Monday, March 01, 2010

First Day of Class


I am always shocked at the difference between the language levels of freshmen and seniors. Four years of English nurtures students' creativity, thinking, and confidence in being able to express themselves. It is kind of hard switching gears from seniors in the morning to freshmen in the evening.

With seniors, we can discuss philosophical questions about morals, universal human characteristics versus cultural characteristics, the historical origins of the differences in western and eastern ways of thinking.

With freshmen, we are discussing what did you do during Spring Festival, what kinds of foods did you eat, what is the difference between a firecracker and a firework.

I believe I spoke too fast and taught too high this afternoon with the freshmen. I need a gimmick to remind myself to slow down, to use shorter sentences, and to repeat more often. Any suggestions?

In Africa because the class sizes were so huge and because students were too afraid to ask questions or to tell the teacher to slow down I had always toyed with the idea of having bell ringers or flag wavers as the representatives of the class to chime in when I was speaking too fast or when students didn't understand what was going on. I just never implemented it. I wonder if it would actually work.

1 comment:

universalibrarian said...

The idea of flags is pretty cool. I doubt my students would use them. I think that they would be really stuck with the criticize the teacher thing. Or the admit that you don't understand thing. funny. Worth a try with a class after they trust you maybe. Glad the first day of class went well. Satisfying. I always am nervous coming back especially if I have had teaching nightmares the night before.