[OP10] How to Teach Large Classes

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[OP10] How to Teach Large Classes

Post  Jongwoo on Mon Jun 02 2008, 23:29

Consider the following statement:

It is impossible to implement effective English language instruction in Korean schools on account of the student to teacher ratio in each class. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not? Use reasons and examples to support your opinion.


Many people believe that class size in Korean schools is too big to implement effective English language instruction. As of today, there are an average of 35 students in every Korean public school classroom. Considering the commonly accepted theory that ideal language classes should contain no more than 12 to 15 students, the ratio of 35 to 1 appears to be an enormous challenge to any language teacher. Tough it may be, however, it is not totally impossible to perform effective English language instruction. By implementing group-work activities and individualized online tasks, the language class can be highly successful with the high level of students' participation. Moreover, team efforts between native and local teachers boost effectiveness of the English language instruction despite adverse class size.

First of all, when teaching large-sized language class, group work activities can make the students' learning process effectively interesting. The two biggest problems of teaching large number of students are lack of interaction and varying students' proficiency levels. In large class, students do not usually have opportunities to practice English with other people. By dividing the class into several groups, however, students have a chance to practice the foreign language with their group members while completing a common language-oriented activity. Moreover, teachers can spare more time to provide advice and counsel to individual groups or students. As for different proficiency levels, teachers may group students with similar language abilities, and assign different activities considering the group members' English skills. In addition, they may want to form groups with students of varying proficiency levels, so that students with better English abilities lead the activities and help the other group members.

Another way of making large-sized language classes effective is to introduce individualized online tasks. With the rapid development of information technology, the Internet has become available to almost everyone in Korea. By employing the Internet environment in and out of the classroom boundary, teachers will be able to deal with different proficiency levels of their students a lot more easily. Instead of facing the entire class simultaneously, teachers just upload a series of activities that differ in difficulty level on an Internet webpage. Each student then accesses and completes one of the activities that suits his or her own English proficiency. While students perform their online tasks individually, teachers move around the classroom and provide insight and assistance to the students.

In addition to group work activities and individualized online tasks, active cooperation between native and local teachers ensures the effectiveness of language classes even when they are over-sized. Through their team efforts, a special language instruction technique, called station teaching, can be implemented. This technique involves dividing the entire class into 5 activity stations, each one of which the local and the native teachers along with student assistants are assigned to. At each station that consists of a round table and chairs, the local and native teachers administer different activities carefully designed to reflect their strength. Moreover, collaborative efforts between local and native teachers allows one of them to provide individual attention and assistance to the students while the other gives instruction to the whole class.

As we have observed, English teachers can be successful with large-sized classes by carefully implementing appropriate strategies. Most of all, group work activities allow students to make enough interactions to practice their linguistic knowledge while they get sufficient assistance from the teacher. Moreover, individualized online tasks and cooperative efforts between native and local teachers will make English language instruction highly effective regardless of the large class size. The current student to teacher ratio in each Korean public school may appear to be an obstacle against effective language instruction. But with proper strategies to maximize students' interactions and teachers' individual attention, it is not impossible to implement effective English language instruction in Korean public schools.
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Re: [OP10] How to Teach Large Classes

Post  Inkab on Tue Jun 03 2008, 17:40

Wow, Jongwoo, I just find out the main ideas of your first 2 paragraphs are exactly the same as mine. I wrote this last week, yet since the computers room in Sadae was closed, I had to write this on the paper. I didn't go through you essay, because I am a litte bit afraid that I might follow your ideas. haha. I will try to come back later. .....(came back) overall contents are quite different from mine and I think your suggestions are quite feasible and insightful. I hope our all plans can be implemented in schools in the nearst future. Gook luck to you!
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Re: [OP10] How to Teach Large Classes

Post  Hyun a Ji on Tue Jun 10 2008, 05:40

I agree with you. Individualized online task and group work is useful when teachers have lots of students in a class. Your opinion is so sophisticated, well-organized. It is realistic each one of which the local and the native teachers along with student assistants are assigned to for now. If class could change like your essay, It is definitely useful for students.
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