It is the third week for my English students. It means, to day is the seventh meeting. They are adults who have learned English at elementary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools. They have known about English grammar, they have known some English expressions such as greeting and introduction expressions, like and dislike expressions, etc.
It is the fourth institution where I am teaching at. All those four institutions have different concept. I should follow them, or at least creating my own concept based on their concepts. "There is no best method", but the most appropriate one to the students. Teaching is a creativity. Teachers should always observe and learn.
The first time I met my new students in this institution, I was really sure they could speak English soon as they already learned English. However, the fact was not. They lack practice, lack courage to use English, lack time (They said), and lack recourse: no English books (Just the handbook), no English magazine, and not active online.
It is a short course program, and the students do not intend to learn the theory of English. Their purpose is to be able to use English. It means the teaching and learning activity must be more practice and less explanation. However, they take only three meetings a week as they are also busy in their campus. They also have lots of assignments. It is not enough only practicing at class.
A proverb said, "Experience is the best teacher". To build experience is a key to succeed in this program. My friend who works in Taiwan said that she was learning spoken Mandarin only three months, but it was specific purpose. She only practice Mandarin in the field of her job. But, it is different from English. To work in English country or in a country which requires English skill, students should achieve certain standard which are assessed by TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC. Being able to speak is not enough. It needs hard work on both side teachers and students.
Living in a country where English people or local people who speak English are easily found is a luck for English learners. They can practice all the time with many people, but here in my country, they can't. Thus, community is one solution.
Motivation is nothing if the students are more attached to their friends who have no interest in English. By creating a community, they can keep in touch with English. It can not cover all students, but small community is okay. I did it when I was eighteen.
Today in my class, I want to use interview activity. My students will act as journalist and interview each other. They interview their friends about tourist objects in their hometowns and what their favorite tourist objects, and why they like it. After interviewing friends, they should present it in front of the class. I decide whom should be they interviewed.