exploring, examining, exchanging, expressing
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Student Driven
My school's highest level classes are taught a bit differently from other language classes. They're 2 months, 5 days a week, 3 hours a day. They're highly conversation-oriented. The students talk, and the teacher's job is to make corrections along the way. Sometimes the teacher provides topics or has them do specific activities. There are job-related role-plays. But for the most part, the students generally dictate the content of the class. And, since students enter and leave the course all the time (it's a circular curriculum, not linear), the needs of the class change often.

So my job is to take the basic outline of a curriculum and tailor it for each unique group of students. I like it, because it allows for a bit more creativity than just teaching out of a book. The students tend to like it because they get to talk about things that interest them.

But, just as students come and go, so do teachers and academic coordinators. Currently my school is in a state of flux. There's a trend to move towards a more "traditional" curriculum. Less time spent "just talking" and more structured activities and lessons.

One class rejected this new method so much that their teacher felt the need to leave them. They're now my class. So I'm stuck between giving my students what they want (lots of conversation) and what my administration wants me to teach (structure, grammar, etc). Naturally, if it comes down to it, the school wins. They're the ones that pay me. But I'm going to go to bat for my students as much as I can.

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