Information Gap Student Materials for English Teaching

Teaching Methods of Overseas English

by Paul F. Watson
July 2019

I reflect on teaching English in Thailand. It was demanding for both teachers and students. Foreign English teachers (FETs) walk into a classroom of strangers who do not speak a common language, and yet, are expected to produce results.

A Source for New Approaches: So what is it that Foreign English Teachers (FETs) are doing that works?

  1. Foreign English Teachers (FETs) use Active Learning. Students DO, not LISTEN. The old "shut up and listen to the teacher" method DOES NOT WORK!
  2. FETs break subject matter into logical sequence, with later lessons building on previous learning (same as American schools)
  3. Each "skill set" should be studied with active student involvement.
  4. One hateful aspect of traditional teaching is the lack of student social interaction. Social Interaction of Students is inevitable in a 'happy class'. After you have control of the classroom, turn social interaction into a positive thing. Paired students working on math is one example. A group project to present comparison and/or contrast of US presidential methods to historical WWII dictators could be interesting group project in world history.
  5. Where possible, work students in parallel. Students SHOULD NOT all listen in a group as the teacher interacts with one student.
To implement all of these practices is a challenge; yet, the alternative is continued mediocrity.

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