Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Adventures: Part 4: Teaching

Of course I am teaching... Could this ever change?
Well the heat IS unbearable but, yes! I have a student! A student who IS taking exams in September and needs lessons.
You'll say that's good for me... Yes, it is, I have something to do and yes it is some extra money. But let me explain the situation here in Greece.
In Greece there is this exam-certificate-mania. Parents believe that their kids should "finish" learning English at the age of 15-16. What does "finish" mean? It means that by the age of ... let's say 16, the kid has to take and pass a C2 level exam (CEP)in English , when it comes to a second foreign language, they are happy with the B2 level.
The thing is that especially in the second foreign language, all this procedure has to be done  fast, in 2 or 3 years.
I really don't agree with this. When you learn a language, you learn a language to communicate and not to pass the exam.
I do have to work towards a certificate though, or else I would not have work whatsoever.

My student this summer is 15 and has attempted to take the B2 level exam in German with another teacher in 1,5 year!!!!
Although he IS a great student, unfortunately his knowledge of vocabulary and the lack of using everything he has learned in oral and written practice except for  what he does in the exam book has not helped him pass.

 My job is to make him speak and write correctly.
Of course I have to be book oriented but we do some other activities as well.
Why? Because I cannot see my students do what the BOOK says. How on earth would you use the language when you are out speaking with people? This is not in the BOOK!!!!

So what do we do?
  1. I have found a wonderful teenage / young adult series in the Deutsche Welle site. They have amazing series with videos and soap operas and quiz games that are accompanied by interactive exercises and grammar leaflets, plus a booklet with extra activities like:
  • Poster presentations
  • memory games
  • picture description
  • role play
2. I also use Deutschlern.net for German songs with interactive exercises again and I also have some of my own song plans.
3. Some more speaking games like Taboo (my favourite)

Some parents and school owners do not agree with my methods.  Some even think that I am a bad teacher because their kids did not pass the B2 level exam at the age of 14.
Some people DO like my way though (thank God for this)... so here I am.
To be continued

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