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Optional course

I'm wondering if there is any good ideas about interesting English optional course we can open for our students in senior high school.

Topics: literature

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  • Oct 21 2013: Juliette, Mary and Anna,
    First, I want to say that I understand Anna's possible course offering is probably at least 3 or 4 months away, so there is no urgency of planning the teaching materials yet. But I have a little further thought on the "conversation" acts and or training for the course content. In my opinion, the main purpose of this sort of training is to prepare the students to be able to speak with either some group of exchange students from the West, or it would serve as a preparatory course for the students when they will eventually go through college and employed as contact persons to deal with foreign visitors. For both matters, we shouldn't train them to be only able to tell only some Chinese stories filled with Chinese names, Chinese traditions and Chinese values while the Westerners might get lost because their unfamiliarity with these terminology or the background.
    So my idea is to include at least one half of the stories come from Western origin/source, so that it would be a two-way communication that would be enjoyed by both parties. Would you agree? If you agree, I would also like to ask assistance from you two Western ladies to look for appropriate stories in English and edit them to be suitable for the teaching material. Since I have no experience with high school teaching, so I would be lost without your help. I do have some experience about the situation when we have difficulties in finding stories consist of mainly conversations. I realized that in Western opera or Chinese opera or drama, one could always fill the gaps between the conversation with a third party monologue to fill the blanks. Also, it's possible to replace the action or the monologue by introducing/incorporating them into the conversation itself.
    • Oct 22 2013: Bart,

      It's kind of you to be active on this topic and give us so creative ideas.

      Yes,only asking students to use English language to go through Chinese stories is not enough.As you said,I also think that students have to get familiar with the background knowledge,such as their life styles,attitudes,economy,politics,culture etc etc,of the target language.Without it,they can not understand language even if they know every word.

      But combining western stories with Chinese ones may not be an easy task. Anyway,I will think and see what kind of Chinese stories are suitable.
      • Oct 22 2013: Anna,
        I think that you misunderstood about the idea of using English conversation in Chinese or English stories. What I meant is that you can use at least 5 or 6 stories separately in one course including some Chinese and some English. You don't have to mix them up at all. However, whether you use Chinese or foreign stories, we must have the students learn the English conversation in the ways that conform to the the modern speaking style of English conversation in order to facilitate their easy understanding when they listen to, or speak in, the English language.
        Normally, the best learning experience for a foreign student to learn English conversation is to talk directly with an English speaking foreigner. The suggested approach probably is the next best. Hopefully, all the students will have the opportunity to play the role of one of the conversation participants, in addition to listening in all the other conversations by other classmates. Also as important, the speaking style should be close to the real structure and custom of everyday conversations spoken between two friends in the U. S. or Britain. So the suggested approach serves both the purposes of "practicing" and the familiarity to the properly structured conversation style.
        • Oct 23 2013: Bart,

          I get it. I have kept the stories firstly.

          You said it. The knowledge we learn in the classroom has to connect with students' daily or real life.You know,in many Chinese schools,students learn to pass examinations not to use it in the real world. So I'm always thinking of using ways to balance those two aspects.
      • Oct 22 2013: Anna, I think that you misunderstood about the mixing of Chinese stories with English or foreign stories. What I meant all along is that you could include at least 5 or 6 stories some purely Chinese (translated into English) and some purely English
        The best way of learning conversation English is to have the students to talk directly to an English speaking foreigner. But if it is rather difficult to do so, then this approach should be the next best. Hopefully, every student could play the role of the conversation participant, in addition to listening the conversations made by other classmates. Moreover, the script for these conversations should be edited so that the speaking style should be as close as possible to conform to the structure and style of the everyday conversation between two friends in the U. S. or Britain. In this way, there will be dual benefits for the students in having the experience of a realistic "practice" of, as well as the familiarity to the properly structured or styled, English conversation.
    • W T 100+

      • +1
      Oct 22 2013: Hi Bart,

      There are sites with free children's stories. One is http://www.magickeys.com/books/
      If this idea moves forward. I think it would be a good idea to take from the resources available on line.
      There is a wealth of information out there.

      Your ideas are just wonderful Bart. I think once Anna has the go ahead to open the course, she will be happy to use us in developing the activities.

      I look forward to helping out any way I can.

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