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Teaching in non-sequential modules. 
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:16 am
Posts: 181
Location: Brazil
Post Teaching in non-sequential modules.
I began teaching English 3 years ago. Being a foreiner in rural Brazil, and having picked up the language (Self taught using a "barefoot" language learning technique), I was offered a part-time job as an English teacher. Well, they gave me the English Time book from Oxford and I just followed the directions. They also gave me teachers books from a franchise called Planet. Again. I just followed the directions.

Two years out, I realized I knew what I was doing. Often, better than the books. One big problem that the school has is a high dropout rate. They limit their classrooms to 12 students, but in any given semester, 3 students either quit, or don't come back for the next semester. Needless to say, 12 can get down to just 4 students in a year and a half. This isn't lucrative for the school. The problem was, that with these books one lesson depends on another, so new students can't be added to the group.

When I opened my own school a year ago. I planned out several grammar and vocabulary aspects of English and divided them into groups that do not depend on one another. Now, instead of teaching in semester, I teach in quarters. These modules are all independant. So one student can stay in the class for 2 years and do 8 modules, each with new vocabulary and grammar (though some grammar overlaps, I don't see this as a problem, because the kids don't know they are learning grammar anyway). New, students can come in any time we are starting a new module.

Now, when I have some one drop out, there are always new students to take their place. My kids classes are almost always full.


Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:02 pm
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MES-Member

Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:50 am
Posts: 23
Location: Felipe Carrillo Puerto - Q.R., Mexico
Post in a similar situation
I too am trying to teach in non-sequecial modules because it seems to fit best where I am. There are specific challenges to teaching in this way though - like taching to multi-level groups. I would be interested to know if they is anyone else out there teaching in this way....


Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:51 am
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:16 am
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Location: Brazil
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I made booklets with 4 sheets of Of2 paper (Bigger than a4 smaller than legal) folded over to make 16 pages. On them I put 6 lessons. Each with 8 vocabulary words, two grammar points, one comic-book style conversation and some TPR simon says games. The idea is to do these six lessons over a period of 8-10 weeks. Each lesson builds off the other until unit 6. Then it stops. The next book starts at zero on an unrelated aspect of english with different vocabulary and different grammar. Some things get repeated a bit, like pronouns, but I always put pronouns and simple things in the first grammar lessons to ramp-up the new students, so they can fit in. The older students don't notice because of the new vocabulary. I don't think kids know they are learning grammar anyway.

Is there a place I can post one of these booklets I made? I have it in PDF.

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Steve
Mister Young's English Class
Minas Gerais, Brasil


Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:05 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:50 am
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Location: Felipe Carrillo Puerto - Q.R., Mexico
Post 
I don't know where you can post it, but I sure hope someone does cause I'd love to see it!


Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:06 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
Post 
smy2brazil wrote:
I made booklets with 4 sheets of Of2 paper ...
Is there a place I can post one of these booklets I made? I have it in PDF.


If you email it to me, I'll post it. :D

mark
(at)
mes-english.com

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Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:28 pm
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:16 am
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Location: Brazil
Post 
Okay, I just sent 3 pdf files. they are also in different formats including Word and/or Open Office on my computer.

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Steve
Mister Young's English Class
Minas Gerais, Brasil


Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:55 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
Post 
I've been thinking about this and it seems like a great idea, but I have a few questions.

At some point you'll obviously want to work on more complicated language etc. It may be a reading or writing activity. How do you handle that?

I guess my question is how long can you keep up the non-sequential modules?

Are they tiered? Do have a level one with 8 modules and then students progress up to level two, three, four after having completed at least 6 of the 8 modules? Or something like that?

smy2brazil sent me a few of his files/modules and they are posted temporarily here
www.mes-english.com/worksheets/resources.php

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:31 pm
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
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Location: Tohoku Japan
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hhmmm

impressive, pretty well put together

:smt004


Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:32 pm
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:16 am
Posts: 181
Location: Brazil
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Mark,

Yes, the idea is to have non-sequential modules that cover about 12 classes each. Being new to this, I haven't got my timing down yet and have had to run through the end of one of the booklets and had to put some filler in another one. (Sometimes I get sidetracked and end up teaching something that is not in the lesson plans. When kids are interested in something, I take advantage of it.)

Quote:
Are they tiered? Do have a level one with 8 modules and then students progress up to level two, three, four after having completed at least 6 of the 8 modules? Or something like that?


Yes, though I haven't gotten to tiering yet, because my stronger students usually want to switch to my Basic course.

Over time, I'd like to make 8 booklets each of material on 3 levels. (or at the least create a curriculum like that.)

The reality is that 8 booklets will get you through nearly 2 years. I've found that usually there is a lot more dropout in the first year-and-a-half of an English course than the rest of the way. I hated having classrooms of 12 dwindle to 4 after a year. With year long course books, you can't fill the desks until the next course book. So, the booklets give me 4 or so opportunities in the year to put new students in the vacancies created without having them feel behind. I can also re-arrange my classes more often.

Mark, unlike you, I am not sure I am in this for the long haul. I want to take my family to live in the US for a couple of years and I hope to do this sometime in 2008. So, my school will be about 2 1/2 years old when it closes.

When I come back, If I continue teaching English, I should be ready to open up another school which will be for profit. With that school I'll do more advanced classes. As it is I have been an English teacher for 4 years now. I enjoy it, but I'm not sure if it is the best thing for me and for my family. My wife has a small company and we are also thinking about opening some business together when we return. I need to think about it.

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Steve
Mister Young's English Class
Minas Gerais, Brasil


Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:31 am
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