work report

Work Report

 

Stages:

 

Stage 1 (August 1, 2006March 1, 2007)

 

We combine two jobs into one and do them alternately on Stage 1. We do the new lessons of Book 3 and meanwhile we revise all the three books.

 

Senior English for China 3

 

The focus is put on three parts of a unit of Book 3 – the vocabulary list, Reading A and Reading B. Special attention has been given to the words in Book 3, especially those listed in the Hubei NMET Syllabus. Still we believe most of the vocabulary in Book 3 is not required on the test syllabus. Four periods of 45 minutes is spent on a unit. It is commonly agreed among the staff that in such a short time teaching and learning new vocab items in the two texts is effective. It would be boring to do them without a context, or simply to explain them from a dictionary.

 

The first-round revision

 

We do not spend a lot of time going over the old lessons. In the self-study period in the early morning, the students are supposed to read through the units we are revising. In daytime lessons, we revise by doing more exercise using a book titled Dao Yu Lian. The book offers a lot of hands-on work instead of ABCD-choice questions. One period is spent on ONE unit.

 

Stage 2 (March 1, 2007June 6, 2007)

 

On this stage we combine two jobs into one – training in separate skills and simulation tests.

 

Training in Listening, Sentence Completion, Cloze Test, Reading Comprehension and Writing

 

We use the relevant materials from a company based in Wuhan. However, we find the material is not of a high standard. Therefore, special effort is given to two areas – Sentence Completion and Cloze Test. For the majority of students, Sentence Completion and Cloze Test are headaches.

 

Simulation tests

 

Papers for simulation tests come from a variety of sources. Papers from English Weekly, Papers ordered through the school, and Papers from other schools in Hubei are used. A test is given weekly and results are analysed. We believe on this stage it would be a mistake to do whatever there could be. In most schools teachers will receive more than enough. It is wise to choose carefully.

 

Materials

 

Course books

 

Senior English for China 1, 2, and 3

 

Dao Yu Lian, a comprehensive book of revision

 

We find this book of high quality both in content and in accuracy. Mistakes and errors are rare in this book.

 

English Weekly, a language coaching paper from Shanxi

 

We use the paper mainly for the tests. The tests are scientifically compiled and the difficulty level is well controlled.

 

Daily Practice, a daily paper of ten questions in various forms designed by the staff members

 

All the students have to answer ten questions in various forms every day. Daily Practice helps the students build up their knowledge of the language. It does not take long to finish. It is not a burden to the students.

 

Reading Practice (R. P.)

 

R. P. takes place twice a week, on Wednesday evenings and Thursday evenings. Each session lasts 15 minutes. The students have to read 2 passages and answer the corresponding multiple-choice questions. The work is collected and checked. We choose the material very carefully.

 

Listening Practice (L. P.)

 

L. P. takes place thrice a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Each session lasts around a quarter. A listening test is done each time. The students listen and check their own answers. The teacher’s assistant is responsible for playing the audio.

 

Simulation Papers from Qing Yu Lan

 

We choose some of them for the last stage. However, we do not recommend them, for the questions are not very scientific. The difficulty level is not controlled satisfactorily.

 

Lessons

 

1. Teach and learn English properly

 

In the last year of high school, the first priority is to get the students’ grades increased. Time is limited, goals high and stress great. Both teachers and students tend to rush. However, teachers should keep in mind that the language has to be taught and learned properly to ensure that students’ language proficiency is bettered. Good grades result from better language proficiency.

 

One common practice found on this stage of high school is to spoon feed. The theory is that the more English exercises you force your students to do, the more tests you give your students, the better grades will follow as a consequence.

 

Is it really so? Teaching and learning by spoon feeding is boring and painful. And worse still, teachers with such practice are rewarded with praise from school leaders. They are “RESPONSIBLE” teachers, they say.

 

We can be responsible in a lot of other ways than that. We have to be responsible for teaching and learning the language in a meaningful way, in the right way.

 

What is the right way then? Most teachers working in the classroom know the answer. We try to inspire our students. We are their guide in their endeavor to learn about the language and to improve their skills in reading, listening, speaking and writing.

 

Whatever methods are employed in this school year’s teaching and learning, our goal is clear. Rushing and spoon feeding do not necessarily bring about better grades. Proper teaching and learning is the way for the students to improve themselves in language proficiency and therefore to perform well in the exam.

 

2. Comradeship

 

A number of teachers of English cooperate in the last year of high school. Usually we share the same office. We work on the same schedule. We face the same challenges. Of course we have to do our classes well. But that is not enough. Cooperation between the staff members is vital to the teaching and research in the year. Sympathy and rapport between the members should abound. Indifference and hatred should be avoided.

 

3. Change

 

The biggest change that has occurred in the NMET Hubei 2007 is the new type of exam question – Sentence Completion. News comes in late and students and teachers tend to panic.

 

Every year probably there is some change. The first guideline is not to panic. Teachers should try to calm the students down. Next, try to examine the change and find out what it is in essence. And then take necessary action to cope with the change. Our team follow the three steps and the students take the change the right way.

 

4. The New Syllabus

 

The New Syllabus is more than a guideline on implementing the teaching and learning of Senior English for China. It should be a key reference for the examiners when they set the questions. The New Syllabus tells us what we should teach and how, and the NMET Hubei is a reflection of it. If the exam questions are analysed and compared with the content of the New Syllabus, a lot of correlations are found between the two.

 

5. Materials

 

Most teaching and learning materials for Senior High Schools on the market are TRASH. If we decide to adopt ready-made materials, choose with care and caution. The best way to judge is to choose a random chapter and read it through and we will come to the right opinion of it. More often than not, a lot of errors are found. Do not read the first page only. The first page is no more than a show.

 

Of course it is strongly suggested that materials be created and edited by the staff themselves. This job takes time, patience, hard work, sweat and a good command of the English language and good familiarity with ELT in China and with our students. If any of the above elements should be lacking, materials made by the staff would probably still be trash. In this case, ready-made materials would have to be used.

 

Teaching is dedication. Good teachers know no limit in perfecting their skills and expanding their knowledge. Still only the teacher himself is in a good position to create the best material, tailored to his own students. He knows what his own students need.

 

6. What does the team leader do?

 

The main role of the team leader is one of coordination. He goes between the school leadership and the team members. He goes between members of the team, too. He coordinates and helps arrange daily teaching procedures. However, the team leader cannot replace any member of the team. He should not interfere in the members’ work.

 

7. What do the team members do?

 

Each team member is responsible for his/her own classes. Still a lot of research cannot be done by one member alone. Members should know that without their contribution to the common good of the team, the team leader would be helpless and the whole team would suffer consequently.

 

8. Students’ Grades

 

Students’ grades should be monitored closely in the last year. A teacher should adjust his work according to the rise and fall of the students’ grades. However, a teacher also has to take into account the whole picture. Always remember that English is ONE of the subjects the student has to work with. A teacher has to be optimistic. Avoid the students’ grades over-stressing the teacher and/or the students.

 

9. Keep English into perspective

 

English is only one of the subjects the students are learning. More often than not, some students find English hard or they haven’t learned it well before. Give the students encouragement and create opportunities for them to go higher in their academic endeavor. Even though a student has difficulty in learning the language, it is not the end of the world to him or the teacher. If he is strong in other subjects, he can still enter a fairly good first-class university.

 

10. Why do we teach and how? – the new grade

 

When everyone seems to be preaching higher grades, when teachers and schools are judged and assessed heavily or solely by the students’ performance in the National Matriculation Test, both the teachers and students tend to be misled and blinded. Teachers of English should know well why we teach the language. We teach more than for the exam. There is more to it than just the exam. We are influencing China’s new generation. We are helping shape the country’s future. Be their example and let them be good citizens of the nation.

 

Acknowledgements

 

Our thanks goes to Ms. Shi Bin (teacher with the City High School No. 1), Ms. Sun Kailin (teacher with High School No. 1 Affiliated to ** Motor Corporation), and Mr. He Wei (researcher and supervisor of English teaching in high school **), for their guidance and help.

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