Classes Update

I’m aware it’s been over a month since my last entry. I could say I’m busy, but I could have found the time between teaching, studying, lesson prep, private tutoring & exam prep, cooking & baking with Linda, and visiting the gym with Sara, to write here, in my little corner of the Internet.

I will chalk it up to pure laziness.

So, let me get down to the nitty gritty. I am teaching two different kinds of classes this year. Conversational English and Listening & Speaking. Conversational English is the same course I taught last year. These are English majors; they just need practice. We do various activities including role plays, debates, discussion, presentations, conversational games etc.

Listening & Speaking primarily focuses on listening comprehension. I decided to nix the speaking component of this class with little success. Their textbook is incredibly boring which means I spent an exorbitant amount of time each week preparing supplementary material based on their broader topic their textbook is discussing that week. The students preview the lesson each week, we go over vocabulary, pronunciation (I have had to learn the phonetic symbols), and finally listen to the audio lecture. My supplementary materials include but are not limited to videos from TED, audio materials, or American culture handouts. I will read the handouts to them as they follow along. In each case, I cover the vocabulary before they listen to the supplementary material. I prepare the vocabulary in both English and Chinese for their benefit.

I believe I am spending somewhere between 6-9 hours preparing for my classes each week. I know this is far more than my foreign colleagues, but my 姐姐 (elder sister, a respectful term I use for Hui Li )informed me this is normal for her. Sometimes she will spend more time than I have mentioned preparing her lessons!

My favorite new concept, borrowed from Linda, is giving my students recommendations to improve listening, vocabulary, and comprehension. I provide them with a TV show, movie, website, and a book or magazine to further their language learning. I am also trying to improve their learning environment so during our class break, we listen to an English song. They are adamant that I teach them how to sing the song, although I have tried to explain how awful my singing abilities truly are.

I can’t think of anything else in regards to my classes so if there is something more you wish to hear about, don’t be afraid to comment on this entry!

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