Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Training This Week

This week we have a few hours during the day for training in a new method of teaching with a visitng British professor from London.

It's dumb.

Actually, the grammar books for Avalon are much better than what we have here, but the Avalon system is ALL GRAMMAR all the time.

Our students are here for 6 hours a day, they each have three classes.

1 teacher to 1 student Grammar
1:4 Discussion
1:8 Discussion

Grammar is controversial, and I'm starting to understand why.
Intuitively we don't learn language by having grammar rules explained like it's a geometry formula. Students can get hung up on this. Speaking and listening practice is what engrains the grammar intuitively.

This method is not all bad, the students speak and listen for one hour, but they are saying 1 sentence at a time and being stopped mid sentence with corrections in a very intensive manner.

This professor even kind of makes fun of the students' prononciation, which is tricky. There are ways one can make that situation work to their benefit, but overall I think it's unwise.

I have students that aren't in the trial class with the professor reporting back to me that they heard he's a little rude.

The professor is not tuned in to Korean culture and he can't read from the behavior in the class room that this is an issue. The students are intelligent good sports, so the method seems to be effective, but...things aren't always what they seem.

It's just a fine line to walk. He also makes a big deal out of mistakes that make him look stupid because sometimes the mistakes are cultural.

While training with the Philippino teachers something came up that's a good example. Here in the Phils a lot of people don't have refigerators. The ones they have are really small and most include the freezer inside. So they open the fridge door to put frozen items in the freezer compartment inside. The only thing they say, though, is "Put it in the ref", people here do not distinguish and say "freezer"...because some people have separate gigantic freezers that they think of as 'freezers'.

So during class a Philippino teacher was playing the role of the student and the Professor asked him, "Where do we put ice cream?" and the training teacher said, "We put ice cream in the refrigerator." and the professor shouted and sputtered and made a big deal out of it, "No! We don't put ice cream in the refrigerator!" Like he was the stupidest person alive.

It's distracting, this kind of stuff. The professor thinks that it's upbeat and laughable and interesting to do it this way, because the others laugh, but it's really just distracting because he's making himself look dumb. And rude.

He makes big huge deals out of nothing. His classroom management is such that a student cannot look to the left or right. If they look to the left or right he asks them why are they not looking at him? What is intersting there? What do they need?

This guy is a headache.

More later...

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