exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Monday, June 18, 2007
Change Versus Improvement
I was seriously bummed before the beginning of class tonight. It's my last week with them. Three are graduating and two are moving to another teacher. Next week I'll be teaching from 3-6pm instead. When I told them about this, they got a little sad too. They said they've had fun in class and that they felt they've learned a lot. They like my style of teaching. We're comfortable with each other, which is important for learning to happen. We all decided to go out and do karaoke after Friday's class.

I was also bummed because of the curriculum changes that I know are coming up. My class is a perfect example of the result of our current method: they can hold a natural, fluent conversation in English with minor mistakes. They are proof that "Converse & Correct" is a good way to improve pronunciation skills for advanced language students. They don't need formal grammar training; they just need quick reminders. They don't need to memorize lists of vocabulary; they need practice using the words they already know.

I don't know why I feel so strongly about this. I shouldn't care, but I do. I guess I hate to see an innovative approach get stamped down by the status quo. I've seen this method work. Our students get jobs. And they recommend our school because it's different. And perhaps I have selfish reasons, too. I enjoy teaching this way. It's far more enjoyable than lecturing. It means less time preparing lesson plans, though it does mean I have to stay on my toes during class. But I like that. If I wanted to be a "now-turn-your-books-to-page-blah-blah-blah" teacher, there are plenty of other schools I could work for.

So, I'm going to make one more pitch for focusing on accent reduction for our advanced students. I'm going to do some research and make a proposal in writing to our academic coordinator. It's my last stab. And it's a long-shot. After that, I can at least feel like I made an honest effort.

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