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  1. #1
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    Arrow The Ideal English Class and English Course

    What is the ideal English class?

    What is the ideal English course?

    Tell what you think?

  2. #2
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    What is the ideal English class?

    What is the ideal English course?

    Tell what you think?
    That is not easy to tell.
    I know you are talking about an ESL class.
    It depends whether that ESL class occurs in the student's learner country or in an English speaking country.
    In the former case, I think an ideal ESL class is the one who gives the student the opportunity to forget his native language and only hear and speak English, with the teachers and mates. It should take place in a comfortable place and provide pleasant situations to the student. He should feel it as in his "second home in a foreign country".
    In the latter case, since the student is already experiencing real English outside the course, I think the ideal ESL class should be highly focused in advanced grammar use, students experience share. The class should be carefully previous planned, generally these are quick courses and the students are in a hurry.

    Finally a good standard ESL course, in my opinion, should be long, without hurry, and the least demanding possible. It should not rely only on the time the student has to do homework and selfstudies. Usually the students have another important activities, regarding their lives, jobs, studies, etc. If they pay for an ESL course, they want to be taught the most softer possible way, that is, with the minimun effort, learning without even taking notice of it.

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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    There are many different approaches to language training. However, there is one common thread: learner-focused activities. This means that people learning English should learn through exploration and discovery, not through rote memorization.

    Presentation Practice Production

    One of the long-standing approaches to TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TEFL / TESL (Teaching English as a Foreign / Second Language) has been the presentation, practice and production model of learning. In a typical class like this, learners are presented with a conversation starter like a picture or object and encouraged to use as much English as possible to describe that object. New vocabulary is presented and the conversation lasts about 15 minutes.

    Then, the learners are given a task to practice the new vocabulary (or grammar, etc.). This could be a role play or a piece of music. Sometimes we will hand out words to a song with some blanked out (gap text) and as the learners listen, they have to figure out what they are singing. Those are really fun classes.

    Then the learners move into production, where they produce the language in different contexts. These are learner-centered activities where they can do anything from a simple writing task to producing their own television program. Some of these activities can be pretty elaborate, especially in high school.

    Total Physical Response (TPR)

    Another "old-school" method is TPR (Total Physical Response), which usually works best with beginners and children. In a typical TPR session, the teacher won't say anything at all. Instead, she will act out the word usually a verb or a preposition like "run" or "up and down", to give a rudimentary example. The learners will mimic the action and repeat the word. Since many people are tactile, kinesthetic and visual learners, it stands to reason that TPR would serve well in a diversified learning environment.

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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    That is not easy to tell.
    I know you are talking about an ESL class.
    It depends whether that ESL class occurs in the student's learner country or in an English speaking country.
    In the former case, I think an ideal ESL class is the one who gives the student the opportunity to forget his native language and only hear and speak English, with the teachers and mates. It should take place in a comfortable place and provide pleasant situations to the student. He should feel it as in his "second home in a foreign country".
    In the latter case, since the student is already experiencing real English outside the course, I think the ideal ESL class should be highly focused in advanced grammar use, students experience share. The class should be carefully previous planned, generally these are quick courses and the students are in a hurry.

    Finally a good standard ESL course, in my opinion, should be long, without hurry, and the least demanding possible. It should not rely only on the time the student has to do homework and selfstudies. Usually the students have another important activities, regarding their lives, jobs, studies, etc. If they pay for an ESL course, they want to be taught the most softer possible way, that is, with the minimun effort, learning without even taking notice of it.
    Thank you for your comments. I've made similar observations through my experience, and I have similar ideas.

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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    Quote Originally Posted by dricha17 View Post
    There are many different approaches to language training. However, there is one common thread: learner-focused activities. This means that people learning English should learn through exploration and discovery, not through rote memorization.

    Presentation Practice Production

    One of the long-standing approaches to TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TEFL / TESL (Teaching English as a Foreign / Second Language) has been the presentation, practice and production model of learning. In a typical class like this, learners are presented with a conversation starter like a picture or object and encouraged to use as much English as possible to describe that object. New vocabulary is presented and the conversation lasts about 15 minutes.

    Then, the learners are given a task to practice the new vocabulary (or grammar, etc.). This could be a role play or a piece of music. Sometimes we will hand out words to a song with some blanked out (gap text) and as the learners listen, they have to figure out what they are singing. Those are really fun classes.

    Then the learners move into production, where they produce the language in different contexts. These are learner-centered activities where they can do anything from a simple writing task to producing their own television program. Some of these activities can be pretty elaborate, especially in high school.

    Total Physical Response (TPR)

    Another "old-school" method is TPR (Total Physical Response), which usually works best with beginners and children. In a typical TPR session, the teacher won't say anything at all. Instead, she will act out the word usually a verb or a preposition like "run" or "up and down", to give a rudimentary example. The learners will mimic the action and repeat the word. Since many people are tactile, kinesthetic and visual learners, it stands to reason that TPR would serve well in a diversified learning environment.
    Thank you for your comments and for sharing your ideas.

    Yes, I'm a strong advocate of learner-centered classes and lessons. However, students expect the teacher to teach, explain, give examples, write on the board, and answer questions. So I try to keep things balanced just right.

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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    Depending on the size of the class, lessons and discussions that involve continuous communication between the teacher and the whole class are good.

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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    Thank you for your comments once again. We'd like to hear as many viewpoints as possible.

    Thank you,

    PROESL

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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    While I strongly advocate learner-centered or student-centered classes, I should mention that on a few occasions students have told me that they do not like this approach, and that they don't want to talk to their classmates. They said they wanted to listen to the teacher, take notes, ask the teacher questions, do classwork, and talk to the teacher. So it's a balancing act sometimes, and sometimes the challenge to please everyone can be taken to a higher level depending on who is in the class.

  9. #9
    sauveterre is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    I was interested to see what other people said about this, as I have been teaching English to a group of adults in our small French village for over a year. I have no formal training. just a university qualification in the history and use of English. The first class was a nightmare as I had 25 people and a book on grammer, but soon discovered the OUP New English File course, which has been excellent. My group is smaller now and they are comfortable with each other. There is a lot of lively chat and discussion in English; I ask them questions about what they think and how things compare to French etc., which they enjoy very much. However I, too have found they don't like "pair work" at all. They would much rather listen to me and the class CD and then have a group effort.
    It seems to me that informality, flexibility and a touch of humour are the key in my type of class.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The Ideal English Class and English Course

    Thanks for your input and sharing your experience with us. It's good to know.

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