Know your audience!

Know your audience!

One pillar of success in the classroom, is knowing your audience. While most here can agree that the typical ESL/EFL classroom in Thailand is not going to be described as a content-rich Liberal Arts environment, the opportunity to utilize the classroom resemble something similar to that of a Seinfeld episode: making something out of nothing.

Very few ("very" being the operative word) have the opportunity to work their craft so that Thai students can explore, ruminate on and learn the conditions and virtues of the human experience. While Mr. Beam claims he is missing the learning targets, in which case, I think he is purposely sandbagging, there is plenty there to work with and what is then sustained, can be the next step in promoting student efficacy ("scaffolding", anyone?).

We all know the concept of working both inside and outside "the box". The typical EFL/ESL classroom is the box. The teacher is the colored dot trying to operate within. It seems to me, in order to create more room for learning opportunities, the smaller the dot is, the more space there is to move about within those parameters.

While the boo-birds will certainly scoff, do ideas on how to mold the classroom into something resembling an active, motivating and communicative learning environment break one's leg or rob one's pocket? One teacher's ideas may not work well in a stuffy dungeon (which they are needed most) but that does not constitute them as weak, or low-level. Remember: the teacher is simply the modeling messenger, while the students (and parents) bare the burden of responsibility for putting the message(s) into practice (no amount of "face saving" can escape that universal truth). Now, just think of the possibilities if that were to happen: Thai students actually doing a bit of homework, practicing what was learned on their own. Should that ever be the case, the boo-birds would be less relevant.

Sharing ideas is a necessity for those wanting to enhance their craft. Moreover, learning any foreign language involves both deductive and inductive thinking. Games can be a great way pathway.


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