Get Up & Grow

"We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop? "

Be The Change…Pt.1

We are coming to the end of the Korean school year and I have been thinking a lot about some changes that I would like to make in the way we teach English here. I’m not sure if my ideas will be met with resistance but I’m certainly not going to hold back when it comes time to talk about this. Here are my thoughts….

#1. Voice level- the children in this school ( I won’t say all Korean children because I don’t know it for sure) are allowed to run up and down the halls screaming and yelling all day long. There is never any control over noise here and it grates my nerves. There has been some progress with two students who liked to scream their way through class but students are still coming into the room using their “outside voices”.  I’d like to put a system into place that will remind them that they are inside and that they need to come into the classroom calmly instead of running and screaming. I was thinking maybe a visual like a stoplight would help. I remember in Elementary school, it would get loud in the cafeteria so they got this stoplight. It would flash red when we were being too loud, yellow when we were in danger of getting too loud, and green when we were quiet. I think that if I can connect that with some kind of point system, it would work great.

#2- Rewards- Speaking of the point system… Right now, what we have is a board with Groups 1-5 on it. ( The students sit in groups.)  When a student or the group answers a question correctly or does something good, they get a smiley face next to their group’s name. When a student or group does something wrong, they get their smiley taken or if they dont’ have any, they get frowns. As it goes right now, at the end of every class, we see who has the most points and each member of that group gets a piece of candy. Ok, that adds up to a lot of candy that we are having to buy with our department money and the kids are only motivated to do things when points or candy are involved. On top of that, they have started to feel as though they are entitled to candy. I do not like the attitudes that they have developed as a result of being given candy every single time.  I would like to do a sticker system and make a big sticker board for each grade level. After each class, the group with the most points will get a sticker on the board. At the end of the month, the group with the most stickers will get a prize. ( Maybe a grab bag, maybe candy, maybe a gift certificate, maybe a pencil-case with pencils/pens/erasers in it….it would be different every month) If they are ungrateful for their prize, I will give it to the 2nd runner-up.

#3- Manners-  I have noticed a lack of manners here. Simple things like saying  “Thank You” when someone gives you something, and being silent while the teacher is talking are not really talked about here. I want to make manners part of the curriculum! Each week, I want to emphasize something new and make it part of all of my classes for that week.

#4- Hands to yourself!- Kids here are allowed to hit and kick each other in school. Teachers do not scold them for this unless they are actually wrestling or in the teacher’s way. In class, students are slapping each other, chasing each other down,etc. This has got to stop. I can’t stand watching that and I think it’s part of the reason why there are so many couples out near the bars on the weekends beating each other  up. These kids are not taught that it’s wrong to hit each other. When we start back, I want us to put a stop to it by making it part of the point system or having some kind of punishment for it.

#5- Consequences- There need to be consequences for acting up in class. I want to make a flow chart in English and Korean to put up in the classroom so that they will know exactly what will happen. We will all have to be consistent too and follow it. Some kids do not care about losing a smiley face on the board or standing in the back of the room. There need to be real consequences for bad behavior and part of it needs to include calling parents! I am going to start pushing for more contact with parents when students are acting up or doing really well in class.

#6- High Expectations- I want to encourage my co-teachers to set higher standards for the students. They need to push the kids to do more instead of letting them be lazy. They need to let the kids figure things out for themselves instead of giving them the answers. This is going to be one of the first things I will bring up in our meeting ( the one I’m going to call ASAP). I am tired of them making up excuses for lazy kids and whispering answers to students who are capable of thinking for themselves.

So….this is a start…and I haven’t even started talking about the things that I want to improve within myself to be a better English teacher. That will be another post for another day!

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December 9, 2011 - Posted by | Affirmation, Bitching | , , , , , ,

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