Day 8 Teacher Training.
Your Mission, should you choose to accept it: Get students who natively speak another language to converse comfortably in English.
Easy? Sure! I speak English purrty good. This’ll be a piece of cake….Right?
Four sessions each day with one peer teaching session and a practice session where we use our own fellow teachers as guinea pigs. We’ve been bombarded with topics ranging from teaching exercises and drills, chants and songs, worksheets and reading exercises, dialogues and skits, theories and practices, classroom management skills, attention-getters.
How to handle the rowdy ones.
How to explain the phonetic “sss” sound to indicate a plural.
How to teach.
How not to teach.
Keeping our main goal in mind: Get the students to speak in English.
So what’s our process? How do you get the kids talking?
1. Correctly model how to speak in English.
2. Encourage the students to speak in English.
3. Did I mention, get the students taking? … In English?
Practice. Practice. Practice.
But if we look at the process a little deeper….
Scene: Teacher training class. Pannasastra University, Phnom Penh. Twelve potential English teachers in a barely air-conditioned room with drab mustard colored drapes. With a blue dry erase marker, our instructor, Rick, squeaked the phrase on the white board, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Turning to face the class, he asks, “Agree or disagree?”
Mumble mumble mumble from the class. Er… “Agree!”
“Hmm,” says Rick. Squeak squeak on the whiteboard. What about, “Perfect practice makes Perfect.”
The first step is INCREDIBLY important. It’s not beneficial for students to learn an incorrect way to say an English word, or an incorrect form of grammar. In fact, it’s harmful! The incorrect word or phrase will be lodged in their memory and on their tongues. They’ll only be confused when they later have to learn it again. Differently.
Model correct English.
Then encourage them to speak.
After that? Well, we’ll get to the nitty gritty details later. In the meantime, practice your English!