Jen goes back to school

Trip Start Jun 15, 2009
Trip End Jun 14, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani,
Thursday, July 30, 2009

In case you can’t detect the change in writing style, I (Jen) have now taken over authorship temporarily! Tony has been quite a homemaker whilst we‘ve been here. He’s been cooking, shopping and searching out the best bargains at Tesco (yes you did read that correctly!) as well as sunbathing, reading etc while I have been studying hard. I am now one day off completing my fairly intense four week Teaching English as a Foreign Language course here on Koh Samui.

Our classes have certainly made us think and work hard. As well as lots of studying, I've done six teaching practices: one teaching 9-10 year olds the names of animals and the places they sleep, the second teaching adults at an architectural firm about irregular plural nouns. Last Monday I was supposed to be teaching children again, at the same school as the previous week, but we got a message from the school late Sunday afternoon to say that the children were going to be away all week and they had forgotten to tell us! They have a very laid back approach to life, here in Thailand!

Last Thursday I taught a beginners class at an accountancy firm (topic: my name is…., I come from…., I am a……). On Friday I taught a very mixed ability group of adults who work at a boutique resort (Baan Bo Phut Resort, if you want to look it up). It was my most challenging class so far as a couple of them were complete beginners whilst others had a fair grasp of the basics. Needless to say that the idyllic setting of a classroom which was the outdoor restaurant overlooking the infinity pool, with a view out over the sea to the island beyond was completely wasted! Once I had started the lesson, I forgot the setting altogether. It was the hardest group I’d taken, but they were all so enthusiastic to learn and willing to have a go that I really enjoyed the challenge of keeping the attention and interest of them all.

This week I’ve had two more classes of 9 - 10 year olds, which has confirmed that I prefer teaching adults learners! I’ve really enjoyed the course and the teaching experience, and I certainly have a lot more confidence about it than I had four weeks ago! l'm not sure whether we'll actually be in any one place long enough over the coming year for me to take up any teaching work, but maybe I'll be able to pick up some work teaching English back in Leeds when we get home.

Whether or not I put it to use directly, it's certainly increasing my confidence in working with groups, presenting information and meeting people, and it's getting my stagnant brain back into action too, so it's by no means wasted time. It's also something which I have been interested in doing for a long time. Twenty-seven years ago (am I really that old?) I was au-pairing in Sweden. In my Swedish classes I first came across the concept of teaching in the target language, where the only language used in the classroom is the one being learnt/taught. So all the explanations, questions etc have to be in the target language. I found this to a very effective way to learn a language, even if it was a little scary not being able to fall back on explanations in the mother tongue!

This is the method we have been using in our lessons. As the teacher, this means you have to be very creative in finding ways to demonstrate meanings of words and concepts, using whatever you can - pictures, real objects, mime, gestures etc. The creative side of me is being reawakened and those theatre workshops that Cherry and I did all those years ago in Mansfield are also bearing fruit! Nothing is ever wasted is it?
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mx-5.snob on

Please Miss
As always your abilities have no bounds.... I however remain firmly secured in the corner sporting a wonderful conned hat at a jaunty angle emblazoned with a sparkling D :)

Well done you and what a bunch of cute kids.... it has to be very rewarding :)

dozyrosie on

Work opportunities
Steve is keen for some English lessons when you get here Jen!!

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