Using Commercial Materials
Because you will probably be unable to order class sets of books for your students, the commercial materials you do have available will be useful to you more as resources than as textbooks. You will be able to select those activities and exercises which are relevant to your students' needs. See Appendix A for titles and descriptions of materials available through Peace Corps' ICE.
Chapter Six: Program management and evaluation
Depending on your teaching experience, you may at first feel overwhelmed by the large classes and diverse needs that you face as an ESP teacher. The purpose of this chapter is to provide some tips to help you manage the language learning environment in the classroom.
Initially, students may experience problems in listening comprehension, remaining attentive, and following instructions. Your first class meetings, then, should be seen as opportunities to establish a routine, communicate your objectives, and allow the students to become accustomed to your teaching style.
You may have to adapt your style of speaking at the beginning of your program so that students can understand you. Some controversy does exist in language teaching about whether or not teachers should adapt their speaking style. It is argued that this exposes the students to inauthentic language and will not prepare them for understanding English spoken at a normal rate of speed. Of course, your ultimate goal is to enable your students to understand natural speech, spoken at normal speed, but at first you may need to speak more distinctly, allow more frequent pauses than normal, and say things more than once and in more than one way in order to be understood. As students get to know you better their understanding will improve.
The students will feel most comfortable and secure in their learning situation if you design a program which is well structured and in which your expectations for the students are clear. Take extra time in the initial class meetings to explain how each exercise should be approached. This time will be well spent, as later class meetings will then fall into a routine, assignments will be completed as expected, and students will recognize their steady progress.
Make your initial introduction of concepts and vocabulary highly contextualized through demonstration. Do not deny students the extra help that contextual clues give, or comprehension will be more difficult and the students will not develop strategies for exploiting context clues. The visual is the most important clue. A typical lesson should demonstrate. Use language, gestures, and eye contact to establish meaning, and take advantage of the students' knowledge of the world. Tasks appropriate to this kind of treatment include description of a process, conducting of experiments, and explanations of charts or graphs. When you ask questions, discourage rapid reaction replies. Have a slow paced classroom in which everyone has time to think. If you are lecturing, stop every few minutes to allow students to get down notes, discuss briefly among themselves and ask questions. You may find it valuable to circulate through the class from time to time to discuss and answer questions.
Use short handouts and visuals. Give a handout after your first treatment' of a theme to give students the opportunity for listening comprehension practice before they read the handout to confirm, correct, or expand their notes.
When students ask questions in class:
1) Do not say too much. Omit all information that is not demanded by the question. Do not give in to the temptation to show everything you know about the subject.
Use class time to go over the exercises the students have completed. The sooner they get feedback on their answers, the more learning will take place. Students enjoy this activity as they check their own work. You can save time and ensure fairness by preparing small tokens (cardboard or slips of paper) with a student's name on each. Shuffle the tokens and c-ill students' names in random order, rather than stopping at each question to call on a student with raised hand. This will give every student an equal opportunity to participate and will ensure that students remain attentive. It will also give you an indication of which students do not understand the exercise.
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