How I Teach

All right. Let’s be honest for a second here. I probably come across as a pretty negative person in my writing, attacking English teachers, pooh-poohing their methods, tearing into standard textbooks, despairing at the idiocy of the world. Well, all that is true, but in my heart of hearts I am a positive person and I want to set an example for others to turn up their noses at and ricucule (turns out ot’s kind of hard to type r-i-d-i-c-u-l-e). So I’m going to do that. Right now. After a little ado–sorry about that–let me explain how exactly I conduct my classes.
* Most of the pop-up links seem to be broken and impossible to fix. Damn it.
   I like to use stories, for one thing. Not boring stories, like the ones you find in most textbooks. Stories that start out like this. (This one’s by Scott Adams, hope he doesn’t mind me using it.)
   So first, I tell the story. Actually, no. First, I explain the vocabulary. And sometimes we do a miniplay instead. Or I ask about a homework fill-out.
   Either way, once that’s done, I ask lots of questions to make sure that everyone understood what the story was about.
* A recording of the story is then posted on the Internet for anyone to download.
** There are other ways to see if the students followed the storyline, such as fill-ins.
   Later on in class, I point out all the important phrases that I want my students to learn. Students can test themselves on this knowledge at home, too.
   I usually spend a few minutes explaining grammar rules that students tend to have trouble with. Then it’s on to talking.
   The must-use sheet forces students to use the important phrases/grammar while telling the story.
   Every story leads to plenty of conversations, some more improvised than others, most with twists of some kind.
   But it’s not all stories all the time. I teach conversation skills, too, using dialogs as well as monologs.
   There are also warm-up tests so that students can, well, warm up before the class kicks off (and start wishing they’d stayed home).
   Sometimes we discuss the most common errors and ways to correct them.
   And sometimes, we just let the freak flag fly