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  • Cohort 2019
  • Adventurer

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If you could design your own curriculum...
« on: October 02, 2019, 10:01:41 pm »
I need some help from the only people I know who can help me: current or former ESL teachers.

The reason being is that everyone around me is gung-ho on Grammar-translation teaching and the current curriculum is absolutely not working well for these type of fast-learning, large working memory, high IQ students.

What would you deem absolutely necessary to get your students to Advanced C1-C2 level (Upper-advanced) over the course of a few years, 4 or 5?

Case-description:

Ideal class environment
no word cramming nor any explicit grammar
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 06:06:25 am by Cohort 2019 »
incumbo studiis


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 2338

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2019, 08:31:45 am »
i really like the Advanced ESL books from Speakout, Cutting Edge and New English File. less focus on grammar (like beginner -  upper-int books), but more focus on natural expressions and vocab (although it does have some grammar, which isn't a bad thing). interesting topics too


  • Adel
  • Expert Waygook

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    • January 30, 2015, 12:50:26 am
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Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2019, 04:51:19 am »
I need some help from the only people I know who can help me: current or former ESL teachers.

The reason being is that everyone around me is gung-ho on Grammar-translation teaching and the current curriculum is absolutely not working well for these type of fast-learning, large working memory, high IQ students.

What would you deem absolutely necessary to get your students to Advanced C1-C2 level (Upper-advanced) over the course of a few years, 4 or 5?

Case-description:

Ideal class environment
no word cramming nor any explicit grammar

Short of getting these kids out of Korea, off the top of my head the next best thing that could create intrinsic motivation would be to ask if anyone had suggested incorporating a program such as this https://www.penpalschools.com/


  • Cohort 2019
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Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 03:08:24 pm »
@oglop Thx, but I need a course book without grammar and word lists. So literally all the books that the sales reps have shown me were deductive (grammar rule-> gazillion exercises) but I need an inductive method. Even Life has grammar in it so I think I can't use that either. The reason being is that high IQ children get stuck when we teach them minutiae such as grammar and words and then they try to apply different learning strats but eventually fail and give up. Maybe teaching grammar might be the very worst thing we as teachers could do in class.


That's why I need real ESL teachers to chip in who are used to teaching 'unplugged'. I could perhaps argue that the higher the IQ of the student, the more they are dependent on an ESL teacher who uses videos (visual materials) and interesting talking topics for their fast learning progress. The worst would be to make them sit quietly and write stuff repeatedly (ie. CAE/TOEFL  books).

@Adel Thx, that is actually really interesting and I am absolutely going to implement it into the course. But that still leaves me with around 8 more modules to fill...Any more ideas?

Current situation: I have removed these courses from the curriculum. I was thinking of replacing the literature parts with Asian literature or African literature, but I haven't the foggiest outside the realm of the usual Asian-American authors and J. Coetzee from SA who only writes about dreary material such as people getting raped at the homestead.

vocab 500     

vocab 1000

vocab 1500 words

Grammar books (2x)


Literature
Canterbury Tales
Shakespeare


This is still early days, perhaps I should report back to this thread every now and then, as it would have interested me as well if I had been in Korea, because I distinctly remember how some students would completely outperform other kids and were just incredibly bored by the stupidly repetitive US Army Corps Audio-Linguistics method that is used virtually everywhere in Korean kindys and school. Tutko Ttarahaseyo il bon: Hi, I am Minsoo. How are you? 50 students : I am Minsoo! :rolleyes:


« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 10:23:27 pm by Cohort 2019 »
incumbo studiis


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 2338

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 07:52:12 am »
you could just skip the grammar sections. or just use books like Speaking Extra/Listening Extra or communicative ones like Instant Discussions

eslbrains has good video-based lessons. or just make your own using TED talks that are relevant


  • Cohort 2019
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Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 01:07:18 am »
Nice one that looks great! thx. Still 6 more modules needed to replace the curriculum with... :huh:
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 05:13:44 am by Cohort 2019 »
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  • Cohort 2019
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Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2019, 05:09:09 am »
Term 1 report:

It has been a few weeks now and all of the lower and upper Forms (ages 12-18) have finally started to speak English with each other in class. Some of the Year 4s and 5s (ranging from 14-17 years old) make mistakes in the past tense negatives : didn't putted/ I have red instead of read. I also teach 60 students (aged 17-18) in the regular department (non-gifted) whom now finally have started to speak English (L2) as well but reluctantly and under protest. It is a great shame that they have been allowed to speak in their L1 for over 5 years at this high school.

The highly gifted classes have taken a great liking to this methodology and respond well to the visual input as most highly-gifted students do. They show a great dislike of studying words and rote-memorisation drills but are really excited about writing their own fairy tales and the pen-pal project/ One student is writing a Lonely Planet guide to Tolkien's Middle-Earth, another is comparing Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion. Some of the lower Forms (Y2-Y3) mistakenly focus on the book's exercises in class instead of talking with each other. My Y1s (40 students aged 10-12) are considerably better than the Y2s and Y3s already after just 5 weeks of ESL instruction. For some reason most of the Y2s/3s do not seem to study well at all, fulfilling my own expectations according to the research observations from other research in which high IQ students underperform in a regular English class when being exposed to grammar and wordlists. I do not know if I can fix those Years, some of the boys are really not motivated to study at all and procrastinate tremendously. I fear that a firm talking-to as I would have done in Korea would not be appreciated by management.

The upper Forms, especially the Year 4s, have taken a great liking to this style and actively engage in the class discussions. They write really complicated sentence structures when describing scientific processes but then connect them clumsily with abbreviations and randomly appearing Whatsapp-style (=similar app to kaokao) lingo.

This is case 1:

There is no doubt about the fact that earth is warming up faster then ever. The global temperature is increasing rapidly, the sea level is rising and the climate change is ubiqiutous. One of these causes is the melting of glaciers and ice caps in Antarctica, whats happening incredibly fast. Over the past six years or so the rate of the ice loss doubled and is 5 times faster then in 1990. Recent research indicates that the ice is melting by 7 million kilograms a minute, what amounts to 219 billion kilograms a year. Due to this, the sea is rising rapidly.

This is case 2:

This means that we still have to do something about climate change ourselves. The sea level is rising very fast, it already did 8 inches since 1880, and scientists say that it will rise another 1-4 feet until 2100. If we don't do anything, small countries like the Netherlands will disappear underwater and there will be population migration. Because of the melting poles, the permafrost will melt as well, and CO2 will be absorbed in the ocean and acidify it. Coral reefs and fishes will most likely don't have the adaptability to survive, and the biodiversity will degrease. 

Analysis:
Aside from the small grammatical errors which would not lead to any major penalties on their CAE essay tests the students are not trained in writing body paragraphs with a thesis statement and supporting Toulmin logic and summary within each single paragraph. Instead, they keep presenting supporting evidence for several claims presented at random intervals. They have taken the overall 5-paragraph structure onboard so hopefully their next work would have a better paragraph structure.

What is interesting to me is to see that their writing style has started to mirror my 30-minutes-long instructional monologues at the beginning of class, intermingled with academic vocabulary probably sourced via Google translate. I can recognise these structures as mine:

ubiquitous
There is no doubt in my mind that...
Recent research has indicated that...
this means that
and scientists say that
Because of the..., (inversion)

It seems that their passive reading skills are really well-developed and that they are at the brink of being able to reproduce the phrases they are exposed to during authentic exposure from documentaries. I am going to focus on historical BBC documentaries coming term and see if they are able to correct their past negatives without any explicit grammar teaching but purely through social interaction with each other. Their end product will be another essay and an in-class debate.
incumbo studiis


  • Cohort 2019
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Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2019, 08:27:14 am »
I have discovered that at least 2 of the 60 Upper Forms  can't write well at all. Bad spelling and grammar. These students weren't held back and managed to get into high school without knowing how to write English well. This might actually be supporting evidence for my claim that high IQ students shouldn't be taught any grammar because they have finished both CAE Objective books but failed their CAE tests dramatically. Their word usage is very different from the other students, although they all seem to struggle a bit with writing assignments, whether that is down to the books or wrong methodology remains to be seen. The difference with my previous school is stark.

The people who are in the Future Government are better experts then the old people from the normal government, because they have studied more recently. They can make better choices, because they know more about climate change. The people in the old government have forgot almost everything about their study. They can't make choices! People will die because of them. And they don't care. The only thing they care about is money. If they get a high salary, then they are okay.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 10:04:23 pm by Cohort 2019 »
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  • Cohort 2019
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Re: If you could design your own curriculum...
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2019, 10:03:29 pm »
Just a few minutes ago a very last student submitted her work and it is as far as I can see close to perfect, very near to a 230 CPE score :shocked: (5-paragraph argumentative essay with TEXAS body paragraphs and Toulmin logic applied. She is 15 years old and probably already near the highest C2-level. She has just been very quiet and nearly invisible in class for the past few weeks and I had absolutely no idea. She is luckily not in the same group as the other 2 boys but the same age nevertheless. I'm utterly gobsmacked and need to find out asap how she has studied these past few years.

This student is case 4 C2

Quote
How will we reach the climate goals made in Paris in 2016? At this time, it seems quite unlikely. Nuclear energy is a source of energy that should be considered because it is reliable and safe. Nuclear power plants should output more energy and become less expensive. Moreover, they would be a great alternative to burning fossil fuels.

Firstly, the main reason that more nuclear power plants should be built is that they are extremely reliable and safe. This means that one of the only ways to reach our climate goals is to build more nuclear plants. This is particularly evident when it is known that about 40 times more deaths per unit of energy are caused by the burning of natural gas than by the production of nuclear energy. This evidence shows that nuclear energy is indeed remarkably safe.

Secondly, nuclear plants produce more energy than burning fossil fuels and are less expensive overall. In other words, building nuclear plants would increase the output of energy. This is best illustrated by the fact that the amount of fuel required to produce the same amount of power by other power plants is much greater than the amount required for nuclear power plants. This shows that nuclear plants are a lot more efficient. Therefore, building more nuclear reactors would increase the output of energy.

Thirdly, burning fossil fuels should mostly be replaced by nuclear energy. This is necessary because using nuclear energy would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. This is true because nuclear power plants do not emit any greenhouse gasses. This evidence shows that nuclear energy is better for the environment than other energy that does emit greenhouse gasses. In brief, more nuclear plants should be built in order to replace burning fossil fuels.

In conclusion, more nuclear power plants should be built. Not only are they stable and secure but also highly efficient and relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to other sources of energy like burning fossil fuels. Furthermore, they do not contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. All in all, nuclear energy should at least be considered as a viable option while we are trying the meet the challenges that solving the problem of climate change poses to the world.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 10:07:10 pm by Cohort 2019 »
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