Way Back Then? Big Classes were Terrible!
I remember back to my first year teaching in a Korean university, way out in the countryside of Chungcheongnam-Do. I taught writing and freshman English to classes of 40+ students. The writing students I saw for 3 hours/week, while the freshman English classes, I only taught for 1, 1.5 hour session. It felt like I was throwing some spaghetti at the wall and praying it would stick. My own inexperience, combined with the huge classes and minimal time that I say my students meant that not a whole lot ended up sticking at all! I would even venture a guess and say that my students learned precisely nothing. And it was really stressful for me! All that homework I had to grade and tests I had to administer! It was a serious trial by fire to say the least.
10 Years Later? Love the Huge Classes!
But almost 10 years later, and more huge classes of 40+ students than I could count on two hands, I eventually figured it out. Big classes don’t have to be terrible. Actually, over time, I started to like them better than the small ones. There was just more energy and as long as you could harness that energy for good, there was a lot of potential for great things. The key is using ESL activities that are designed for huge classes! And you also need to really consider how to make your class as student-centred as possible. Obviously having one big conversation with the teacher and class is pretty terrible, and also really boring for the students. Plus, it doesn’t work in most parts of Asia because no student wants to stand out in front of 40 of their peers.
Top 10 ESL Activities for Big Classes
Check out this SlideShare presentation where I share my Top 10 ESL Activities for Big Classes. They are all student-centred and not that difficult to set up or prepare for. Enjoy! And please comment below and tell me your favourite activity for classes of 40+ students.