29th August 2019
The lesson plans are set in stone, so I have to adhere to them; there will be a grammar review, a double page of listening, and then a handout for the students to practise speaking … but that’s not enough for the three hours, so I’ve decided to make as many speaking activities as possible.
Unfortunately, I’ll also have to show the presentation about classroom rules, as I’ve had some issues with ADULTS … yes, adults, disrupting the class, being disrespectful and basically trying the zen-like patience of the writer of this blog. Said writer has been working every day for nearly three weeks and my patience was never ‘zen-like’ at the best of times.
This problem is widespread in Vietnam; I’ve seen it at all centres, and all ages. It is quite hard for a teacher to accept the rudeness and disrespect engendered by such behaviour. So … what to do …
First, a quiet word with the student – to explain what is wrong and WHY.
Secondly, move the student to a new chair. If the student refuses, then it is time for the third move.
Last resort – abandon the lesson. Tell the school office that the student is violating THEIR rules, disrespecting the teacher and other (paying) students and that I will not be able to continue teaching with the student in the class. My feeling is that the Vietnamese will support each other, especially one who is a paying customer, so I will simply leave the room … and everyone will have wasted their time and money. To quote Brad Pitt in ‘Inglorious…’, I might get chewed out, but it won’t be the first time, sure as hell won’t be the last.
However, this happy pic does lead into a plethora of speaking activities I have planned – idea being, if they’re are speaking English, that won’t have time to speak Vietnamese (yeah, right !)
First Activity – a vocabulary building game. I give students a sheet with several new words and several definitions. They have to match them together, then make sentences from them.
Second Activity – Desert Survival. Two teams, both have a number of items to help them survive in the desert after a plane crash. From the list of 18, they have to choose just 5. They must learn and practice negotiation language such as:
I see your point
I respectfully disagree
That’s an interesting choice, however …
You’re argument is not without value, having said that …
Third Activity – eyewitness. Work in pairs. One student looks at a photo or picture of a man committing a crime. After two minutes, the other students plays the role of a police officer, trying to gather information, for example age-range, clothing, distinctive markings, behaviour etc.
Fourth Activity – small talk. A list of general topics and the students have to try to keep the conversation going as long as possible. As with all speaking exercises, give examples or models first:
What do you do ? // I’m a student . // Really ? Where do you study ? What do you study ? How do you find you class ? What do you like best about your university ? What are the biggest challenges ?
Fifth activity – Friends – I show five male friends and the students has to guess their personalities and occupations. Here I’ll board some new adjectives and jobs, as well as encouraging the students to use opinion phrases – after all, they don’t know my friends – they are basing their answers merely on looks.
To break up the speaking (which some will do, some will half-heartedly attempt, some will ostentatiously NOT do), we can use so real life listening. One popular clip is the foodie Mark Wiens eating eggs in HCM City:
Or maybe a review of a local beer ?
Or how to stay safe in HCM – advise from locals (in English but with accents and some grammatical errors)