The perfect class…?

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November 11, 2015 by gemmalunn

I think I’ve found my perfect class, well 2 classes back-to-back. These are general English, C1, predominantly conversation classes. There are a number of reasons why these classes are so good:
– The students are all friends and some have been studying English together for 10 years so the rapport is amazing. One group has even formed an English club that meets regularly to do activities in English.
– They love role plays and will take on any role I assign them with vigour.
– About half the students are teachers themselves so they recognise and appreciate different teaching techniques.
– All students are very open and vocal about what they like/dislike to do in class. When I completed needs analyses in the first class the responses were very detailed which makes it much easier for me to plan appropriate classes. Furthermore, students regularly give unprompted feedback on activities during and after class which also helps when choosing future material. Also, I’m never left wondering ‘hmm I’m not sure if they really enjoyed that activity or not’, I always know where I stand and thus when I reflect on these classes it’s much more effective.

The underlying conclusion that I’ve come to as to why these classes are such a dream is that all the students love speaking and learning English; basically they have heaps of intrinsic motivation. This, in my opinion (and those who have actually done research, such as: Ehrman, 1996; Ramage, 1990; Tachibana, Matsukawa & Zhong, 1996) counts far more and makes for a much more enjoyable class than one filled with students who are purely or mostly extrinsically motivated by things such as an important exam or wanting to get a better job. Because students who are extrinsically motivated may put in a lot of effort but they do not always enjoy the work or have that real desire to learn.

These classes run from 6-10pm but despite the late finish I always have plenty of energy, feel revitalised even, after these classes. My mind is busy with ideas for future classes, blog posts, areas of teaching I’d like to research/read about. I think every teacher needs at least one class a week like this, one that gives you as much energy as you put in and one that consistently reminds you why you love this job so much.

Picture from @eltpics @fionamau

Picture from @eltpics @fionamau

Further Reading
Ehrman, M. (1996). An exploration of adult language learner motivation, self-efficacy, and anxiety. In J. L. Oxford (Ed.), Language learning motivation: Pathways to the new century (pp. 1–103). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Pres

Ramage, K. (1990). Motivational factors and persistence in foreign language study. Language Learning, 40 , 189–219.

Tachibana, Y., Matsukawa, R., & Zhong, Q. X. (1996). Attitudes and motivation for learning English: A cross-national comparison of Japanese and Chinese high school students. Psychological Reports, 79 , 691–700.

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