China is a challenge and the first time you find yourself standing at the front of a classroom filled with bright eyed Chinese students is a definite character builder. As new teachers it takes a little time and practice to refine our teaching methods and many of us will make a number of common mistakes. Here’s a look at those mistakes along with suggestions for addressing them.
Speak too fast
As native speakers of English if we are not used to teaching english we tend to misjudge the speed at which we are projecting our words. Even a slow speed for ourselves to follow can be too fast for your students, particularly if your class has a more basic level of the english language.
Remembering to slow down a really slowly and clearly pronounce your words can make all the difference between a student learning, or not. Slow, clear projection of your words will help the class correctly recognise the sounds and give students a better chance of correctly hearing and repeating the word. To help your students understand, slow it down a notch.
Forget your students names
Many English schools in China purposefully give their students English names to help the foreign English teachers remember their students. This makes it all the more embarrassing to forget or to be unable to learn your students English names.
One trick to help remember your students names is the classic trick of name badges. Not all students may enjoy wearing them but by getting them to write their English name and keep it visually displayed by them then you will continually be given a prompt to help you remember the large amount of students names that you will take on.
Run out of material
Planning a great lesson is a skill and one that you are likely to need practice to perfect. During your first lesson it is quite likely that your one hour lesson plan on paper could be reduced to as little as 5 minutes without adequate judgement of the students comprehension, ability and attention span.
This is one that can be addressed through better organisation and contingency planning. Until you are more familiar with the pace of lessons, plan cautiously and plan much more material than you expect to need. Also structuring a lesson block into sections. E.g. recap, intro, practice & revision, helps structure the correct timing of a lesson. Better planning can pay huge dividends in the classroom.
Try to teach too much
In addition to not providing a long enough lesson, many new teachers try and teach too much, this causes them to rush over aspects that need more time. This is a major issue as students that fail to fully understand the lesson will fail to learn it, thus wasting the time and effort spent attempting to teach them. You are much better to teach less well than a lot poorly.
Ensuring students fully learn the material can be achieved by regular tests, practice exercises and revision. Ensure that all students feel confident with the material before moving onto the next piece of material.
Not use your T.A effectively
Your T.A is an incredible resource, but unless you communicate effectively with them and work as a team then it is likely that they will be little added benefit to the teaching of your class. By spending time briefing them with the contents of your lesson plan and what you expect from them the T.A will be much more able to assist you in your chosen lesson and help teach students effectively.
Interested in working in China and want to find out more? Our UK agency ensures that schools are up to top standard and provides an additional layer of protection and reassurance when negotiating issues with your Chinese school. To find out the latest vetted and quality assessed top providers in China check out nooneliterecruitment.com/teach-english-in-china.