|While looking for English Corner in China images this came up. So true.|
A teacher here began suggesting things like having the classes on the weekends, and at night, like at 8pm or so, and that the teachers can take the students to one of the local coffee houses and (yes, he suggested this) buy them coffees as they all sit in an informal atmosphere and chat away in monosyllabic English, if that much. I quickly expressed that I did not want to work on weekends or at night, and that classrooms were fine for me as a teaching environment, and that I don't think I have to spend money on students to make them come to my English Corners. In the end the one thing that really determines who will come or not is whether their master teachers or classroom monitor selected them to attend the EC for that one week.
|The over worked black board syndrome. I know it well.|
Did these students copy any of this?
|Oh God, this looks so dismal.|
Go fellow ESL teacher, class will be over eventually.
Keep that happy face for a little longer.
Me: Anybody have any questions? (No one answers so I point at some frightened soul and make them, almost at gunpoint, ask me something.)
Student: How long since you been to China? (this is common grammatically incorrect method of asking the question.)
Me: Eight years.
Well, I can't tell you how many times I've had that enriching dialog. I press on for another question.
Student: Do you like Chinese food?
Me: Well, yes, most of it, but not all.
|How long since you been to China?|
Do you like Chinese food? Can I have your QQ?
Can I go to the toilet?
One issue here is that somehow Chinese leaders think students who come to English Corner learn more than when they are in a regular class. They do not. I think there is even something even more simple and just administrative about it than that. It looks good on paper and on a computer screen to have these classes running in their departments. It is also a way to pad the teacher's schedule. If you are not working your full contract hours then a few English corners gets you closer to that and makes the school feel like they are not giving you free money. Reasonable really. But the only way I can have any success with a class is to have the same faces week to week. I have had really some good EC good students and tell them so. I tell them that their English is wonderful and I encourage them to please come back. "Oh yes, I will come back!" Of course I never see them again and the next week there is a group of fresh faces that were randomly selected by their Chinese master teacher (their only "real" teacher) and the monitor who shows up to make sure the other students showed up as they were told. All teachers have the same problem. And when the discussion begins what do I hear first? "How long since you been to China?"
This will be the end of part one. Expect more English Corner diatribe in the future.