Random Thought #94@( – Mixing Up Classes

So here it is, the moment of genius I had while in bed last night. Conversation classes (actually at the time last night I thought all classes, but that now seems a tad ridiculous, that’s why this project will be fun!) should be mixed classes wherever possible. But I don’t just mean mixed ability, I mean mixed everything. Mixed ages, mixed levels, mixed sexes, mixed ethnicity, mixed goals, mixed hair styles, mixed occupations and anything else that can be mixed. I think this because the goal of a general conversation classroom is usually to learn how to converse, I think it is anyway. Not to learn how to converse with someone from the same place, who can speak at a similar level and has had similar life experiences. That person, you will probably just speak in your L1 with! yet this industry seems obsessed with categorising and streaming our students. What do you reckon, is it time to mix it up?

For more random thoughts they will all be posted here.

Edit: People complained my numbering system was too standard. I agree. I have a new numbering system, that isn’t random.

 

Comments

Lawrence
18/11/2013 02:16

This makes sense to me. As far as I can remember language teachers always used to make us pretend to do this when conversing anyway. Pretend to be talking to someone older, pretend to be talking to your boss, pretend to be talking to a parent, pretend to be talking to a waiter, pretend to be talking to a friend, etc etc. Why not just make them do it to as far an extent as is possible within a school? I think especially for younger children to talk to the older ones would work fantastically!

Reply
Alex
24/11/2013 16:45

Ye you’re exactly right Loz, I still make my students do this, which is pretty ridiculous. I think even if it wasn’t every lessons, but just one period a month or something to create so genuine conversation as opposed to faking it.

Reply
Billy
18/11/2013 03:38

idealistically, definitely good for authenticity, and preparing students for real life english use – I know how you love your ELF – but in terms of feasibility where are you going to get students with different L1s? You’re in one of the world’s most homogeneous countries.Mixed levels leads to the usual problems, and mixed genders… I can’t imagine that encouraging communicativeness in high school boys haha.

Reply
Alex
19/11/2013 17:44

Hi Billy, thanks for the comment. I agree, feasibility would definitely be an issue. But I do keep nagging my school to give me mixed genders, I figure they are asking me to teach them how to communicate with all people, not just half the people in the world and I genuinely think communicating with the opposite ex is a very different ball game to communicating with the same sex. It could be very interesting though!!! lol

Reply
19/11/2013 23:10

Love it. While teaching in Korea doesn’t always allow us to mix things up as much as perhaps we would like, in our role as facilitator, we should aim to do so as much as possible. I would say 80% of the learners I teach are university students, and the other 20% workers or housewives. I always try to pair up the workers with the students, and almost always the conversations that follow are much more interesting than the conversation between two freshman English lit students. Putting two similar people together, they can already guess how the other person feels or thinks about a topic, and then there is no real need for communication.

Reply
Alex
24/11/2013 16:41

Hi David! I really wish I had that opportunity, I get really frustrated by the fact I am absolutely locked in to having single sex, same age classes (even though I teach in a mixed school). I’ve tried explaining to the school that such a policy makes my job near in impssible but they won’t have it. As you say, the problem is, and I really believe it affects communication, they already know everything about each other. Everything we do in English class is just a repeat of what they already know, but in a different language.

Thanks for your read and comment, it’s very appreciated.

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