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  • ColPlaska
  • Newgookin

    • 4

    • August 28, 2018, 12:04:07 pm
    • Naju South Korea
Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« on: August 28, 2018, 12:31:05 pm »
I totally get how the students are exhausted by my 7pm class, they're hungry and unmotivated to attend. I have been trying for the past month all things I've learnt from past experience and my TEFL - I've taken a bunch of different approaches to the lessons - from beginning with ice breakers, fun word searches, music videos, reading, writing, games, role play - and I am hitting a wall with them. They aren't interested even if presented with their own choices - they turn my "listening and arrange the sentences lesson around" to just listening to "english music" whilst sitting playing games on their phones. If I do give them work they sleep. If it's a break time the disappear for 10/15 minutes to eat.

Should I be a lot stricter? Should I take away phones and make them write? i understand though that some may be forced to be in class and they're teenagers that are self conscious and all that goes with being a teenager. I'm trying to relate to them but I can't even get them to try talk with me on a deeper leave.

Last night I had some of the girls for 2 and a half hours and by the end I was exhausted from their lack of wanting any participation - like I was talking to myself. They were watching the Asia Games on their phones..

perhaps someone has a book recommendation like a history book in english that i could ask my boss to purchase? I am meant to be doing reading and writing with them and memorising texts in exam season... then my boss says try small speaking lessons as well. I am going to be having these students anywhere from 50 minutes to 2 and a half hours 5 x a week and I am dreading them...

Thanks,
Colette


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2018, 03:54:46 am »
Intermediate kids are more harder to motivate. When you do all you can to engage them it feels like you want to just
give up on them. But in the hagwons, it is worse than in the public schools. But your complaints can never outweigh mine because the intermediate kids I teach on the indigenous reserve here in Canada where I work, are worse.


  • JVPrice
  • Expert Waygook

    • 651

    • August 29, 2017, 10:26:13 am
    • Cheongju
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2018, 07:59:30 am »
Intermediate kids are more harder to motivate. When you do all you can to engage them it feels like you want to just
give up on them. But in the hagwons, it is worse than in the public schools. But your complaints can never outweigh mine because the intermediate kids I teach on the indigenous reserve here in Canada where I work, are worse.

Congrats, you've done nothing whatsoever to help the OP.

OP, make sure you've exhausted all your options. Being stricter does help since they'll be forced to pay attention. But at the end of the day, if they truly decide they don't care at all, you're gonna have to roll with it. Teaching is a 50/50 relationship after all. You can't teach if students aren't willing to learn.
The World Ends With You


  • oglop
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1842

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 09:49:47 am »
why would you let them play on their phones all class?  :huh:


  • sh9wntm
  • Veteran

    • 198

    • February 23, 2018, 03:23:39 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2018, 10:05:43 am »
You need to have a class rule of no phones. Maybe bring a basket and label it "phone daycare" where students put their phones before class.

Probe into what they are looking at on their phones and turn it into an English activity. I teach boys so I cater my lessons to things they would be interested in.

For the more mundane things, set a high goal for the class, and give them a good reward (like a pizza party + movie) if they achieve it. Maybe your Hagwon can get behind it. Doesn't hurt to ask.


  • Mr C
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1617

    • October 17, 2012, 03:00:40 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2019, 07:45:53 am »
I would suggest drama activities. Scientifically proven to increase retention of learned phrases.

This is from my Masters (so don't use it for anything Bed or Med-related) and I teach at a college prep school. My upper forms grade 11 (age 16-17) love the charades app (dl google playstore) and this activity. I use it to teach 3rd conditionals but you can use it for any tense, really.

Move your ass bottom!

Grouping: a whole class together
Materials: a chair for everyone
Time: 15-20 minutes
Purpose:  icebreaker, trust

Depending on the age/prudishness of your group, you can call this game “Move your bum” instead.  Stand in the middle of the circle and explain that you are going to share something you have never done before (for example, snowboarding), and that those who HAVE done that activity, must stand up and find a new chair. Then you say something such as  “Move your ass if you have ever gone snowboarding.” Everyone who HAS gone snowboarding before must stand up and run to a new seat, and you will sit down. Since you have taken one of the chairs, there will now be someone without a chair. Now he will have to think of something he has never done. You can make suggestions, such as movies they have not seen, places they have not been, or things they have never tried. You might want to put some boundaries around what they are allowed to say because you might end up finding out more than you wanted to know about your students! This game is a wonderful icebreaker and works very well even with students who speak very little English.
This kind of thing would probably he helpful--get them up and moving (but first take away those phones!) "Station" activities might be good; get them into pairs or small groups and they rotate around the room to stations with puzzles to solve like unscrambling, rebuses, word clouds, decoding and the like.  It is prep-heavy though.

They doubtless like music, so find some of those K-pop quiz games, last man standing activities or just listening with fill in the blanks of the lyrics.

Develop a routine, where for X time we'll write practice exam questions, then we'll play a game.  After break we do so-and-so ...

Good luck!


  • minab91
  • Waygookin

    • 23

    • September 10, 2014, 10:40:31 am
    • Suwon, South Korea
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 09:36:51 am »
Quote
Move your ass bottom!

Grouping: a whole class together
Materials: a chair for everyone
Time: 15-20 minutes
Purpose:  icebreaker, trust

Depending on the age/prudishness of your group, you can call this game “Move your bum” instead.  Stand in the middle of the circle and explain that you are going to share something you have never done before (for example, snowboarding), and that those who HAVE done that activity, must stand up and find a new chair. Then you say something such as  “Move your ass if you have ever gone snowboarding.” Everyone who HAS gone snowboarding before must stand up and run to a new seat, and you will sit down. Since you have taken one of the chairs, there will now be someone without a chair. Now he will have to think of something he has never done. You can make suggestions, such as movies they have not seen, places they have not been, or things they have never tried. You might want to put some boundaries around what they are allowed to say because you might end up finding out more than you wanted to know about your students! This game is a wonderful icebreaker and works very well even with students who speak very little English.

Where I'm from we call this "I Never". For example, the kid in the middle says "I never went snowboarding" or "I never had a cavity".  If your kids are high level enough and can handle present perfect tense, you can teach them "I've never been snowboarding".


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 12:19:29 pm »
I totally get how the students are exhausted by my 7pm class, they're hungry and unmotivated to attend. I have been trying for the past month all things I've learnt from past experience and my TEFL - I've taken a bunch of different approaches to the lessons - from beginning with ice breakers, fun word searches, music videos, reading, writing, games, role play - and I am hitting a wall with them. They aren't interested even if presented with their own choices - they turn my "listening and arrange the sentences lesson around" to just listening to "english music" whilst sitting playing games on their phones. If I do give them work they sleep. If it's a break time the disappear for 10/15 minutes to eat.

Should I be a lot stricter? Should I take away phones and make them write? i understand though that some may be forced to be in class and they're teenagers that are self conscious and all that goes with being a teenager. I'm trying to relate to them but I can't even get them to try talk with me on a deeper leave.

Last night I had some of the girls for 2 and a half hours and by the end I was exhausted from their lack of wanting any participation - like I was talking to myself. They were watching the Asia Games on their phones..

perhaps someone has a book recommendation like a history book in english that i could ask my boss to purchase? I am meant to be doing reading and writing with them and memorising texts in exam season... then my boss says try small speaking lessons as well. I am going to be having these students anywhere from 50 minutes to 2 and a half hours 5 x a week and I am dreading them...

Thanks,
Colette

That  simply is way too long for a foreign language class.

O.P., much of this will depend on your director or first line supervisor.  Don't expect them to have the ability to lead by example or provide solid solutions.  However, you can present the situation to the powers that be and simply see what can come of it.  Be prepared for the blame to fall on you, though. 

I would recommend trying to get those phones out of the classroom.  Your school should have taken the initiative on that, already.  Perhaps, you can have one student designed as the "house mouse", in charge of using a phone for learning purposes that benefit the entire class.  In regards to being more strict, again...your school should be taking the initiative and leading from the top, on matters, such as the amount of time taken for a break. 

A previous poster was correct...if students don't want to learn then that is that.  But, don't let the school put the blame on you, entirely.  If you don't have the backing or support of the boss, then it is all moot (which, happens all to often in Korea).  If you try to be hard and strict, it will make things worse.  If you simply pander to them and become a doormat, that is a no win situation as well. 

Perhaps you can bring in the boss and get some translation to them, saying that you understand their position and probably would feel the same way. Perhaps allowing a few snacks or drinks during the long classes would not be a problem (as long as they clean up after themselves and are capable of closing their mouths while chewing). But in order to get through the class, a few things need to be accomplished...if you can convince them that a little effort is a win-win situation, it can make it much easier.

There are only so many tricks and empowerment tactics one can use before it really is a waste of breath, time and effort.  Much of those things can be considered smoke and mirrors anyway.  It is a good bet the parents won't care and will only blame you, if they knew how their kids were acting (lack of the fear of consequences).  That  very well may inspire you to set your own phone in a strategic place, recording what is going on...or not. 

Good luck to you, OP.  I empathize. 



  • Periwinkle
  • Veteran

    • 161

    • December 13, 2010, 06:34:34 am
    • South Korea
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 02:17:05 pm »
It is difficult to rein them in once you have lost them and unfortunately, you have lost them. :undecided:  As someone else said, it is tricky to motivate secondary Ss but here a few suggestions:

1. While you might be uncertain of your abilities, do not allow Ss to witness your moments of disorganization (we all have those days) and that you're afraid to discipline. Always exude confidence during class time regardless of your mindset.  At the first sign of weakness on your part, they will hang you out to dry from that day onward. Set rules from day one and do not stray from them. Never yell or scream at them, if they are out of control, ask for co-teacher assistance OR employ your own simple ideas. One technique that I have found effective is to stand rigid and silent with a blank expression but steady eye contact with students until they are focused and all eyes on me. It shows that I am prepared and ready while they are not.  This has worked for me without fail in both middle and high schools. Not gonna lie though, in some cases with rowdy students after activity time, I have broken out the "hully gully" bell in addition to the rigid silence. 
For discipline, Ss will have to sit in a chair which I've termed the "baby chair" and sit next to me while I am teaching their peers.  Secondary students HATE it and the threat of this alone is enough to command attention and obedience. Who wants to sit next to the teacher and away from friends?! Quite embarassing and not cool in the eyes of teenagers.  In addition, you can also just change seating assignments if you prefer not to use the  "baby chair." . My students have learned to understand and respect these rules as I use them consistently. Establish clear daily goals. Let them know what to expect from you and vice versa.

2.  Provide positive reinforcement.   Let students choose what they'd like as gifts within reason (notepads, pens, self-study day, etc.). Set up a consistent and sustainable rewards system (preferably something that does not involve sugar rushes).

3.  Establish rapport with them in and out of class. Share and exchange fun and personal anecdotes, study their likes and dislikes and build your lessons around those things.  Let them get to know and see you as an actual person, not just a robotic teacher. Always smile and be friendly but do NOT befriend them. You can be friendly without being friends.

4.  NEVER EVER allow students to bring phones to nor use phones in your class for any reason. In cases of emergency, they can report to their homeroom or other teachers as necessary.

5. Be firm but not strict.  You don't have to be a circus clown but you are not a drill instructor either.  Strike a balance between the two.

If all else fails:
Don't play favorites but concentrate on those who actually want to learn.  Don't waste your energy otherwise.  Keep the optimisim that things will get better,  learn from your previous mistakes and plan wisely for the next semester or year.


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 07:15:59 pm »
First, off a ton of good advice here. I second Periwinkle's advice. That's excellent behavioral management advice. Secondly, I can empathize with you as well. I think a lot of us can. I've been in a similar situation at a zoo of an academy in Bundang.

Let me stress that a lot of the advice below is purely SURVIVAL advice, not necessarily teaching advice.

If you can get them off their phones and only speaking in English you've won half the battle.  They don't have to 'study' they just can't speak Korean in the classroom. I recommend instituting a new rewards system involving FOOD to back this up. Rewards them with a ramen or chicken party every two months if they don't speak Korean in the classroom. Put five starts on the board every class, and erase a star each time they speak Korean. If they have one star left by the end of the class they get a point. Once they collect 8 or 16 points, depending on how often you teach them they can have a food party. Make sure to reward them as a class in this way, you probably won't be able to gain control of their behavior by way of each individual student.

Try to get them to speak to each other rather than yourself, I built a conversation book for teenagers by topic with Korean translations, and to this day that is one of my few go-to's with a bunch of teenagers. You'll be surprised how much they are interested to talk to each other if you give them some fun questions to ask each other. I can PM that to you no charge if you want just message me or lemme know in a reply or whatnot. I simply haven't been able to find some fun ones with translations otherwise. Afterward, just ask them what they learned from each other. They get a kick out of reporting interesting info they've gathered.  After that, just do fun speaking activities based on the conversation topic you've covered.  Say the topic is food. Give them a fun TRUE or FALSE teacher quiz afterward. Include your kids in the quiz. 1) Johnny loves really spicy chicken. 2)  Tim hates Japanese food. 3)  Alex can eat 8 slices of pizza. You can find out whether the statements are true or not along with the rest of the class afterward. Reward the student with the best score.
Co-creator of HSIP adult academy and halandstevenglish @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/halandsteveenglish


  • debbiem89
  • Super Waygook

    • 424

    • August 30, 2016, 09:42:49 am
    • South Korea
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 03:16:46 pm »
So first things first...no phones. Why on earth would they be allowed phones?

If I see phones/make up/mirrors  in class once...I take them. Some of the things they bring...that annoying slime crap, snacks etc even goes swiftly into the bin. But yeah basically don't let them be distracted with other things.

You need to find the right games. My middle schoolers are tough... I get sleepers, eye rollers, talkers, get up-and-wander-aimlessly-around-the-classers....they hate doing basically any studying and generally aren't impressed with "fun" activities.

Once you find a couple of games or activities they actually don't mind…you've got them. (For mine its usually team games with a bit of competition going!). I work in two schools and they like totally different things...it'll be a hit in one school and a disaster in another.....trial and error. Don't get discouraged if one class hates something.

I'm pretty strict...they know when I'm not playing, BUT I have to say the thing that has cracked them the most...is chatting to them...getting to know them a bit, helping them relax in my class.

Honestly, I would be close to angry tears every class in one school (all boys soccer school...) and it was only once I mellowed myself a little and had a bit of fun (basically stopped letting myself get stressed or upset) that I got anywhere. I soon knew which students could take a bit of a ribbing, what their strengths/weaknesses were, whether they were painfully shy and needed to not be put on the spot etc.

I've used their interests to engage them (as someone else mentioned)...for example the school mentioned above I organised a school wide World Cup sweep and another school I focused lessons on Pop music etc.

They definitely warmed to me and now I have to kick them out of my office where they congregate at lunch to give me crap about the latest Premier League scores. I still have behavior issues to some extent but it's manageable and we get stuff done.


I know that sounds really conflicting...but if you just go strict bringing lots of rules and discipline and NOTHING else...they won't listen. It becomes white noise. The balance is so important and where you strike it can be totally different for each class.

Apologies if that wasn't at all helpful. I'm sure you'll find your way and it'll improve :)


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2019, 09:45:51 am »
This "no-phones" banter is a bit loud. 

Designating one student to be in charge of utilizing the bilingual online dictionary (or other research) is not a TEFL crime.  In fact, it can often be used as a learning tool, within itself. 



Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2019, 08:48:50 am »
Middle Schoolers are tricky. Their behavior and interests can vary drastically and shift rapidly. Some classes and groups can still be like elementary schoolers. Others could be moodier and more disconnected than high schoolers. They are also much more apt to follow the popular kid(s) in how they behave.

You could try developing two separate learning tracks. One involves class participation. The other is more independent and gives the student tremendous freedom. Basically you teach the students who want to participate while the ones that are not enthused can choose the independent track. However, that does involve practice with each other (for speaking) and some time interacting with you in terms of speaking to evaluate their progress. This can be difficult and your boss might not support it because students and parents might complain about unequal treatment. You have to make sure you have support before doing this and you have to structure it well and still hold the independent students accountable.

What you should NOT do:

Depending on the age/prudishness of your group, you can call this game “Move your bum” instead.

Assuming the class is more on the "moody and adulty" side, this is absolutely awful advice. Going back to my experience as a middle schooler, if any teacher tried this kind of preschooler activity on me, that would be it. I would interpret that as giving me carte blanche to retaliate and make their life miserable for disrespecting me in such a fashion. I had teachers who did that. Me and my friends responded with active disrespect. We had more respect for the teacher who just had us copy pages of the Bible (Catholic school) into notebooks. Like, there was nothing great about it, but at least we weren't actively being disrespected and would still learn something we valued.

Think about gym class. Would you rather be told to run laps for 10 minutes, or treated like a kid and told to play duck duck goose? Boring isn't the best, but it sure beats humiliating. That kind of game, that right there, that is humiliating. And no, my reaction would not be to acquiesce so I wasn't humiliated further. It would be to find means of retribution.

Quote
I would suggest drama activities. Scientifically proven to increase retention of learned phrases.

These can go either way. If the class shows some inkling, it can work. Let them be a little sophomoric in their content and whatnot and it can go well. Especially if it's a tv show or video game or movie they're all into. Forcing them to act with puppets and costumes of something like "Red Riding Hood" or whatever and they'll just feel talked down to. At least make sure it's age-appropriate. Which means subject matter that is meant for teens or even young adults or even full-on adults.   

This kind of thing would probably he helpful--get them up and moving (but first take away those phones!) "Station" activities might be good; get them into pairs or small groups and they rotate around the room to stations with puzzles to solve like unscrambling, rebuses, word clouds, decoding and the like.  It is prep-heavy though.
This can be good. Sort of akin to an escape room. Like Mr. C says, it is prep-heavy, but it can break up the monotony and get people interested. If you can get down a good system, you might be able to reuse it repeatedly, with only minor changes. Basically, having a template and you just need to input the relevant vocabulary.


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2019, 08:56:44 am »
I would suggest drama activities. Scientifically proven to increase retention of learned phrases.

all good advice.  if the class is sleepy and tired, trying to inject some movement into it, is the best first stop.  moving away from the traditional Korean lecture style teaching will seem a little strange to students at first, but overall it works.  movement linked with discussion and practicing is more effective.  also getting students to do new things is a way to help them develop.



Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2019, 09:56:39 am »
What you should NOT do:

Depending on the age/prudishness of your group, you can call this game “Move your bum” instead.

Assuming the class is more on the "moody and adulty" side, this is absolutely awful advice. Going back to my experience as a middle schooler, if any teacher tried this kind of preschooler activity on me, that would be it. I would interpret that as giving me carte blanche to retaliate and make their life miserable for disrespecting me in such a fashion. I had teachers who did that. Me and my friends responded with active disrespect. We had more respect for the teacher who just had us copy pages of the Bible (Catholic school) into notebooks. Like, there was nothing great about it, but at least we weren't actively being disrespected and would still learn something we valued.

Think about gym class. Would you rather be told to run laps for 10 minutes, or treated like a kid and told to play duck duck goose? Boring isn't the best, but it sure beats humiliating. That kind of game, that right there, that is humiliating. And no, my reaction would not be to acquiesce so I wasn't humiliated further. It would be to find means of retribution.

I think you're being a bit hard on what is essentially an evergreen ice-breaker/perfect tense practice.  Did you actually read the description of the game?  I suspect you might have just read his name for it, "move your ass", and blew your top without reading on.


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2019, 10:21:03 am »
I think you're being a bit hard on what is essentially an evergreen ice-breaker/perfect tense practice.  Did you actually read the description of the game?  I suspect you might have just read his name for it, "move your ass", and blew your top without reading on.
No, I read the game. Moving around and sitting in chairs is for elementary kids. The average middle school kid is dog tired and standing up and walking around for the sake of "FUNNN!!!" is pointless and demeaning. These kinds of ice-breakers are really risky because if you have a class of "serious" or even just "tired" types or middle-schoolers who don't want to be seen as kids, then this backfires tremendously.

For people concerned with respect, power, strength, etc. These kinds of things are not seen as encouragement, but as a challenge and middle-school is when this will first start to crop up. They may not be able to articulate those feelings at that point, but that is what they are feeling and they will not respond kindly. Some of them are starting to reach the point of "I don't fancy games and cartoon characters. Tell me what I need to learn and I'll study it."

It's better to be boring and treat people fairly and decently than trying to be fun and end up being demeaning.


  • SanderB
  • Super Waygook

    • 308

    • June 02, 2018, 06:25:54 pm
Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2019, 10:26:39 am »
Never mind him, he's anti-academic and has weird views about dominating students  ;D
But fine, disregard my ideas MrdeMartino is the shining beacon for us all. I'm so dumb for even thinking I could help out!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 10:33:26 am by SanderB »
green everything


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2019, 10:27:38 am »
I think you're being a bit hard on what is essentially an evergreen ice-breaker/perfect tense practice.  Did you actually read the description of the game?  I suspect you might have just read his name for it, "move your ass", and blew your top without reading on.
No, I read the game. Moving around and sitting in chairs is for elementary kids. The average middle school kid is dog tired and standing up and walking around for the sake of "FUNNN!!!" is pointless and demeaning. These kinds of ice-breakers are really risky because if you have a class of "serious" or even just "tired" types or middle-schoolers who don't want to be seen as kids, then this backfires tremendously.

For people concerned with respect, power, strength, etc. These kinds of things are not seen as encouragement, but as a challenge and middle-school is when this will first start to crop up. They may not be able to articulate those feelings at that point, but that is what they are feeling and they will not respond kindly. Some of them are starting to reach the point of "I don't fancy games and cartoon characters. Tell me what I need to learn and I'll study it."

It's better to be boring and treat people fairly and decently than trying to be fun and end up being demeaning.

Then I think we have wildly different definitions of "demeaning".

When I studied Korean we used to play a game where the teacher would give us a verb and we would have to act it out in front of everyone else.  I'm in my 30s.  Did my Korean teacher demean me?


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2019, 11:45:38 am »
I think you're being a bit hard on what is essentially an evergreen ice-breaker/perfect tense practice.  Did you actually read the description of the game?  I suspect you might have just read his name for it, "move your ass", and blew your top without reading on.
No, I read the game. Moving around and sitting in chairs is for elementary kids. The average middle school kid is dog tired and standing up and walking around for the sake of "FUNNN!!!" is pointless and demeaning. These kinds of ice-breakers are really risky because if you have a class of "serious" or even just "tired" types or middle-schoolers who don't want to be seen as kids, then this backfires tremendously.

For people concerned with respect, power, strength, etc. These kinds of things are not seen as encouragement, but as a challenge and middle-school is when this will first start to crop up. They may not be able to articulate those feelings at that point, but that is what they are feeling and they will not respond kindly. Some of them are starting to reach the point of "I don't fancy games and cartoon characters. Tell me what I need to learn and I'll study it."

It's better to be boring and treat people fairly and decently than trying to be fun and end up being demeaning.

Then I think we have wildly different definitions of "demeaning".

When I studied Korean we used to play a game where the teacher would give us a verb and we would have to act it out in front of everyone else.  I'm in my 30s.  Did my Korean teacher demean me?

When I was in the equivalent of middle school, I remember in an English/drama class being told to put on a mask, adopt a voice to go with the mask then stand in front of the whole class and say something funny. Now that was demeaning.


Re: Help Please: Sleepy, hungry and bored Middle Schoolers
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2019, 11:52:31 am »
Never mind him, he's anti-academic and has weird views about dominating students  ;D
But fine, disregard my ideas MrdeMartino is the shining beacon for us all. I'm so dumb for even thinking I could help out!
Not anti-academic, just saying it has its limits and must be used in conjunction with other means to formulate decisions and actions.

You've talked before about respecting students. You are absolutely right. Not talking down to them is part of respect. Just as the chain of command and authority, when done properly, also respects them.

Then I think we have wildly different definitions of "demeaning".

When I studied Korean we used to play a game where the teacher would give us a verb and we would have to act it out in front of everyone else.  I'm in my 30s.  Did my Korean teacher demean me?

I think that adults might actually be more receptive to such activities than kids, sometimes. In a fun, casual environment, these kinds of activities can get people feeling nostalgic and loose.

Other times, you can get a room full of adults thinking "WTF, I'm not 10 years old. What is this?" Like I said, with these it is not a certainty, but this is the kind of thing that if not done right (or even if done right) can lose a classroom whereas something more "boring" may be more appropriate.

But yes, middle-schoolers can be hypersensitive about this sort of thing and it MIGHT be better to forego such kinds of activities. Like I said, it can also work, but given what OP said about her class, this method seems more likely to backfire than succeed in my view. This is especially true in classes where the kids are forced to be there, rather than choose to be there.

Korean class where everyone signs up and wants to be there and wants to meet new people? Probably works. Korean class as part of some EPIK seminar where people are forced to be there? Yeah, some childish game will only make people even more disengaged.

Some teachers may be "boring" and authoritarian and "stiff" but a lot of times the students do in the end respect the teacher and the class, even if they aren't always enthusiastic. It's a fine line. Go too hard and you're a disrespectful tyrant. Go too soft or too childish and that's another form of disrespect.