Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Critical Incident Protocol
In 2004, I was teaching at a Kindergarten Hagwon in Hwa Jeong, Goyang Shi, Gyeonggi Do, South Korea. I had twelve students in the class. I asked each student a question. If they answered correctly I gave them a ‘check’ by their name. At this point all the students had six checks by their name.
One student named Thomas started joking around. I told him to be quiet and he continued to disrupt the class. I then took the white board eraser and erased 3 of his stars. He was so distraught by this that he collapsed on the floor in a pile of despair.
I had to spend the rest of the class trying to console him.
Why had my lesson gone array? What terrible punishment had reduced this student to mush?
I had failed to notice just how important the ‘checks’ were to the students. If they received 3 checks then that would lead to a sticker. They would put the sticker on their sticker chart. Once they completed their sticker chart then they would receive a gift.
For a Korean seven year old (five years international age), this was a big part of their self-esteem and self-image. I failed to recognize that their status in the classroom was based in large part by ‘checks’, stickers, and the teacher’s approval.
Now I recognized the value of this system and how it should be applied. I still gave the students’ ‘checks.’ Three ‘checks’ still meant a student would get a sticker to put on their sticker chart.
However, now I took a different approach to discipline. If a student disrupted the class then I would pick up the white board eraser and hold it over their ‘checks.’ I would call out the student’s name. “Thomas!” He would see my intention. Then he would prostrate himself and say, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.”
That was enough to get him back on task. I avoided an emotional meltdown that would have disrupted the class further. Instead we could continue with the lesson unabated.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Reflections on the first week’s readings
By Chad Pozsgay
The first article we read was called, “Reflection is at the heart of practice.” I was impressed when it stated that “Split-second decision making is a crucial aspect of teaching.”
When I first started teaching I made a lot of mistakes. Usually I made an error but once I had made that decisions I could not quickly readjust and implement an alternative teaching direction or classroom management technique. I felt rigid. I felt like I had to lay down the law in the classroom. That meant that I could not even allow myself alternative options in my approach to something.
Over time, I started to realize that I needed to adapt quickly in the classroom. If a particular activity sparked the students’ interest then I needed to extend the time devoted to it. If an activity floundered then I needed to quickly adapt it or move on to something else that might be more stimulating.
In the “Reflection is at the heart of practice”, the authors talk about deliberately reflecting upon one’s experience and teaching practice. They give some examples of teachers reflecting on their experience and trying to learn from it. Letting the students sort through their emotions is a good way for the teacher to get the response they desire.
In Yamada’s article, “How to Avoid Plagiarism,” the author discusses the issues regarding stealing other people’s words or ideas. One remedy that the author offers is for there to be extension training in so far as people are taught how to cite other people’s work.
In the TESOL-MALL program the APA style is the required program to adhere to when citing sources. The APA style is updated quite often. Therefore, yesterday’s way of citing a source may be different today. That makes it more difficult to be completely accurate. However, the method of citing a source does not change that dramatically. That way, usually only a minor change or readjustment can be made in order to cite a source accurately.
In North America, students start to write at a very young age. They are encouraged to share their thoughts. Accurately giving credit to an author or source is taught very quickly.
In Korea, people are many times taught to emulate the teacher. They are suppose to do something the exact way that they are told. Therefore, when a Korean takes a TESOL-MALL course they are usually surprised to find so much attention being focused on the APA format and doing proper citation.
We will soon use the APA Sixth Edition guidebook in our academic writing class. That will help all the students avoid plagiarism.
In the optional reading, “Reflective teaching in EFL: Integrating theory and practice,” the authors talked about ways to close the gap between theory and practice. They make the observation that many teachers come out of university and they do not see how educational theory is related to educational practices. The future classroom teachers do not see how to implement educational theory into their classroom teaching.
I think this article makes a good point. I have been studying TESOL-MALL for two years and it is not often that I come across something that I can use in the classroom. I don’t know why it has to be so impractical. A major part of the problem is that I don’t understand the theories that are being put forth. But I do think more of an effort could be made to translate educational theory into practical classroom activities.
I have heard from people who study Adult Education that the primary focus is to make the classroom experience better for the teachers and the students. Less time is spent on theories that do not have or are in want of a practical classroom application. In that respect, Adult Education seems to be a more practical program to study.