Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Yesterday when I was teaching I kept telling my students that they needed to write everything that I wrote on the board. Then I would begin writing on the board and turn around to see if they were writing too, and they wouldn’t be, so I would ask them to please write everything I wrote on the board. Then five minutes later we would go through the exact same thing. I was getting pretty frustrated and didn’t know how else to make it clearer that they needed to take notes everything, and I really didn’t want to spend the entire year asking them to write every five minutes. After my classes were over I watched my colleague give a lesson. He would write on the board, talk about what he had written, and then after he was done speaking, say “now you can copy” and they would all write diligently (though painfully slowly). Today I tried that and it worked brilliantly. I realize that I was expecting my students to behave like American students who (in my experience) write as the teacher is writing. On the other hand, as my director told me when I talked to her about this, students here are expected to be attentive and not write while the teacher is speaking. She said that the students always responding “yes” when asked if they understand, regardless of whether they do or not, is a problem all the teachers encounter and complain about. Today I thought one boy raised his hand in class. When I asked if he had a question, he hesitated for a moment, then put his head down and shook it “no.” Hopefully with time they will be less afraid of me.

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