become just another teacher, our effectiveness is diminished greatly. Then they're not looking forward to our classes and they'll retain even less of what we give them.

Author:  Kiwione [ Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:13 am ]
Post subject: 

an interesting question

I suppose it depends on the age and level in question. And more importantly what kind of "game" you are talking about. As some games don't use much English to push them while others do.
Another point would be the curriculum, it would depend if you are up to date, behind etc etc

Clearly playing a lot of games to adults would wear thin and likewise to high level kids.
I think games are excellent but in balance. They should not be over done. Not all kids (assuming you are talking mainly about kids) learn the same way. Some will learn more in a game setting than others.

For me, I use more games (obviously) in the younger, lower level lessons and less as they get older/higher level. Just how much to do is up to the teacher to determine. There is no cold formular!
I personally think its fine to have a few lessons with a lot of games etc and then a few more academic lessons. Some kids will cry out for games but don't give in all the time. They will appreciate the games more if they are not regular.

So my long winded answer would be, no I don't think you would be "a push-over teacher". But don't give in to them all the time (if they ask for them)

Author:  smy2brazil [ Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:42 pm ]
Post subject: 

Fun activities had been, for me, a reinforcement like the repetition exercises.

Sure you can boringly repeat sentences with word substitutions, or you can do it as a chant or song, which can be more fun, or you can play get-4 or battleship, which is even more fun.

The card games like big town are also, when you get down to it, just a creative way to do repetition with different data. LOTS of fun.

You can still be a mean teacher the rest of the time :wink:

Author:  dmihalciuc [ Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:58 pm ]
Post subject: 

I think it also depends if you are their primary English teacher or not. If you are just there once a week while their regular teacher is there the rest of the week, well, you have to make it more entertaining, supplement the material taught and make it more fun.

But I would say a fun learning environment doesn't make the teacher a push-over. You can be a goof for sure, and just give them games and more games that don't really have any connection between anything and and don't enforce any rules and then ya, you'll become a push-over.

Author:  MojaMoja [ Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

I think games are very important.
I don't think it reflects negatively at all on a teacher who uses fun as classroom resource.
If you raise the emotional index of your students, they will retain more information. It's been proven - happy people produce better results. This is the same in education.

Also, since everyone has a different style of learning, we should be covering all styles in our teaching. I have students that learn best when they are out of their chair. Who am I to make them stick to more "traditional" methods, and maybe have them not learn as much.

Plus, I need to be interested in the lesson I am teaching. I don't enjoy bland repetition, or a boring work book page (I usually give them for homework;-)) So if I don't enjoy it, then I don't put as much energy into teaching it. Meaning the students probably feel the same way.

I feel a teacher should be allowed to mold their lesson styles around their students.

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