Sunday, December 8, 2013

Teaching in Japan #3

Today, I'm going to talk about teaching as an ALT at a junior high school.

This is probably the most comfortable of the three jobs. The pay is the same as an elementary school, though you generally have one or two elementary schools and one junior high school per week rather than only junior high schools. Classes here range from three or four a day to six a day. Sometimes, you have no classes at all, but you must remain there. With the varying schedule, you rarely get as bored as you do at a high school, and you don't feel as beat as you do at an elementary school.

This position has the least freedom for teaching the classes as you are running second hand to the Japanese English teacher. You basically meet with them before class, give them suggestions for how to introduce a topic, games that they could use on the topic and ideas, to help the kids master each grammar point. Sometimes, you're given full reins of the class and sometimes you are just a glorified tape recorder. Rarely, you are in the class alone, but it does happen. (A lot more to me recently for some reason lol) The satisfaction level isn't as high here as the students are basically learning what they have to in order to get into a good high school.

I don't normally do outlines in this class as I don't take the classes by myself, but I'll give you the general layout of classes that two of my Japanese English teachers use. But first, I'll discuss the classes themselves. They're 50 minutes with 10 minutes between each class and an afternoon recess. This job requires 60% energy, 30% improve whenever the Japanese English teacher throws something at you, 5% preparation for anything and 5% people skills to deal with the varying levels of students.

So, here is the basic rundown of classes with teacher 1.
-Weekly activity
-Introduction/Review of the grammar
-Practice of the grammar
-New vocabulary words
-Checking what the verb and subject of each sentence of the reading text
-Checking the meaning of each sentence
-Reading practice
-Games or pair work (Sometimes thrown in there)
-Group presentations (like three a year)

Greeting: The same as in elementary school. 

Songs/chants: The songs are whatever the teacher has chosen while the chant fits with the grammar of the chapter.

Weekly activity: There are 3 weekly activities that this teacher uses.
-100 questions - 10 new questions every two weeks that the students practice and interview each other with in order to remember most of them.
-Previous year review - They go through the memorization tests from the previous year.
-Sentence drills - Basic sentence structure exercises. We use the 'Tateyoko drill' book

Introduction/review of the grammar: We make examples using the grammar for the lesson and the students repeat, then practice with their partners.

Practice of the grammar: The students repeat the basic grammar sentences again before going around the class, to interview each other.

New vocabulary words: Repeat each word and check its meaning. Next, they repeat them again. Then they read them on their own followed by saying the English while reading the Japanese. Finally, they repeat again. 

Check the verb/subject of each sentence: I read the sentences aloud and the students underline the verbs and circle the subjects. Then, one student says it aloud to make sure everyone got it right.

Check the meaning of each sentence: I read each sentence and one student translates it for the rest of the class.

Reading practice: I read each sentence and they repeat it. We do this a second time before the students stand up and read it twice. Once they sit down, the repeat after the CD in order to hear a different English voice.

Memorization: Each student gets 2 minutes to read over the sentences, to memorize each of the sentences in the correct order. Then, in pairs, they check each other.

Dictation: I read each sentence aloud about 3 times apiece and the students write them down in their notebook. When we're finished, they check their writing in their book, then write down the Japanese translation of each sentence.

Games: These vary. I'll post some later.

Pair work: Just a small group project where they try to come up with conversations using the grammar of the lesson or chapter.

Group presentations: Like pair work, but presented in front of the class and graded.

And that's one of my teachers. The other is a bit different.

This is the basic lesson plan for teacher 2
-Greeting (Same as the first teacher)
-Song/chant (Same as the first teacher)
-Introduce/review grammar (Same as the first teacher)
-Play games/do a worksheet with the grammar
-Introduce the topic of the lesson
-New vocabulary  (Same as the first teacher)
-Reading practice (Same as the first teacher)
-Translate the lesson
-Quiz about the lesson
-Read the lesson again
-Review game

Play games with the grammar: Just a simple game that uses the grammar that the students can get into and finish in five or ten minutes.

Do a worksheet with the grammar: A simple worksheet where they reuse the grammar over and over again to pound it into their heads. They do it alone for a few minutes, then they work as groups, to finish it, and at the end, we check it to make sure it's correct.

Introduce the topic of the lesson: Using picture cards, we describe the situation the lesson takes place in and try to give the students some context to the grammar they had just learned.

Translate the lesson: As it sounds, the students use a worksheet to translate each of the sentences in chunks, then they work as groups, and finally, we check it as a class. The grammar points are also reviewed after all have been checked to ensure they have the meaning. 

Quiz about the lesson: On the same worksheet, there are questions and answers as well as a true/false section. I read the questions, and the students write down the answers. After we check the answers, the students repeat after me then they answer the question as I ask them. For true/false, I read the questions and the students write down the answers. From there, we check the answers, and if it's false, the students have to tell me why it's false.

Read the lesson again: Just one final reading check.

Review game: From previous lessons, even some from the previous year, we take grammar and key points and play various games with them. I'll get into that more later.

That's the basics of my lessons in junior high school. I'll go into more specific details later on when I do a post for an actual lesson.

I hope you find this helpful.

Thank you for reading,

Next: As an ALT at a high school

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