I want to be an English teacher

Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 06:11 am
hao, Welcome to A2K. Frankly, I am not certain that one can teach a student how to write "creatively". My experience was just to lead the student through the process of expression; a guide, if you will.

One technique that I used was to assure each child that his paper would be graded on a holistic level, then look for certain tools that would inspire. One type inspiration that I found to be successful, was to play different genres of music, and ask that the students write what the music made them feel. After several sessions of this approach, the student might be ready for the tools that created imagery, etc. Then, I would ask those who so desired, to read his paper aloud before the class and note the reaction from his audience.
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Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 11:35 pm
So, Letty, you are an English teacher in college yourself. Great! I thought you just learnt creative writing as a student. Seems that I could ask more questions about English teaching.

I'm quite agree with you in that teacher is only a guide, or a midwife. I hope I can inspire my student in using English as a natural way of communication. As you see, teaching English as way of communication can be a most challenging task in the mainland of China. Here we learn and teach English as a foreign language, not a second language, which are two categories in Applied Linguistics. Except when in class or watching English movies, we seldom get the natural access to English-speaking environment. However, this is far from enough for a teenager to acquire English as a foreign language.

Now I'd like to ask about some details, if you don't mind. How can you assure each student that his paper would be graded on a holistic level. What do you mean by "holistic"? I'm also interested in the inspiration tools you used in class. Critics on music is really a great method if both the students and the teacher are keen on music. What do you think the students can learn from this process? What response do you usually get from the reader and the audience?

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Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2008 05:48 am
hao, First allow me to explain "holistic evaluation". It is an alternative to the traditional way of grading a student's paper by reading and marking mistakes. Often, the student can feel discouraged if his paper is covered in red marks.

Secondly, I am pleased that you thought me a student. Actually I am a retired teacher in what American's refer to as secondary public schools.

Since you are interested in teaching English as a foreign language, that presents a different situation. I have always believed that conversational type instruction should replace the approach of beginning with the grammar, etc. of writing.

Obviously, you speak both Chinese and English, so I would suggest that you decide how you learned to master English. That may guide you in guiding the student.

Once the basics are in place, then you can move on to writing creatively. Should you have any further questions, please ask and I, or many others on this forum, can help.
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Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2008 07:42 am
Thanks, Letty. I hope I can do a good job in English teaching. I will keep on looking for more efficient and scientific way for a Chinese student to master English in all dimensions.

Sometimes I think that besides creative writing, acting in English can also be a good way. The precondition should be that the actors devote themselves in the performance, which can be a created situation of natural English environment.

Anyway, this needs practice and more argument. Hope you and other members here can give me more advice.
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