Monday, May 30, 2005

Motivation from link on "EFL Geek"

I had the good fortune to have a comment from EFL Geek on my photo of barley. Followed the link to that blog and was pleasantly surprised as the most recent blog was about one of my favorite topics, motivation. It was actually about another blogger, Karen Garcia, who was writing about motivation.

I was initially struck by the idea of class norms. Ms. Garcia defines norms as "unstated/unspoken rules in a group." I immediately started trying to catalog the norms in just one of my classes. The list would be huge, but here are some that I can think of.

1. The students,
a. when entering the classroom should find a seat to sit in.
b. should be there before the chime rings. (Yes, there are chimes in Japanese universities. That's another norm.)
c. should have thier text book.
d. should feel free to talk until the teacher calls the class to order.
e. should not sleep during class
f. should not eat or drink
g. should not yawn
h. should not wear hats

2. The teacher should,
a. be on time, but not too on time. (a little later is better up to about 10 minutes, even though some teachers are much later than that.)
b. wear appropriate attire
c. do most or all of the talking
d. know everything about the language
e. be there to tell everyone what is right and wrong
f. not eat or drink during class
g. not sit on the desks at any time
h. use Japanese/not use Japanese (varies from class to class)
i. maintain a large social distance from the students

These are just a few of the probably infinite number of norms in my classrooms. This sounds like an interesting area of research to me.


Bee said...

Well, I teach at a bilingual (Franco-Brazilian) secondary school in Sao Paulo, Brazil and the rules for the students are pretty much the same here. For students, I would add that chewing gum should be thrown in the wastepaper basket before entering the room. Younger students usually do not sit down until I greet them and tell them to do so so they have some time to cool down and focus before we start class.

As for teachers in general, they should be in class a few minutes before the bell rings.
I do not use any Portuguese or French with my high school classes, not even in the corridor or at break time and in class, I try to make my students speak most of the time. Writing is usually done at home or at the computer lab.

Daniel said...

This must be an exciting place to teach. Trilingual learners.

Your comments are great insights into another teaching culture. It reminds me that gum is not a problem here. Most students don't use gum at all, but in class is a big no-no. It certainly was an issue for us as students in the US. Not so much at university, but up through high school it sure was.

It's also interesting that you are in class before the bell rings. I almost always am. I start some music and get the day's materials in there at least. Most university level teachers are in about 10 minutes after the bell rings.

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