Thursday, July 29, 2010

End of Camp

Yesterday was the last day of Summer camp. At most schools the NETs will have fun activities for the kids to do, games to play, movies to watch, arts and crafts and other bullshit to waste time with the illusion of teaching. Not at my school.

The Principal and Vice Principal here at asshole middle school think that the best way for students to spend their summer vacation is rote memorization of pointless dialogues. They think students "Need rearn diaroges for implove Englishee."

Last winter I spent two weeks planning fun activities and games that focused on improving the students conversation and listing abilities. Those were scrapped the week before camps began and replaced with 3 hours a day of dialogue practice and memorization. Never mind that none of them can speak or write in more than a three word sentence, and 90% of the time those sentences either begin with "Teacher" or "I'm". So I am not sure how memorization of the dialogue for making a hotel reservation is going to help them if they lack the ability to understand what the hell they are memorizing.

When the head of the Englishee dept asked me for plans for summer camp, I saw it coming. So I created simple pointless dialogues for the kids to "memorize" for the benefit of the Principal and Vice Principal, since if either of them showed up, it would only be for the first 15 minutes of class anyway. Then we would do fun activites for the next two hours. But then the VP decided that my dialogues were too short, and demanded twice as much as I prepared.

They wanted me to cut the fun activities and spend the whole three hours with memorization, practice, and drilling of the dialogues, which are simple but completely useless for the students to memorize. Even though I tried to dumb them down as much as possible they still had trouble with them.

Here is one of my dialogues:

Mike: What do you want to do tomorrow?
Sumin: I don’t know. How about a movie?
Mike: Yeah, that sounds like it will be fun.
Sumin: What do you want to do before the movie?
Mike: We could go out to eat.
Sumin: Yeah we should go get some hamburgers.
Mike: Ok, then let’s do that.
Sumin: Yeah lets!

I asked the students questions about it.

Me: Are Sumin and Mike going to eat before or after they watch the movie?
Student1: Hamburger?
Me: no.
Student2: Mike?
Me: Are Sumin and Mike....Going to eat.... Before or After... They watch the movie?
Student3: Hamburger?
Me: no. When are they going to eat? Are they going to eat BEFORE the movie, or are they going to eat AFTER the movie?
Student4: Hamburger?
Me: If the answer was not Hamburger the first two times...
Student 5: Mike?

The dialogues were pointless and boring and the VP loved it. But I did not want to spend 3 hours a day on it, so for all my classes I had the students read it out loud one time then move on to the next one. That way we would still have time to do fun activities that they might actually learn something from.

I asked my the head of the English dept. how the hell this was suppose to help the students with their English when they did not understand the dialogues at all. She told me "Students not understand diarogue, just repeat it untir dey understand." I guess that is why when you tell a Korean that you do not speak Korean they keep talking to you in Korean, they all think if you repeat something enough times the other person will just magically figure it out. I can guarrentee you however, if I have no fucking clue what you said the first time, i will have no fucking clue the next three times you say it, so save your breath.

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