English Class

I have a lovely schedule, though scattered nearly as much as last year — children have English class three times a week, except for 1st and 2nd, who we see twice a week. I am with two co-teachers, one of them for 1-5 and sometimes 12 grades, and the other for 6th, and sometimes 10-11 grades. We are only required to co-teach elementary classes, and are free to go or not go to high school classes. They are doing this for curriculum reasons, but it’s a bit too bad, I think, since it’s more possible to instruct secondary students almost entirely in English, and introduce more creative “critical thinking” sorts of assignments — especially creative reading and writing. Ah, well.

Our curriculum for elementary grades is McMillan’s English World, level one, across the entire country. It looks like a good curriculum, and quite complete — or that it will be complete whenever we get copies of it, because currently we only have student books, and the bookstores have run out of that; only about half the students have it, and I can’t get a copy either. Meanwhile, we have them practice writing letters, saying words that begin with those letters, and sometimes writing those words on the board or in their notebooks. It’s not a complete disaster, but it is rather dull. Meanwhile, the publishers have assumed that each child will have his or her own book set, and so it asks them to do things like coloring — not only in the workbook, but in the beautiful, new, full color textbook… and I’m not sure how I feel about that; it seems a mite wasteful, and it quite awkward when not all the children have their own book. Besides the teacher book, explaining what the publishers have in mind for the course, there are posters, flashcards, and audio tracks, which the student book assumes us to have. In any event, I’m fairly hopeful — I have never co-taught before, nor used a real curriculum; I’ve always just made things up off the top of my head and remembered things from classes I’ve taken, and stumbled upon stuff that seemed worth knowing online or in a book or shop, before.

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2 thoughts on “English Class

  1. Hurray for textbooks! Even if there are not enough. Actually, that can be a plus because then it is easier to pair the students up and have them work together. I wouldn’t let them color in the textbooks, though. Do you remember the old Sing, Spell, Read, and Write alphabet song? Or the vowel song? Those would be good because they are catchy.

    • In some of the classes everyone has a book, and in the others most everyone will soon. Apparently we have been asked NOT to teach the first graders to learn to read and write yet, but to do everything orally with pictures. This is partly practical — it might be confusing to learn two alphabets at the same time — and partly, I suspect, a matter of national pride; they’d rather their children learn to read and write their own language first, and then a second language immediately after.

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