Teaching with Tofu – Tips For The Classroom #1

Teaching with Tofu – Tips For The Classroom #1

Often we can learn from trial and error, observing others, or good old fashioned teaching. There’s no right way or wrong way, we all develop our own style to learn, and also to teach. Sharing experiences and ideas can help you become a better person.

I teach at Oxford Kingdom in Houjie and hope by sharing my experiences and ideas I can help other teachers working in Dongguan.

Delving into my mind can be a dangerous adventure. There are millions of self-help guides littering shelves of local and international bookstores. This is not intended to dictate or to be taken as gospel. Teaching English is very much like tasting Marmite – you either fall in love with it, or you hate it. Like most long-standing sandwich spreads, you’ll adapt, innovate and reinvent. The cycle of normality will be broken. Back off textbook simplicity. I want to offer five tips, not in the fly-tipping or gratuities sense but these little boons:

  1. Teaching should be very personal.

When you meet someone interesting, they stand out. Why do they stand out? They’re interesting, you switch on. Give the students what they want and they’ll want more. You’re a teacher from a far off mystical land. More is less, less is more. Using the imagination and your passion will drive their interest.

  1. Fear nothing. Lead the way.

The worst that can happen will only happen if you panic, the little monsters in front of you choose it or life dictates Murphy’s Law is due an appearance. You are your class leader. Dictate the pace, the content and the smiles. Speak in a natural way, slow but clear and fill your words with feeling. Acting like the latest version of Leslie Nielsen is all part of the game. Loosen the students up, make them aware that your class is about relaxing and stepping off the plateau of the norm on to the steppes of an atypical day out. Your class should be an enjoyable escapology act.

  1. You’re having a laugh. Share it.

Apparently, we all switch off 15 minutes into any presentation (source unknown, I switched off before that was presented). Some things demand light-hearted jolliness, other things need a belly laugh or two. English is a fantastic language and versatile as a cockroach in a kebab shop. It can bend, it can twist and it will find some meaty content to live on. I find students will engage you more if you’re more Patch Adams than Louis Pasteur.

Often students here sit through strict, highly rigid and lifeless mathematics or history classes. Making a connection to the students is key, whether it is straight-faced or outright gurning. The level of humor obviously mustn’t disturb neighboring classes. That said, if the neighboring classes hear the odd chuckle, they’ll look forward to your classes.

点此阅读中文: Chinese (Simplified)

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JR Acton

“Sum yourself up in 100 words or less,” they said. I’ve blown seventeen words on this alone. As a former editor of Aberystwyth Town Football Club’s website and matchday programme, amongst other accredited publications in The Non-League Paper and Cambrian News, I can safely say that I like writing. I love reading and the English language equally which is why I fled Britain for Dongguan to teach English and spend some time trying to thrash out the first novel. Everyone can write but is everyone willing to read our words? Only time will tell. I am fluent in Mancunian and English – and I am learning Mandarin, slowly. Really slowly.

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3 Comments

  1. Hose Hill
    April 19, 2015 at 2:25 am Reply

    amusing and enlightening

  2. Mr Hu
    May 21, 2015 at 9:18 am Reply

    Ha ha ha John you are so funny

  3. Teaching with Tofu – Tips For The Classroom #1 – WORLDA International Education
    April 24, 2017 at 5:54 pm Reply

    […] post: @JR ACTON, ESL Teacher, http://www.hubhao.com/teaching1/#page-content […]

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