Posts tagged teaching jobs in China

Using internet to teach multi classes with one teacher


Evolution of internet classroom teaching

This is how a primary school class evolved into an internet class.

This is a case study about the evolution of how teaching ESL in China evolved from teaching one class to a multi-media classroom with over 300 kids in one grade all being taught by one teacher.

To teaching one class to teaching all the classes in that grade in one school over the internet.

To teaching all the same classes in the one grade over the three different schools in the one private school company.

It is about the trials and tribulations and how having young modern teachers with internet experience and a principle who wanted to use technology even though she didn’t know very much about it herself.

The young teachers were using power point in the classrooms and the classes all had internet access. Just standard stuff nothing spectacular.

I’ve been teaching ESL to kids for a number of years so I know what I am doing. But in China you, as a foreign teacher are expected to do the unusual without any warning.

I started off my China experience in the standard classroom in a primary school with anywhere between 30 and 70 kids in a classroom. That was standard and i perfected my flashcard and drawing on the blackboard teaching.

But then In China nearly every school has a lecture hall they call a multi-media classroom, seats probably 300 and you have a book projector and a white board at the front plus a hand held microphone. It is like a lecture hall with the teacher at the bottom and most students staring down at you. To save money they figured if they put me in there I could teach all the classes at once, except they forgot to tell me that they had changed the schedule. When I got there there was every grade one student, 6 year olds, about 400 of them sitting everywhere. On the stairs and they brought in extra seats for the gap at the front. The kids were actually seated in their class, in the big hall with their English teacher controlling them. I think there was 8 classes in there.

It was a very successful class, I turned it into an entertainment event and the kids loved it, but they all knew me so that was a plus. I taught all the kids in the whole school this way. That was from grade one to six. This was my first experience of teaching a very large class.

Now we get onto the internet bit. I was back to teaching one class at a time and the school, being a private school had to upgrade to get a higher rating in the private school list in the city. So they put these huge 2 meter TV screens hooked up to the internet in all the classroom. There was one young English teacher there who spoke perfect English and had never left China, but she spent a lot of time on the internet. And she figured with my help we could join up all the classes in one grade and I could teach one class and the other classes could watch the class on the TV.

That was easier said than done as the principle said we could give it a go as long as it cost nothing. First we tried I had a strange feeling that is where she went to speak English. It looked good but not really very engrossing and the kids faded out very early on in the class. It was easy to set up we just downloaded the software to most of the computers in grade 1 — 5 and 6 year olds. We had one avatar on each computer. Secondlife dropped the under 13 level I think so we were all on the main virtual world. The little kids were fascinated but the parents were not to impressed, which is nothing unusual.

But in secondlife I couldn’t do anything like the flash cards or writing on the board. So the kids could only repeat what I said. And they could yell and scream as much as they liked and they could hear themselves and they loved it. I used to call out the class number so they could repeat what I said, instead of all the classes answering at once. We all met at the Library of Primatives Sandpit in secondlife. And we could make as much noise as we wanted and nobody cared.

It was really good and we did what we set out to do. Which was one teacher over many classes. To be honest I faded out before the students as I was just repeating myself. After 15 minutes I think we were all pretty bored, so we started looking for something else.

So we tried Now has two big glaring issues, one the screen size is fixed, you can’t go to full screen and there is no return audio, everything is done through a chat box. But it is very easy to set up and very easy for the classes to hook up to and watch the class. But they couldn’t join in.

It was live and I could use the flash cards and write on the whiteboard, which kept me happy. The size was an issue and after the kids realised that I couldn’t hear them they lost interest. When we were on secondlife the kids knew I could hear them so they yelled as loud as they could, and they tried to drown out the other classes.

So we went looking for a free audio and video conference call with as many windows as we could get. To teach all the classes in one grade we needed seven screens. I already had an account with and had used them before when they had 6 screens. Now they have 12 screens, just what we were looking for. We had to download the software just like secondlife, but the learning curve to get it all set up was pretty easy. That meant showing the other teachers how to get online and join in the class. In most of the grades there was an internet apt student that could put it all together.

Anyway we played around with the screen sizes and somehow managed to keep my screen on top so I hogged most of the screen, while the classes videos were on the side bar. Anyway the kids loved it as they could see themselves and me and they knew they were live. In most cases there was just my screen and the class screen visible to one class. We started off with all the classes on the one screen but then we slowly cut a few off. Also we could record my screen and the kids could watch it again whenever they liked.

We thought we were set and we were. The principle took a liking to since the whole school was linked on ustream. And the principle could give talks live to every class and to the whole school. Before she used to use the speakers now she used both.

We finally got all the bugs out of the system and everything was back to normal until. I worked for a private school company and they had a number of schools scattered around the edge of the city. The owners came and had a look at what we were doing and they were very impressed. They wanted to make sure we were not breaking any rules to do with putting stuff up on the internet. Then when they realised we were not uploading anything except me they were quiet happy.

Everything was going well until the foreign teacher left one of the other schools. Then we had to go and set up that school, so they could also receive the video lesson. It was just enough as there were 6 classes in each grade. We had a few more teething problems but we got it together. I first had to go to the other school to give lessons so the kids got to know me. And this way I could alternate between the schools to give the main lesson to different classes. I was doing that now at the main school, so I was actually teaching a different class each time.

When we had a guest teacher in who was just going to give a talk. We would either hook them up to secondlife, so the whole school could join in and listen and ask questions or ustream it. And the kids could just listen.

Having all the classes linked together gave the school a lot more options. Some teachers were worried they would lose their jobs but they were still needed to keep control of the classes during the video lessons.

For more information about teaching in China click here.

Here is the orginial version on scholar

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter


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How Constant Repetition Can Turn You Into A Genius

I was utterly amazed with the National Geographic program My Brilliant Brain. It is amazing what our brains are capable of. After watching the program about the girl chess master it seems that we have to somehow transfer the knowledge from our short-term memory to our long-term memory. In the story when the girl was very young the girl’s father kept showing her different chess moves from the grand masters. This constant repetition instilled her chess knowledge in her long-term memory. This is not an isolated case as the father used the same approach with the younger sisters and the three girls are now all grand chess masters.

I think a similar approach is how we learn reading. When I was a kid I think the Nuns taught me synthetic phonics at school, as that was in vogue at that time. And because we didn’t have as many distractions as the kids of today, we implanted reading in our long-term memory. We did this by reading and more reading. I lived in the library and read a lot and my reading skills now are quite good. I tried a speed-reading course and because I kept at it my reading speed improved. Speed-reading came in handy when I was reading novels or fiction especially science fiction as I love reading that. With science fiction and fantasy you have to imagine what you are reading and that takes you into another realm of speed-reading. Anyway as we get older it is easier for us to read as we have had lots of practice. We have basically implanted the words in our long term memory and we can recall them instantly. I would say very similar to the girl grand chess master. She could instantly recall the many chess moves as they were implanted in her long term memory.

Also I was brought up with a pencil in one hand and to compete in the modern world I had to learn to type. Typing involves memory and with constant repetition typing just becomes second nature like reading. I can now do it without thinking but I first had to implant the different moves of my fingers over the keyboard in my long term memory. And that is where constant repetition comes inby just doing it. To start I had to force myself but over time I settled into the new typing way of not looking at the keyboard. But it did take time. These things don’t happen over night, they just happen.

Now back to reading, I will admit when I was a kid I loved reading so I was pretty close to being a bookworm. I lived in the library and I had an endless collection of books. But it all started with phonics and once I understood the code to turn the word into a sound I understood, I could read. So getting the 44 phonics sounds instilled into your child’s long-term memory is a must. But it does get complicated with the same phonic sounds having many different spellings and meanings. So it takes time but you must get all the different combinations instilled in your child’s mind. Then they must read and read to plant the phonics sounds, meanings and spellings in their long-term memory. Learning the phonics is only half the equation they must use them as they read. This second step is quite crucial so keep them reading. Get them away from the TV and computer until everything is planted in the long term memory then they can read on the computer if they like. Forget the TV if you can.

Now, my daughter had incredible problems and it was only after I started stressing phonics that she slowly improved. Every time she asked me to say a word I would break the word down into syllables and phonics. Then I would read the phonic sounds backwards so she could see the different combinations of letters. Now she is okay but it took a lot of effort on my part. So if your kids are having problems get them started on phonics as early as possible and keep reading to your kids.

I like the Montessori system of teaching writing and reading and this is the course I recommend

Peter Legrove spends most of his time in front of a mixed bunch of kids trying to instill in them some semblance of the road to survive the future.

This article is copyright © peter legrove.

You can use this article on your website or ezine but leave the resource box intact.

All the best teaching your children

Teacher Peter

Church in Secondlife

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